The Shahkot police had allegedly failed to take prompt action on the complaint of two sisters, who had approached the cops at the model police station, seeking their intervention in stopping the marriage of their minor sister on Wednesday night.
“After spending nearly two hours in the model police station on Wednesday night, at 10pm, the cops asked us to come the next morning. Timely police action could have saved the life of my minor sister, which was forcibly married to a partially handicapped man and was even sexually exploited,” rued Sarabjeet Kaur, the elder sister of the victim.
“My sister is devastated. We had pleaded the police to go with us and bring back our sister but failed to convince them. Next day, the cops accompanied us and managed to bring back my 14-year old sister, but by that time, she had undergone the worst,” she added.
“My father, who is a habitual drinker, was at fault and arranged the marriage by taking Rs. 50,000 from the family of the groom, who has a hunchback,' she further said.
Talking to HT, the victim said, “My father took me to venue of the wedding by telling a lie that my aunt was unwell. There, he pressured me and even threatened that he will kill my other sisters if I failed to obey his instructions.” The girl confirmed that she was sexually exploited during the night after the wedding.
Shahkot police had booked and arrested girl's father Balkar Singh and the groom, Vijay Gill, under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Child Marriage Restrain Act-1929.
“The girls are now levelling baseless allegations. The marriage was solemnised in their presence on Wednesday evening. After getting annoyed over some family dispute, they approached us and we acted promptly,” said station house officer of Shahkot police station, Daljeet Singh.
“We have arrested the father and the groom and are waiting for the medical report of the victim. The charges of rape will be added if the same is confirmed in medical report,” the SHO said, adding that the girl was handed over to her elder sister Sarabjeet Kaur, the complainant.
When pointed out the alleged police insensitivity, superintendent of police Gurmeet Singh said, “We will inquire the matter and strict action will be taken against the defaulters.”
SC commission to probe matter
The Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission (PSSCC) has decided to inquire into the allegation of casual approach of the police in connection with the forced marriage of the minor girl. Commission chairman Rajesh Bagha said they would hold a parallel probe and ask the SSP to submit a detailed report in this connection. “Whosoever is found lax in performing his/her duty, strict disciplinary action will be recommended by the commission,” he added.