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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

Khalistani jibe in Bengal: Sikh IPS officer insulted, BJP should apologise, says AAP leader Gopal Rai

'Bharatiya Janata Party, with its arrogance of power, hands out certificates as it sometimes label someone as a traitor or a Khalistani or a terrorist or a Naxalite'

PTI New Delhi Published 21.02.24, 02:35 PM
Jaspreet Singh

Jaspreet Singh X / @SMitra_

AAP leader Gopal Rai slammed the BJP on Wednesday over a Sikh IPS officer posted in West Bengal being allegedly dubbed as a "Khalistani" by some saffron party activists and said it should apologise for insulting the officer.

At a press conference here, Rai also alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with its "arrogance of power", hands out "certificates" as it sometimes label someone as a "traitor or a Khalistani or a terrorist or a Naxalite".

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"It shows how this thinking of hatred is ingrained in their psyche," Rai charged, and said the BJP should apologise for this incident.

There was no immediate reaction from the BJP to Rai's comments.

The BJP, however, has earlier denied the allegation and accused the police officer of not performing his duty in accordance with the Constitution.

Rai told reporters that there has been a long history of the Sikh religion in India and the role of Sikhs in the freedom struggle, many of whom made the supreme sacrifice for the country.

He cited the name of revolutionary Bhagat Singh, saying he enjoys the sobriquet of "Shaheed-e-Azam" and there is a long list of martyrs from Punjab.

This "pagadi" (turban) was once a "guarantee of safety" and now, an officer has been "branded a Khalistani", Rai said, citing media reports, and added that statements have also been issued by the West Bengal Police over the alleged incident.

The Sikh Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who was deputed to prevent senior West Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from visiting restive Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, slammed the saffron party activists on Tuesday for allegedly dubbing him as a "Khalistani".

BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul, accompanying Adhikari, claimed that the police officer was not performing his duties, but dismissed the allegation that her party's supporters called him a "Khalistani".

Rai underlined that in India, which is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country, equality and unity are at its core where no one can be differentiated or ill-treated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, region or language.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader accused the BJP members of "crossing all boundaries" laid down by the Constitution and alleged that it is a party that "does not acknowledge the culture, traditions, Constitution and history of India".

"If this hate campaign is not stopped, it will lead to the weakening of the country and foster divisions in the Indian society," he said.

On farmers' proposed march, Rai said the peasants are demanding a legal guarantee for MSP (minimum support price) among other demands, and a citizen has a right to peacefully protest in the national capital on a democratic manner.

Either a promise be made by the Centre on their demand of the farmers be allowed to peacefully protest, but they have been halted with heavy later of barricading and deployment of security personnel, he added.

Besides, a legal guarantee for MSP, the farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pensions to farmers and farm labourers and farm debt waiver.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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