Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has expressed shock at the "humiliating treatment" of a Sikh man by the police in West Bengal who allegedly pulled his turban while he being taken into custody for carrying a firearm during a BJP rally.
"Not done, says Punjab CM@capt_amarinder, expressing shock at humiliating treatment of a Sikh youth by @WBPolice, who reportedly pulled off his turban during arrest," Mr Singh's media advisor Raveen Thukral tweeted on Friday night.
The Punjab chief minister has asked his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to take strict action "against concerned cop for hurting the Sikh religious sentiments".
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal also condemned the "vicious attack".
Viral visuals of the police wrestling a 43-year-old Sikh man to the ground during the BJP's mega protest in Kolkata's twin city Howrah on Thursday during a protest march have set off a major controversy with the party accusing the police of hurting religious sentiments by pulling off the turban of 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, a resident of Bhatinda.
Responding to the controversy hours after it erupted, the West Bengal Police said it never intended to hurt the sentiments of any community. There was a struggle to seize a pistol in Mr Singh's possession and the turban, police said, fell off "automatically".
The incident drew wider social media attraction after cricketer Harbhajan Singh tweeted, tagging Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to say: "Please look into the matter. This just isn't done."
The West Bengal tweeted on Friday: "The concerned person was carrying firearms in yesterday's protest. The Pagri had fallen off automatically in the scuffle (fight) that ensued, without any attempt to do so by our officer. It is never our intention to hurt the sentiments of any community."
According to the police, a loaded pistol was recovered from him. The licence of the pistol is valid till January next year.
It also said that the police officer concerned had asked him to "put his turban back before the arrest".
"West Bengal Police respects all religions. The officer specifically asked him to put his Pagri back before the arrest. The attached photo has been clicked right before he was escorted to the Police Station. We remain committed to our duty to uphold law and order in the state," it said in another tweet, with a photo of Balwinder Singh in turban.
The Shiromani Akali Dal president said that the Sikh man was a security official and the manner in which the policeman behaved with him has infuriated Sikhs across the globe.
"Strongly condemn the vicious attack on a Sikh security official Balwinder Singh & disrespect of his #turban by West Bengal Police. The dishonour has infuriated Sikhs across the world," Mr Badal tweeted.
He urged the Bengal government to "take exemplary action against the erring policeman".