Published On: Wed, Feb 21st, 2024

‘Khalistani’ row: BJP refute charges, shares video to counter Bengal Police claim

New Delhi: The West Bengal Police on Wednesday released a video alleging that it was BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari who used the ‘Khalistani’ slur against a Sikh police officer during a face-off between BJP workers and police near violence-hit Sandeshkhali.

The confrontation took place when the police stopped BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari

The Bengal Police asserted that it would initiate legal action even as the BJP hit back, saying the custodians of law and order in the state had reduced themselves to being “doormats of the ruling TMC”.

In a series of posts on X, the West Bengal Police said, “We, the West Bengal Police fraternity, are outraged to share this video, where 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. We unequivocally condemn the unprovoked, unacceptable attack on an individual’s religious identity and beliefs aimed to incite people to take to violence and break the law,” the post read.

The police, and later the ruling Trinamool Congress, also shared a purported video which shows Suvendu Adhikari standing in the middle of other BJP members and then suddenly ‘eta hochhe Khalistani’ (he is a Khalistani) is heard.

However, in the video, it cannot be ascertained if Suvendu Adhikari said the contentious word.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra also shared the video on her X handle, saying, “‘Eta Hochhe Khalistani’ – He is a Khalistani … can you hear the BJP’s filthy mouths and minds? This is BJP’s truth. Make no mistake. Let us call out this hatred and stand up for the Sikh community who are India’s pride.”

Countering the allegations by West Bengal Police in a scathing post on X, the BJP accused the Sikh IPS officer of violating the Calcutta High Court order that allowed Suvendu Adhikari to visit Sandeshkhali.

“He was acting, illegally, as an agent of the Chief Minister, who was hoping that the division bench would stay the single bench order. When that didn’t happen and the officer was told, he refused to accept and kept holding up the delegation. The concerned officer is in contempt of court,” the BJP tweeted.

The BJP further said that the Bengal Police was more interested in being a political player than policing.

“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,” the BJP said.

On Tuesday, a Sikh police officer confronted a group of BJP leaders and workers, alleging that he was called a Khalistani by them.

In a video, IPS officer Jaspreet Singh, who is posted as a Special Superintendent of Police (Intelligence Bureau) with West Bengal Police, can be heard saying, “Because I am wearing a turban, you’re saying this. If I was not wearing a turban, would you have called me Khalistani? You can say what you want about the police, but you can’t comment on my religion.”

The video was shared by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who accused the BJP of “undermining the Sikh community”. However, the video did not show the part where the Sikh cop was purportedly called a ‘Khalistani’.

The confrontation took place when the police stopped BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from visiting the restive Sandeshkhali island in North 24 Parganas district.

In the video, BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul, who was accompanying Adhikari, can be heard telling the cop “we haven’t said it”.

Agnimitra Paul later accused Mamata Banerjee of playing up this incident in a bid to “distract from the Sandeshkhali incident”.

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