A 13-year-old boy under arrest on attempt-to-murder charges since May 6, when a mob protesting Moga molestation and murder attacked an Akali leader's bus in Faridkot, has fallen ill in captivity, allegedly as a result of torture.
On Wednesday, he was moved to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here, diagnosed with hydrocele (fluid accumulation in the testicles), admitted to the surgical ward; and post examination, sent back to the juvenile home, which declined to take him in.
So, he was again sent to the medical college. It all happened in just three hours. "The juvenile home did not take him in, saying he required medical care that it couldn't provide," said a source. "Hydrocele is not always dangerous, and may have many causes," claimed a doctor at the hospital, adding that he was not authorised to speak to the press.
Dr JP Singh, medical superintendent at the hospital, said that he unaware of the case. The boy was arrested after Punjab Student Union (PSU) activists damaged a New Deep company bus during gherao of the private coaches owned by the state's ruling family and its business associates.
The boy's family and the PSU activists alleged that the police and the bus company's goons had tortured the child in the lockup and hit him in the private parts, which had led to the swelling. "It happened before our eyes, where the students were held," alleged Balvir Kaur, boy's grandmother.
'Woman, others also tortured'
"One of our woman protesters, Harpreet Kaur Kotla, can't hear properly since being hit in the ear. Naujawan Bharat Sabha activist Manga Azad can't walk well since the torture, and this boy was hit in the most sensitive parts," said PSU's Faridkot general secretary Rajinder Singh.
"The boy was sent back from the hospital because the government and the police didn't want his injuries to become an issue. He needs medical attention. If anything untoward happens to him, the Badal family (Punjab's ruling clan) will be responsible," said the student leader.
Nothing serious, claim police
Asked to react, Faridkot senior superintendent of police Charanjeet Singh Sharma said the doctors had examined the boy and his CT scan, and "found nothing serious". "So we sent him back to the juvenile home," he added, denying any police torture in the past seven days against the arrested people. "If it were so, he would have required medical attention earlier. They (the other people reported to be injured) were free to seek medical examination when moved to lockup, but they were not interested," he said, adding: "The allegations of torture are baseless."