President of local unit of Safai Sewak Union (SSU), Raj Kumar Raju, allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train on Bathinda-Barnala track near SD College railway crossing on Thursday. Raju was also state vice-president of the union.
High drama prevailed following the incident as family and co-workers of the victim refused to cremate the body till the arrest of seven employees of municipal council (MC) who were named in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by victim’s son, Akash Kumar. These seven persons were responsible for mental torture to Raju that led to his suicide, said Akash.
The victim succumbed to his injuries at Dhanaula, around 12 kilometers from here while being taken to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.
When the safai sewaks heard the news of his death, they reportedly got provoked and injured MC executive officer (EO) Shakti Kaushal and ransacked his office.
Kaushal said, “About 50 persons entered my office and started throwing chairs. I informed the SSP, DSP and the SHO. The police reached here after 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, I got injuries on leg, arm and shoulder when a person out of protesters beat me up with a wooden stick.”
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Toor said, “As soon as I got the call, within seconds I alerted the police control room van. Police party immediately reached the MC office, evacuated the EO and rushed him to the civil hospital. The police were deployed in his office and residence in no time to avoid any eventuality.”
Akash alleged, “A slip has been found from my father’s pocket which names seven persons whose harassment led him to take this extreme step. A few days ago these persons had thrashed my father with an iron rod. He was under mental pressure since then.”
A safai sewak Gulshan Kumar said, “Raju was visibly perturbed by the threatening behaviour of the persons he mentioned in the slip.”
The slip, with seven names mentioned in Punjabi, has been signed in Hindi. Except the names, nothing else has been written on the slip.
Deputy superintendent of police PS Cheema said, “Since the incidence happened in the jurisdiction of government railways police (GRP), the case would be registered by them.”
“We have not received any written complaint from the EO so far,” Cheema said.
SSU state general secretary Kuldeep Kumar said, “Our main demands are arrest of the accused and a job for the victim’s son. We will not allow post mortem till our demands are met.”
GRP head constable Karamjit Singh said, “A case has been registered against seven personsDulla Singh, Kuldeep Singh alias Happy, Parkash Chand Pappy, Jawala, Sunil Kumar, Arun and Deepu under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of victim’s son Akash Kumar. All accused are employees of Barnala MC.”