India owes a great deal to valiant Punjabis: Bengal guv after row over Khalistani slur | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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India owes a great deal to valiant Punjabis: Bengal guv after row over Khalistani slur

Feb 22, 2024 10:45 PM IST

“The turban that adorns a Punjabi symbolises a unique gravitas and is sacred as sacred can be,” the West Bengal governor said in his statement on Thursday

Kolkata: West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose on Thursday expressed solidarity with the state’s Sikh community which is agitating against the Khalistani remark hurled at Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Jaspreet Singh, who was deputed at Dhamakhali to prevent BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from visiting Sandeshkhali.

A delegation of Sikh leaders address the media after meeting West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Thursday over Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari's alleged ‘Khalistani’ slur (ANI Photo)
A delegation of Sikh leaders address the media after meeting West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Thursday over Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari's alleged ‘Khalistani’ slur (ANI Photo)

“We should not do anything which could even remotely hurt the sentiments of our Punjabi brethren,” the governor said in a statement released by Raj Bhawan after a delegation sent by five prominent gurdwaras in Kolkata met him in the afternoon.

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“India owes a great deal to the valiant Punjabis. Our Punjabi jawans stand like formidable walls defending national security. Our Punjabi kisans are in the forefront to ensure that we have enough foodgrains to feed the nation,” the statement said.

Jaspreet Singh, a special superintendent in the intelligence branch, objected to being called a Khalistani by members of the BJP team on Tuesday when he prevented Adhikari from visiting Sandeshkhali.

“You are calling me a Khalistani because I am wearing a turban. If a policeman wears a turban and does his duty he becomes Khalistani? Is this your level?”

Hours after Tuesday’s exchange of words, Supratim Sarkar, additional director general of police (south Bengal), said Adhikari directly accused Singh of being a Khalistani and such an act is a punishable offence under section 295A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Since the incident was telecast live by several television channels, some video clips went viral on social media, triggering strong reactions.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann joined chief minster Mamata Banerjee in condemning the incident. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also spoke in support of Singh, a 2016 batch IPS officer.

Adhikari, who is the leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly, denied the allegation. “The officer behaved rudely. I don’t think any personal remarks were made either by me or my colleagues. Mamata Banerjee does cheap politics and this officer wants to increase his marks before her,” Adhikari said.

The governor also promised to set up a garden and install a portrait of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on the Raj Bhawan campus next month.

“Raj Bhavan will be making a Punjabi Bagh in its estate as a tribute and symbol of Bengal’s abiding admiration for the Punjabi community. The legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s portrait will be unveiled in Raj Bhavan, Kolkata on 23.03.2024 marking the day of his martyrdom,” the statement said after the Sikh delegation visited Raj Bhavan.

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