The parents and grandparents of Shruti, 16, a girl kidnapped at gunpoint from her house on September 24, have charged the police with trying to sabotage the October-12 public protest and shutdown in this city.
"The police are unable to catch the kidnapper," Ashwini Kumar, victim's father, told the media here on Sunday, "so they are pressurising us not to stage protest and close Faridkot down on October 12. We'll keep the protests peaceful and we also want our daughter back."
The girl's family also reacted to the police claim of received a letter from Shruti that she was with suspect Nishan Singh of her own free will. The police claim the letter was sent via courier from Delhi with a fake address of Gurgaon.
"My daughter was kidnapped from my house at gunpoint, in full public view, in broad daylight," said Ashwani Kumar. "The goons beat up the entire family, including my parents, and broke the arm of Shruti's mother and hit her on the head. Nishan Singh dragged Shruti out of the house in front of everyone, now the police say she is with him of her own free will. At gunpoint, she could be made to write anything."
"On Friday, a senior police officer visited our house and showed me an envelope, not its contents," said Ashwani Kumar. "The police collected the handwriting sample of Shruti from our house and since then, no police officer had mentioned the letter to us. We gathered only from the media that it was from Shruti."
With each passing day, the investigation is going soft, Shruti's mother, Seema, has alleged. "It looks the police are trying to shield the suspect instead of arresting him," she added. "For the past 14 days, the police's only answer is that they are trying to look."
Two arrests and the recovery of a getaway vehicle are the only breakthrough, so far, in the case. The family wants the case handed to the central bureau of investigation (CBI). "It's hard to live each moment," said Shruti's mother.
The family claims it has lost faith in senior police officers. "They say they have no clue of Nishan Singh," said Ashwani Kumar. "Their cell phones are switched off. Ki ladki da baap hona gunah hai? Jan ladki hona hunah hai? (Is it a crime to be father of a girl? Or is it a crime to be a girl?)"
The family had nothing left to live for, said Shruti's father. "My only request for six pills of poison for the family," said Hans Raj, grandfather of the girl, with his folded hands trembling.
"Nishan Singh beat up and dragged Shurti," said her grandmother, Asha. "She cried and implored him not to take her away. We don't know in what state she is. We are disappointed with the two weeks of police investigation."
The citizens' joint action committee termed the letter a conspiracy to derail the investigation. It released a two-page leaflet describing the chain of events. It is for distribution it the entire district. It will continue with Faridkot bandh on October 12.
"Senior officers have endorsed the letter," said senior superintendent of police Gurinder Singh Dhillon. "I have asked the station house officer concerned to verify the handwriting. The letter was posted from Paharganj in Delhi on October 1."