Protester with gun at Howrah Maidan
A protester who went for the Nabanna Abhiyan on Thursday was found carrying a gun, the police said.
According to police, the man, identified as Balwinder Singh, 46, stays with BJP’s Bhatpara leader Priyanshu Pandey and is believed to be very close to Barrackpore’s MP Arjun Singh.
“Balwinder Singh, originally from Bhatinda, was spotted with a gun in hand at Howrah Maidan when BJP supporters were trying to break the police cordon and proceed towards Nabanna,” said a senior police officer.
Police said it was a very unusual for a protester in political agitation to carry arms. The gun found on the man was a loaded 0.32 bore pistol with a range of 18.27m.
BJP leader Dilip Ghosh said Singh was the security guard of Priyanshu Pandey and was carrying his own licensed gun.
Howrah police found that the arms licence was issued in 2009 by then district magistrate of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir. Though the licence had been renewed once and was valid through 2021, it was limited to Rajouri.
“This is an extremely alarming trend. It is impossible to frisk all protesters in a political rally,” said an officer of Howrah commissionerate.
Singh was detained by the Howrah police till late on Thursday evening.
Police sources said he was being questioned on what prompted him to carry his gun to a public rally where the protesters were planning to march to the most sensitive and secure pocket of Nabanna that has the offices of the chief minister and other ministers and bureaucrats.
Originally from Punjab, Singh stays in Bhatpara in the fringes of the city and is always seen accompanying Pandey, who is an MLA seat aspirant from the BJP for Bhatpara constituency, sources said.