A "fugitive" charged with stripping a teacher and parading him naked shared the dais with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal when he campaigned in his home constituency, but the police stayed firmly away.
In the eyes of Muktsar police, Rajinder Singh Titu is on the run. But that did not prevent him from being with the CM on Friday at Mohlan village in his home constituency, Lambi.
Titu, a former panch of the village, along with sarpanch Baljit Singh Bitta and seven others is charged with parading government schoolteacher Chhinderpal Singh in an open jeep after smearing his face black and forcing him to wear a shoe garland in October last year. The teacher was allegedly also beaten up in public.
The teacher's wife and daughter watched in horror until they got help from some of the teacher's colleagues and boxing coaches from a village.
A case of wrongful restraint, kidnapping with the intent of murder, and violation of the Arms Act was laid against the suspects.
The sarpanch was reportedly annoyed with the teacher over gossip about his relations with the owner of a beauty salon in the village.
The teacher is not surprised at the police inaction. "Titu and other suspects enjoy full shelter of the ruling party (Shiromani Akali Dal)," he said. "The CM is aware of what happened."
Police said they were conducting raids to nab Titu.