Fear is still writ large on the faces of the residents of Maan, a village situated 3km from Badal, the native village of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, after the May 19 clash during the zila parishad and block samiti elections.
The residents are apparently in terror of the police for the past one week after the Congress and Akali supporters clashed in the village on May 19 after the Akalis allegedly tried to capture a booth in the village falling under Lambi constituency.
The village wears a deserted look. The HT team found most of houses in the village locked as most of the residents are on the run after the clash that had left four people injured. Six vehicles were set on fire even as the police resorted to cane charge and firing in air to disperse the mob.
Following this, around 150 villagers were booked for attempt to murder and other charges. The police have named 24 people in the FIR and arrested a few of them, while they have left the case open to add more accused in the case.
"The Muktsar police have been raiding the houses of the women of the village who have been married outside to force the runaway villagers to surrender," said Baljinder Kaur, all male members of whose family are on the run.
Many houses in the village are locked as all members of some families have left the village to avoid arrest. In other houses, only women are left and all male members are on the run. Even animals have been suffering the consequences of the violent incident as nobody is there to bring fodder for them.
The administration has imposed section 144 of the CrPC in the village and locals avoid talking to journalists.
There is no one to care or get medicine for Paramjit Kaur, who is suffering from cancer. The condition the daughter-in-law of village chowkidar Sadhu Singh worsened and she was rushed to Achariya Tulsi Das Cancer Hospital in Bikaner in Rajasthan. Sadhu Singh had lost his elder son to cancer last year. The poor family has no money to get medicine for the patient. The husband of the victim, Gurbhej Singh, had come home to arrange some money, but landed behind bars along with father Sadhu Singh.
"Last time, villagers had financially helped us to get our son treated. He died despite all efforts. Now my daughter-in-law is suffering. Do you think any member of my family would be in the frame of mind to burn vehicles of political people? Politics cannot treat the cancer of my daughter-in-law and we are not interested in it. But I do not know why the police want to give us more pain by arresting my son and husband during this crisis in our life," rued Bant Kaur.
Harbans Kaur, another local, said she was forced to send her daughter, who recently became a mother, to her in-laws' house in a hurry as her husband did not want his wife and child to suffer the police action. "Now the police have been giving threatening calls to my son-in-law to force the arrest of my husband and son," she said.
"Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi should pay a visit to the village. But no leader of the Congress came to support the villagers who are suffering because the Akalis think we support the Congress. No one comes to us except Mahesh Inder Singh Badal and Gurmeet Khudian," said Baljinder Kaur, daughter of Harbans Kaur.
She said, "Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is like our grandfather. I am sure that despite the political inclinations, no one would have imagined such police torture during his regime. I request him to try to restore brotherhood and harmony in the village instead of using the police force to convert Congressmen into Akalis." Muktsar SSP Surjeet Singh was not available for comment.