A woman teacher was manhandled by a sarpanch at a programme of the ruling Akali Dal in Daula village of Punjab’s Muktsar district, the constituency of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Sunday.
The function was to be addressed by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and a parliamentarian from Bathinda.
Varinder Kaur was among a group of teachers employed under the education guarantee scheme, who had gone to the function to demand permanent jobs.
Recalling the incident, Pritpal Singh, president of the EGS teachers’ union, said 40 teachers had gone to hand over a memorandum to the MP.
“Local Akali Dal leaders asked them to leave,” Pritpal said. The teachers went to wait outside the venue, but then, the police picked up two of them. As the rest broke into a vociferous protest, Balwinder Singh, sarpanch of Daula, began assaulting Kaur, Pritpal added.
The incident is one of many in which the ruling party has allegedly manhandled protesters to silence them ahead of the coming elections.
What has worsened matters for the Akali Dal is that Harsimrat is championing the cause of women through Nanni Chhan, a project to save the girl child.
Earlier this year, women physical training instructors were beaten up by Akali workers during another function presided over by her.
The video of Sunday’s incident, put up on Youtube and Facebook, created an uproar, pushing Harsimrat to condemn it.
But the police are yet to take any action on it despite the state’s order to file an FIR.
Calling the incident shameful, state Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh said, “Earlier, around 130 veterinarians were beaten up and booked for murder attempt just because they had tried to meet Badal for jobs.”