Melbourne, October 13: Victoria Police is investigating Melton council candidate, Dilpreet Singh who posted photos online of his toddler son, holding firearms and ammunition.

The Watts ward candidate Singh also has been a JP (justice of the peace) since 2010.

He had posted the photos on his personal Facebook page about three years ago, but those came to light only recently.

Images such as above are 'culturally acceptable,' according to Dilpreet Singh.  Photo: Facebook/Star Weekly
Images such as above are ‘culturally acceptable,’ according to Dilpreet Singh. Photo: Facebook/Star Weekly

The photos have since been deleted, but Singh is under fire for posting photos of a toddler holding firearms. Singh told Melton & Moorabool Star Weekly in a statement that the images had been “taken out of context”.

“I am from Sikh religion, which is a warrior’s religion where Sikhs have sacrificed their lives for country,” Singh said.

“Sikh regiment have won the highest Victoria Crosses per capita and fought in world wars, even along with Australian army while service with the British.

“So often, grandparents who serve in army create images like this to portray a token of honour, especially when the child is first-born into the next generation. This was the case in my family too.”

He defended the photographs as being proud of his ‘warrior religion’ and their weapon culture.

Singh ridiculed the proposition that the photos were linked to terrorism and said he had never condoned any act of violence before.

“It is extremely disappointing that personal images have been used to drive a political agenda in a deliberate attempt to discredit me and my culture,” Singh said clearly hinting at political opponents.

He said while he understood that the images “could potentially” be offensive, the images were “culturally acceptable” and there was a “valid explanation”.

State government spokesman said the photos were 'deeply concerning'. Photo: Facebook/Star Weekly
State government spokesman said the photos were ‘deeply concerning’. Photo: Facebook/Star Weekly

Singh said any linking of the images with terrorism was “an insult of tradition of my culture where there are countless examples of martyrs who lost lives to safeguard motherland”.

A state government spokesman said the photos were “deeply concerning” and had been reported to Victoria Police, Fairfax Media reported.

Victoria police have made inquiries into the images and after speaking to “a 36-year-old man from Hillside in relation to the images”, said that investigators were satisfied that no offences have been committed in Victoria.

That investigation is now complete.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Electoral Commission said while the VEC was responsible for conducting local government elections, it was unable to moderate the private behaviours of candidates.

Ramakrishna VenuGopal

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