Even after the shocking video of a pregnant nurse being assaulted in Baghapurana village of Moga led to outrage, the police were yet to arrest the accused, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Paramjeet Singh and his son Gurjeet Singh.
Meanwhile, local Akali legislator Maheshinder Singh said he would “never interfere in police investigations even when the accused are from my own party”. Paramjeet’s wife is the sarpanch of Alamwala village in the area, though earlier reports identified him as the village head instead.
“The victim too belongs to my constituency and is like my daughter. A fair investigation will be done and the police should not spare the guilty,” he added.
Vakil Singh, the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) who is the investigating officer (IO), said the police conducted a raid at the Alamwala village sarpanch’s home “but it was locked”.
“We are constantly conducting raids at the house, and will not let them run anywhere,” he said, on talk on the village that Gurjeet was likely to leave the country son for Australia or Canada as he had got visa and tickets.
The father-son had assaulted the five-month pregnant nurse, Ramandeep Kaur, at Gupta Hospital after she reportedly asked them to wait for the discharge formalities of a villager.
“He (Paramjeet) started abusing me, saying ‘tu mainu jaandi nahin, main Akali sarpanch haan’ (You don’t know me. I am an Akali sarpanch),” she stated in her first-information report (FIR).
“After that, Gurjeet pushed me and, when I tried to resist, he and his son thrashed me. I received internal injuries,” she stated. A security-camera video of the assault made it to social media.
Police booked the duo under sections 451 (house trespass to commit an offence), 323 (punishment for causing hurt voluntarily), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), and 34 (common intent in crime) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Opposition parties have decried the ruling SAD over the case and there are demands for not only his sacking by the party but also an apology by Akali MP and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who runs a campaign named ‘Nanhi Chhaan’ for women empowerment.
Will assaulter manage to fly abroad?
In Baghapurana and the surroundings, several people said the sarpanch’s son and accused in the case, Gurjeet Singh had applied to settle abroad either in Australia or Canada and had recently got his visa after which he had booked his air tickets. “In three-four days he would have left India, but in between this incident took place,” a villager not willing to be named said. However, the police can stop him from leaving the country by informing the embassy concerned that a criminal case has been registered against him along with his sarpanch father for assaulting the nurse. Efforts to contact the accused did not bear fruit as their phones were switched off.
‘Hang them by a lamp post’
Chandigarh: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh condemned the incident of assault on a pregnant nurse by an Akali leader and his son at Bhaghpurana, and told chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to “better tame your goons lest they [are] lynched by people”.
“While the Akalis are already known for criminal intimidation and arm-twisting of people, the incident at Bhagapurana is disgusting and shameful and the culprits deserve to be hanged from a lamp post,” a statement by the former CM read. “Such incidents are the symptom of the overall deterioration in law and order.” Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and state unit in-charge Asha Kumari also flayed the Akalis over the incident.
AAP’s Baljinder meets victim, mocks Harsimrat
Aam Aadmi Party’s state women wing chief Baljinder Kaur on Friday dared SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal to take action against her party’s leader who assaulted a pregnant nurse at a private health centre in Baghapurana. Demanding immediate arrest of the sarpanch and his co-accused son, Baljinder said, “Cases of atrocities by Akali workers are coming up every day, and the so-called saviour of women in Punjab, ‘Nanni Chhaan’ Harsimrat Badal has not even uttered a single word about the incident of shame”. Nanhi Chhaan is a foundation for women empowerment run by Union minister Harsimrat. “The Akalis are still in a hangover of power and, thus, indulging in anti-social activities every day,” she added. She met the victim, Ramanjeet Kaur, at her village, Kotla Mehar Singh Wala, a party release here said. “If the police fail to take action against the culprits, the AAP would protest against the police as well,” Baljinder said.
Ally BJP seeks probe
Punjab BJP secretary Vineet Joshi has demanded a “swift and impartial” inquiry into the thrashing of a nurse by an Akali sarpanch’s husband and son at Baghapurana in Moga. “The father-son duo was caught assaulting the nurse in a video which went viral on social media,” Joshi noted, condemning the incident. He said atrocities against women were unacceptable. Expressing satisfaction over the filing of FIR in the case, Joshi urged state director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora to “thoroughly” investigate the matter and bring those responsible to task. HTC
Note: A previous version of this report and some other related reports wrongly called the main accused a sarpanch. He is the husband of the sarpanch.