The Punjab police arrested a village panchayat head on Tuesday for repeatedly slapping a woman teacher in a village in the state’s Muktsar district on Sunday.
However, Balwinder Singh, sarpanch of Daula village, was out on bail within hours of his arrest.
Balwinder Singh had assaulted Varinder Kaur as she and other protesting teachers wanted to submit a memorandum to Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Bathinda, demanding permanent jobs for teachers.
Badal was in the district to participate in a Sangat Darshan programme. When Balwinder Singh, also a member of the Shiromani Akal Dal, saw the protesting teachers, he asked them to leave the function.
When the teachers insisted that they would leave only after submitting the memorandum, Balwinder Singh slapped Kaur several times. The incident sparked an outrage in the state after which the state government ordered the police to register an FIR against the accused on Monday night.
“The accused was arrested from Bharu village and a case registered for causing hurt and wrongful restraint.
Both are bailable offences,” said Inder Mohan Singh, senior superintendent of police, Muktsar.
Expressing “regret for the unpleasant incident”, Badal said: “The assault on a woman by any functionary was not acceptable, whatever may be the provocation for that."
However, she accused employee unions of pressuring the government ahead of the assembly polls.
“People are taking the protest route to browbeat the government into giving them jobs. The government can only provide jobs if there are vacancies. There is a proper procedure for recruitment,” Badal said.