The complainant in a case of sexual harassment was thrashed by the accused recently after the police allegedly let them off at Dhingi village near Nabha town in Patiala district.
Gurpreet Singh, 23, suffered a broken leg in the assault after he lodged a complaint with the police against three youths who had been sexually harassing his two schoolgoing nieces for the past two months.
The accused youths — Bobby, Manna and Hansraj — belong to families owing allegiance to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). On August 28, Gurpreet reported the matter to the police after the girls confided in their mother (Gurpreet’s sister). However, instead of registering an FIR, the investigating officer, sub-inspector (SI) Satnam Singh, and station house officer (SHO) Sukhbir Singh tried to secure a patch-up and called both parties to the Nabha (Sadar) police station the next day.
The two cops said they would visit the spot for a detailed investigation and allegedly let off all accused, who had come there with their families.
Hours later, Gurpreet was attacked in public. This time, the police registered a case, identifying the accused as Bobby, Manna, Hansraj, Lovepreet, Ladi and Jeevan. The FIR mentions that the accused attacked Gurpreet as he, along with his sister, had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment.
After the assault, the accused allegedly told the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Dhingi, to strike off the names of the two girls (students of classes 9 and 11) from the rolls.
Under pressure, school officials twice sent the girls back home.
Gurpreet’s father Didar Singh said, “Now, I feel that it was a mistake to approach the police. I feel helpless as they (accused) not only broke my son’s leg but are also pressurising the school to expel my granddaughters. There is no law in Punjab.”
Didar has submitted a representation to the deputy inspector general (DIG), Patiala range, seeking action against the erring cops.
When contacted, SHO Sukhbir Singh and SI Satnam Singh were dismissive about the complaint of sexual harassment.
“The police have registered a case regarding the attack on Gurpreet. Thus, there is no need to take action on the previous complaint,” said Satnam.
The DIG, Shive Kumar Verma, said he had told senior superintendent of police (SSP) Hardial Singh Mann to submit a report within three days.
“I have directed the SSP to seek an explanation from the SHO and the SI for unprofessional handling of the case, which led to an attack on the complainant,” he added.