Leftist organisations led a protest rally against "police inaction" in an alleged rape and murder of a minor girl of Hasanpur village under Dorangla police station in Gurdaspur district on Friday.
The victim, a Class-7 student of government senior secondary school at Gahlari, had gone to answer nature's call in a sugarcane field near her house at Hasanpur at about 4 pm on December 5. When she did not return even after one-and-a-half-hour, her parents got worried and went out in her search.
They found her body in a sugarcane field at the village at 5.30 pm the same day. The girl's parents alleged that she was first raped and then strangled o death by using her 'pyjami' by the alleged rapist(s). They reported the matter at the Dorangla police station.
The family alleged that the police did not take action immediately and registered a case only after they, along with their relatives and villagers, blocked traffic at the Post Office Chowk on the GT Road in Gurdaspur the next day. The post mortem was conducted at the civil hospital and a swab of the girl for laboratory examination. However, the report is still awaited.
The victim's family had threatened not to cremate the body until the police booked and arrested the culprit. However, the police managed to persuade them to perform her last rites on the promise that quick action will be taken in the case. The police have denied any delay on their part in the case.
'Protest hampering police probe'
When contacted, superintendent of police (headquarters) Jaspal Singh told Hindustan Times on Friday said protests by the family and Leftist organisations were serving no purpose but were hampering the progress of the police inquiry into the matter.
He said on the request of the family, the police had arrested a migrant labourer. Even as he was not found guilty during the inquiry, the family of the deceased was pressuring police to book and arrest the said labourer for the girl's rape and murder.
"How can police book an innocent person just under pressure from the affected family?" the police officer said. He added that the police were working on different theories to nab the real culprit and the outcome of the police inquiry might be surprising.
Meanwhile, members of Kirti Kisan Union, Pendu Mazdoor Union, Batha Mazdoor Union, Border Area Sangharsh Committee, Democratic Teachers' Front and Mid-day Meal Workers' Union participated in the protest. Addressing the protest rally, Kirti Kisan Union state general secretary Satbir Singh alleged that in the SAD-BJP regime no one was safe in Punjab. He asserted that there was a nexus between criminals, police and politicians in the state, which was responsible for prevailing "lawlessness" in the state.
He added that they had now brought the matter of the alleged rape and murder of the Hasanpur girl to the court of the people for seeking justice. Satbir Singh reminded the people of some incidents in the past, including beating up of a tehsildar by Akali leaders in Ludhiana and the murder of an ASI allegedly by Akali leaders in Amritsar on the very day the said girl was raped and killed.
He pointed out that incidents of like gangrape of a girl in a bus in Delhi were bringing shame to the nation. Satbir Singh urged the police to do justice to the uniform and avoid being coming under pressure from any side while discharging their duty, otherwise the political system of the country would collapse.
Amarjit Shastri, Chanan Singh Dorangla, Ramesh Rana,Gurmit Singh, Ajit Singh Sidhwan and others also spoke. Those who led the protest also submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.