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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Sikh community in Calcutta protest near BJP office over 'Khalistani' row

'We are all patriotic Indians. None can question our patriotism, our sacrifice, our love for the country. Why should wearing turbans as part of our religious right make a Sikh tagged as a Khalistani? We demand an apology from the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on this issue'

PTI Calcutta Published 21.02.24, 02:08 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File

Around 200 people belonging to the Sikh community staged a demonstration in front of the BJP office in the city on Wednesday, expressing solidarity with an IPS officer who had alleged that West Bengal party leader Suvendu Adhikari labeled him as a 'Khalistani’.

Adhikari, along with another BJP leader Agnimitra Paul, had claimed that IPS officer Jaspreet Singh wasn't fulfilling his duties, but dismissed allegations that anyone from the party called him a 'Khalistani.' "No one has abused him or used the word 'Khalistani.' He is trying to make an issue," Paul claimed.

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On Tuesday, the IPS officer had questioned the BJP workers, "Just because I am wearing a turban, you people are calling me a Khalistani? Is this what you have learnt? If a police officer wears a turban and performs his duty honestly, he becomes a Khalistani for you? Shame on you." A protester near the BJP office said, "The farmers from Punjab are described as Khalistanis by some BJP leaders for demanding better support price for their crops. A policeman hailing from Punjab has been similarly labeled by the saffron party for doing his duty as a police officer." "We are all patriotic Indians. None can question our patriotism, our sacrifice, our love for the country. Why should wearing turbans as part of our religious right make a Sikh tagged as a Khalistani? We demand an apology from the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on this issue," an elderly Sikh gentleman said.

The IPS officer was deputed to prevent Adhikari from visiting the restive Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district.

Similar protests were held by members of the Sikh community in Asansol, Paschim Bardhaman district.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned BJP's "divisive politics" and said attempts to undermine the reputation of Sikhs were audacious.

However, Adhikari denied the allegations, accusing the TMC of diverting attention from developments in Sandeshkhali, which had been witnessing protests after local women accused absconding Trinamul Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters of "sexually assaulting" them under coercion.

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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