A "Khalistani" comment has Sikhs in Bengal agitating and protesting at the BJP headquarters in Kolkata

In Kolkata, a stir erupted outside the Bengal BJP headquarters located at Muralidhar Sen Lane in central Kolkata on Tuesday night, as members of the community voiced their dissent following allegations of a Khalistani slur directed at an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from the Sikh community by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Suvendu Adhikari, particularly amidst the turmoil in the Sandeshkhali area of North 24 Parganas district.

The incident unfolded when IPS officer Jaspreet Singh, donning a turban, confronted Adhikari after purportedly being labeled as a 'Khalistani' during a dispute over Adhikari's attempt to visit the trouble-stricken Sandeshkhali area. Singh, expressing his displeasure, emphasized the inappropriate nature of such remarks solely based on his attire and professional obligations.

The community's protest outside the Bengal BJP headquarters underscored the significance of the issue, especially considering the diverse demographic fabric of Bengal, where Sikhs, despite constituting a small fraction of the population, wield considerable influence, particularly in Kolkata and key district towns.

The contentious exchange between Adhikari and Singh, widely broadcasted by media outlets, swiftly reverberated across social media platforms, garnering widespread condemnation and prompting reactions from leaders like Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who voiced solidarity with Singh.

Singh, dispatched to Sandeshkhali to maintain law and order, found himself embroiled in the incident amidst tensions between the authorities and BJP leaders over access to the region. Adhikari, who eventually gained entry following a court order, denied making any derogatory remarks, attributing the situation to what he perceived as the officer's abrasive conduct.

As the fallout from the incident continues to unfold, with law enforcement officials considering legal action against Adhikari, the broader implications of the incident on communal harmony and political discourse remain subjects of intense scrutiny and debate.

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