The top cop has irked common citizens with his remarks in the Shruti abduction case that was solved on Sunday with her recovery from Goa.
Condemning the statement of director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini that Shruti eloped with consent when her parents disallowed her to marry Nishan Singh, the joint action committee, which all along has maintained that the girl was kidnapped at gunpoint in full public view, stated here on Monday that the DGP's comment had "added insult to the injury of the minor's parents".
Saini's statement had come during a media briefing in Jalandhar on Sunday after the arrest of Nishan Singh and recovery of Shruti at Baga beach in western coastal state Goa. "Zakhman tey loon chirkan wala hai eh biyan (the statement rubs salt into our wounds)," the committee stated in its press release.
"Earlier, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurinder Singh Dhillon and deputy inspector general (DIG) Parmraj Singh Umranagal, who were then shifted from Faridkot and Ferozpore, respectively, had projected the kidnapping case as elopement," read the release. "They came out with some letters allegedly written by Shruti and some photographs showing getting married to Nishan Singh after the daylight kidnapping in which her were injured. They provoked the citizens of Faridkot."
"The DGP's latest statement is also part of a damage-control exercise on behalf of the government," said the committee. "It is unwelcome and uncalled for." The girl is a minor, who turned 15 only on May 1, and by law, the police could not have released her photographs or disclose her details.
"The chief minister now may visit the family to handover the girl but why did he not issue any statement for more than three weeks since the crime," the release adds. "Now the government is desperate to save its image but we want to know the names of politicians who had patronised the young criminal and at whose signal, the police have moved into action after long."
Mantar Singh Brar, legislator of Kotkapura; Deep Malhotra, legislator from Faridkot; and senior police and civil officers of the district had visited the family and conveyed the CM's wish to visit Faridkot to meet it. "The CM is welcome but why are his officers issuing pinching statements," said Swarn Singh, a member of the joint action committee. "There are just crocodile tears."
The Punjab police chief had also stated that after her earlier kidnapping, Shruti had been recovered from Kharar, where Nishan Singh and she had been "living as married couple". On July 27, Shruti's had stated at the city police station that she had reached Faridkot after slipping away from Nishan's captivity. The contradiction in the statements is stark.
"The girl is recovered and are relieved," said MLA Deep Malhotra. "I have been with the family since the kidnapping, and done my duty. If there is a problem still, I remain ready to help. The girl will be restored to her parents under legal procedure. I have never seen the issue as political."
Where's our daughter: Parents
Shruti's parents are still on a dharna along with members of the joint action committee. "We don't still know where our daughter is and where will she be handed over to us," said Ashwani Kumar Sachdeva, Shruti's father. "We are sad that the police have tarnished her image. We got all the updates on her recovery through the media. The police didn't care to inform us officially."
"We cannot disclose the girl's location," said senior superintendent of police Gurpreet Singh Toor. Unconfirmed reports suggested that co-suspect Toofan Singh had been arrested on Monday. Toofan is from Krotana village in Moga. Only two suspects of the conspiracy, Navjot Kaur, who is Nishan's mother, and Dimpy Samra are remain on the run.
The joint action committee also condemned the allegation of aligning with the main opposition party, stating that the fight remained non-political, and anyone was free to join it for a social cause.
Girl being brought to Faridkot today?
Reliable sources have suggested that Shruti and Nishan Singh might be presented in a Faridkot court on Tuesday, after which the girl might be restored to her parents. Since the girl is under the age of 16, and her consent in abduction carries little weight. Nishan Singh is 19, while Shruti will turn 16 only on May 1, 2013.