A day after the complaint against the conductor of a New Deep company bus that he molested two minor sisters from this district who were on board, a case has been registered.
The conductor has been charged under Sections 354 (criminal force to outrage woman's modesty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code but not identified in the case report. "The complaint stated only the registration number of the bus," said Muktsar (Sadar) station house officer (SHO) Iqbal Singh Sandhu.
The case was registered after the Punjab Students Union (PSU) and Naujawan Bharat Sabha brought the incident to the notice of the media and made a police complaint. The private bus aboard which the incident is alleged to have happened belongs to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Hardeep Singh Dimpy Dhillon, halqa in-charge of this party in Gidderbaha, another of whose buses was damaged during a PSU agitation in Faridkot on May 6.
The girls had alleged that when they had resisted, the conductor had abused them and forced them to get off before their destination. The sisters, school students at Kotli and Jhabelwali villages, had come to Muktsar to complete Aadhar card formalities.
"The girls are from Kotli and their village has a common bus stop with Jhabelwali. It is an unfortunate incident to have happened so soon after another girl was molested and thrown off a bus in Moga. The Muktsar sisters' family is under pressure to drop the case, though the police have record its statement," said student leader Gagan Sangrami.
He alleged said that the police had not applied sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, even though the conductor had hurled caste slurs at the victims.
Muktsar senior superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh Chahal and deputy senior superintendent of police Kanwalpreet Singh did not answer the repeated calls made for their version.
The FIR was registered on Friday afternoon after the media had highlighted the incident.
Case false, says pvt-bus owner
Asked to react to the registration of a case against one of his company's bus conductors, Akali leader Hardeep Singh Dimpy Dhillon said the allegations were "false, fabricated, and only to make a political issue".
"This is not a jungle raj that conductor aboard a fully loaded afternoon bus would dare to lay hands on passengers. Our bus leaves Muktsar at 12.15pm, while the indent is reported to have happened at 2pm," said Dhillon, adding: "We want a free and fair inquiry. Instead of going to the police first, the complaints went to the press to defame us a day after the incident. Nothing of what they say ever happened. The student leaders want to force me into withdrawing the cases of vandalisation against them in Faridkot."