Muslim Policeman In Trouble For ‘Beard’ In Bengal

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Siliguri: The incident has triggered a controversy in the police circles as Md K Anwar, an assistant sub-inspector with a State Armed Police battalion based in Birbhum was forcibly driven out of duty in Siliguri for reporting to duty sporting a beard.

The incident happened on friday in front of the north Bengal branch secretariat Uttarkanya in Siliguri where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was camping of her Darjeeling district tour.

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Anwar was brought to Siliguri with other policemen to perform security duty during the Chief Minister’s visit. Anwar, along with other police personnel, was standing in front of Uttarkanya on Friday afternoon as part of a road security party as the Chief Minister’s convoy was set to leave Uttarkanya for Bagdogra Airport.

On that particular time, Dipankar Goswami, an assistant sub-inspector attached to New Jalpaiguri police station, confronted Anwar and sought to know why he was sporting a beard and came to duty in this condition.

Anwar tried to reason with Goswami that he has been serving the police force with the beard for several years now. But this did not satisfy Goswami and he forced Anwar to leave the place at once. Anwar was made to board an auto rickshaw that was heading towards central Siliguri.

In 2003, the defence ministry notified its policy on hair, beard and wearing turbans. The same policy is in force at present. These regulations replaced earlier versions issued in 1980 and 1999.

The policy reads, Only those Muslim personnel, who had kept beard along with moustache at the time of commissioning /enrolment prior to 01 January 2002, would be allowed to keep beard and moustache.??

Under no circumstances, a Muslim person who had beard at the time of joining service before 1 January 2002 shall be allowed to maintain beard without moustache. Moustache would be a part of the beard,?? it says.

The defence ministry policy further regulates that Muslims who have grown beard after joining service should shave off the beard.??

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