Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BJP Leader Suvendu Adhikari Lands In Controversy Over ‘Khalistani’ Remark Against Sikh Police Officer

The next big political incident stemmed from a BJP leader’s “Khalistani” slur directed at a Sikh police officer in Bengal. The confrontation that ensued was captured on camera and went viral on social media today. The BJP has come under fire from the Congress, the Sikh organisation Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The state police threatened to take serious legal action against Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in Bengal, for allegedly uttering the comment. The BJP has refuted the claim and charged the police with working with the Trinamool Congress, which is in power.

“One of our own officers was called ‘Khalistani’ by the state’s Leader of the Opposition. His ‘fault’: he is both a proud Sikh, and a capable police officer who was trying to enforce the law… this comment is as much malicious and racial as it is communally inciting. It is a criminal act,” read parts of a series of posts from the official handle of the state police.

The demonstrators, led by Suvendu Adhikari, were halted by the police while they were travelling to Sandeshkhali. One of the demonstrators reportedly referred to a senior police officer on duty at the location as a “Khalistani” during the altercation that ensued.

The video showed the angry officer responding. “I’m wearing a turban, that’s why you call me a Khalistani? I will take action about this… You cannot attack my religion. I have not said anything about your religion,” the officer is heard saying.

The BJP workers remained unfazed. “You do your job… you just butter them up. you are sycophants,” a woman is heard shouting.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee denounced the BJP, accusing it of engaging in “divisive politics”.

“Leaders who have such thinking in the country should never forget that Sikhs have made the most sacrifices for the freedom and protection of the country… It is a big question that such people in the country deliberately create an atmosphere of hatred but the governments remain silent,” posted SGCP chief Harjinder Singh Dhami.

The greatest jab came from Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress, who took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The sting of religious fanaticism spread by the BJP is poisoning our diverse culture to such an extent that protectors of the law are being branded terrorists in the name of religion. Is “Sabka Saath” now meant to tear down the Constitution made by Babasaheb Ambedkar? Mr. Modi, Your only objective is to spread disharmony, hatred and violence between religions, sects and communities,”read a rough translation of his post.

In a statement, the BJP denied using any slur. “No one used the pejorative term for the officer. He just chose to flout service rules and used the occasion to attract undue attention on to himself, by flying off the handle, when he should have been focusing on upholding the law,” the statement read.

The party also posted video and photos of police manhandling Sikh protesters, and in the statement, said, “It is a shame that the WB Police is willing to be a political pawn in the hands of Mamata Banerjee and is dragging in religion. Here is a video and images to remind how disrespectful WB Police has been towards the Sikhs. You have pulled off turbans and dragged Sikh protestors on the streets, for taking on Mamata Banerjee’s decrepit administration. So don’t lecture us”.

The administration’s restrictions were lifted by a court decision, allowing the BJP workers to travel to Sandeshkhali in south Bengal.

Ever since the residents accused a powerful member of the Trinamool Congress of sexually abusing women and stealing land, the island in the Sundarbans, near the border with Bangladesh, has been at the centre of a political tempest.

Sheikh Shahjahan, the principal culprit, has been evading capture while a few others have been taken into custody.

The administration had issued prohibitory orders prohibiting mass gatherings in the area due to the unrest and had denied access to the location to the opposition.

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