Nearly seven months after both his legs and an arm were fractured in an attack following his daring act to expose an illegal mining cartel in his village, Jodhwal in Ludhiana district, former sarpanch Lakhveer Singh remains under constant threat. No security has been provided to him despite promises, nor has any action been taken against the racket he helped expose.
For the assault on October 5, 2012, the Machhiwara sub-division police are yet to file a chargesheet in the case registered under sections 308 (causing injuries that could lead to death) among others of the Indian Penal Code. Two attackers who were arrested have got regular bail since, while six others managed anticipatory bail after absconding in police records for over a month.
"We will file the chargesheet in 5-6 days," said station house officer (SHO) Harjinder Singh Benipal. He attributed the delay to "prolonged court proceedings".
When he was attacked in October, Lakhveer was on his way back after filing his latest complaint about illegal mining on 50 of the 95 acres of panchayat land that had been going on with alleged connivance of officials. It was only a few days earlier that, upon Lakhveer's pursuance, an inquiry conducted by the district administration had revealed not only illegal sand mining but also tampering with the revenue records to enable certain persons to take possession of the 'shamlat deh' (panchayat land).
Asked about any follow-up, Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari said he was "in the process" of issuing showcause notices to three revenue officials - kanungo Kashmira Singh, patwari Vinod Kumar and naib tehsildar Hargobind Singh. Another official named for allowing mining on the land was BDPO Rana Partap Singh, presently posted in Balachaur. Action is awaited in his case too.
In fact, Lakhveer had procured another report from the revenue department that revealed how the 50 acres had been plundered for nearly a decade and poplar trees had been planted to cover the 15-20 feet digging of agricultural land.
After he blew the whistle and was attacked, Lakhveer was issued a communiqué from the Punjab police that he would be provided a home guard. He has even approached the police headquarters in Chandigarh, but to no avail.