It has been 16 days since Shruti was abducted, but the police have failed to arrest the accused and bring back the girl.
The girl's parents, who were injured in the incident, have been sitting on a dharna since they were discharged from the hospital. Even the girl's grandparents were seen sitting on dharna in front of the city police station.
Meanwhile, the joint action committee protesting to get justice for the family have been contacting the people to muster support for the proposed Faridkot bandh on October 12.
But the police are allegedly trying to scuttle the bandh, the protesters allege.
Senior BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla on Tuesday visited Faridkot and expressed her solidarity with the protesters. She said she would support the bandh and would be present at the protest on the bandh day.
On the police having released Shruti's photographs on Monday with the boy showing that they had married after she had been abducted on June 25,Chawla said, "A girl cannot marry before 18. In this case, the girl is not even 16, and even her consent does not carry weight."
She said, "If the girl has even given her consent, she can appear before a court of law and would be sent to a juvenile home or Nari Niketan in case she does not want to stay with her parents."
She said she would talk to the BJP president and appeal to him to send the Mahila Morcha to Faridkot to support the bandh. "We want the girl back as soon as possible and if she is not brought back, we will protest even in Chandigarh," Chawla said.
Chawla also marched to the mini-secretariat, where she talked to the additional deputy commissioner, saying the deputy commissioner should write to the government in this regard.
Meanwhile, the protesters criticised the DIG, Ferozepur range, and the Faridkot SSP for releasing the photographs of the minor saying it was uncalled for.
"The police are weakening the case. First, they leaked the letter allegedly written by Shruti, showing as if she had eloped with the accused. Then, they released the photographs of the girl," said a man sitting on dharna.
The police have been floating theories to make an impression that the girl had eloped instead of arresting the accused, the protesters alleged.
Shruti's father Ashwani Sachdeva said, "The police are trying to sabotage the bandh call and pressing us not to stay with the joint action committee. They want us to disassociate from the committee and the protesters who are fighting for us. The police released the photographs to defame us and scuttle the bandh call."
He said, "The date of birth of my daughter is May 1, 1997 and she is only 15. So even her consent is not admissible. This is only a move by the police to scuttle the case. She was abducted in broad daylight and the family were beaten up."
The protesters alleged that the role of the police has been doubtful from the beginning. It has been 16 days but the police have failed to bring back the girl and arrest the accused, they allege.
The police claim to have arrested only two of the eight accused so far besides impounding the vehicle used in the crime.
"The police had not informed us about the photographs being released. No police official has contacted us to provide any information. We came to know from the media on Tuesday that the police had released the photographs and letters," Sachdeva said.
The protesters on Tuesday raised slogans against the police and condemned it for sabotaging the proposed bandh.
Bathinda range IG Nirmal Singh Dhillon was quoted as saying that the police would soon arrest the accused; he himself would hand over the girl to her parents; and the marriage in question would have no impact on the case, after Chawla reportedly talked to him over the phone. But later, Dhillon was not available for comment.