Home South Asia India Sikh savior of Muslim man receives death threats

Sikh savior of Muslim man receives death threats

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News Analysis |

Sikh cop Gagandeep Singh, who saved a Muslim man from a mob near Ramnagar, ‘gets threat calls’ and is  ‘sent on leave’.

Sikh police officer Gagandeep Singh, who was hailed as a hero for saving a Muslim youth from being thrashed by a mob at a famous temple near Ramnagar in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district, has been reportedly sent on leave. According to BBC, the brave officer, who had won hearts for his act, is now receiving threat calls and is sent on leave.

A video showing the sub-inspector saving the Muslim man had gone viral. The video of his courage won the policeman laurels in social media. 28-year-old Gagandeep Singh’s act of bravery also earned him a reward of Rs 2,500. As per news agency PTI, the Muslim man was allegedly found in an objectionable position with his Hindu girlfriend at the famous Garjia Devi Temple on May 22.

When sub inspector Gagandeep Singh left for his duty at the Garjiya Devi Temple, surrounded by the river Kosi in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, he did not know that it was going to be the most eventful day of his life. The 28 –year-old Sikh’s heroic act of saving a Muslim man from an enraged mob has made him the poster boy of secularism and bravery in India. The boy was allegedly spotted with his Hindu girlfriend and this angered the fanatical crowd that wanted to lynch him.

Arangeet said “the driver pleaded before them and said that he knows me as a neighbor and that I usually wear a big turban. He talked to them for some time, which from distance, looked like he was apologizing without any fault of his.”

Gagandeep courageously defended the boy, didn’t let anyone beat him and escorted him to safety. His videos of single-handedly saving the boy tugged at the heart strings of social media users. Gagandeep inspired a number of memes and poems, many users changed their profile picture to his, and within a few hours, an ordinary sub inspector became a social media celebrity.

ADG (law and order) Ashok Kumar told the news agency that locals got to know about it and reached the temple in order to “teach the duo a lesson”. When Singh came to know that there was some trouble in the temple, he rushed to the spot. Gagandeep Singh found a crowd preparing to thrash the couple.

Just like a hero, Singh held the Muslim youth close to his chest and shielded him from the blood-baying mob. When the crowd failed to lynch the Muslim man as they wished, people started shouting anti-police slogans. ADG (law and order) Ashok Kumar said the mob was eventually dispersed. The Muslim man and the Hindu girl were taken to a police station. The couple was then handed over to their families.

Read more: Diplomatic Wars: Sikh pilgrimage gets targeted by India

Sikhs are a religious minority in India and are often discriminated against by the Hindu majority. This oppression which culminated in the 1984 Sikh genocide has led to a Sikh quest for a separate nation. Meanwhile in Shopian,  in an embarrassment to the Indian Army, a Sikh student from the Shopian district was asked by the Army to remove his turban at a check post at Bahibagh where the army camp of 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) is located.

Arangeet Singh, son of Ravinder Singh, resident of Bungham Shopian, levelled these allegations against the Army on Wednesday at Press Enclave Srinagar where he came to make his protest.

According to Arangeet, a Class 12 student at Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School in Bungham Shopian, was asked to “remove his turban” at an army check post at Bahibagh. “I was in Srinagar for the service of Gurudwara, collecting funds for the construction of the second floor of our Gurudwara. I went to different places in Srinagar to collect the money. When I was returning, there was a strike in Pulwama so we had to take the Bahibagh road to enter Shopian, where this army camp is located,” said Arangeet.

The 28 –year-old Sikh’s heroic act of saving a Muslim man from an enraged mob has made him the poster boy of secularism and bravery in India. The boy was allegedly spotted with his Hindu girlfriend and this angered the fanatical crowd that wanted to lynch him.

“We were asked to get down from the vehicle at the Bahibagh camp check post and to show our identity cards. I showed them my tuition card and other documents of Gurudwara but they asked for my Adhaar card,” he said.

Arangeet told the soldiers that he had left his Adhaar card at home and assured them that he will be more careful in the future. An army man from a nearby bunker then signaled to his colleague to let them go.

Read more: “Saffronization” of India: US Federal Commission Report

Arangeet said that when they boarded the Sumo vehicle again, an army man came to him and asked why he was wearing a large-size turban. “I was shocked when the army man asked me this question. I told him it was my religious obligation and a personal matter,” said Arangeet. “The army man told me to remove the turban, which I refused to do.”

Angered by the refusal, the army man asked him to get down from the vehicle, which he did, but the driver, knowing the “reputation” of the army camp, sensed trouble and intervened. Arangeet said “the driver pleaded before them and said that he knows me as a neighbor and that I usually wear a big turban. He talked to them for some time, which from distance, looked like he was apologizing without any fault of his.”


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