The Punjab Police suspended four constables for brutally assaulting of a 22-year-old woman and her father in Tarn Taran district in Punjab, India on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The young woman said while returning from a wedding party some taxi and truck drivers harassed her near the marriage venue by teasing and articulating vulgar comments about her. On learning about this incident, her family members approached the police constables they spotted on the road to complain about the harassment by the drivers. She alleged the policemen instead of helping beat her in full public view. The policemen also beat her father and pushed him to the ground, and his turban thrown away.
Despite the video footage recorded by a bystander on his mobile phone and aired on TV news channels, Sukhbir Singh, a senior police officer who heads the local police station, defended the cops involved. He said: “I don’t think our cops did anything (wrong)… They were actually trying to intervene and stop the fight between two sides.”
However, reports say that on Monday evening Punjab Police had placed two cops Davinder Singh and Saraj Singh under suspension and initiated a departmental inquiry about the incident.
Two days after the incident, the Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini told media in Chandigarh: “Whatever the facts may be, whatever the provocation, it was wrong to raise a hand or lathi (cane baton) on a woman.” He made an even more shocking statement that he is still to see the video of the policemen thrashing the woman. “Honestly, I haven’t seen the video … But I have spoken to the concerned officer … I have seen pictures in print medium,” he said.
Saini said the two police personnel, would remain under suspension pending the magisterial inquiry ordered by Punjab Chief Minister. Defending the police personnel, Saini said that “they also have their point of view. The fight was between two groups and police had responded to that. There are different versions of the incident. We are examining them.”
The girl abused by the policemen spoke to the media and demanded strict punishment for her tormentors. She said: “I have been humiliated and beaten in public by them. I appeal to the government to investigate the matter. Where are our politicians when we need them? They come to us only when they need votes. Why is the chief minister not coming to my rescue now?” She also said the police was trying to offer her a bribe to take the case back. “They are trying to bribe us, but this is not going to happen,” she said.
On Tuesday, Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. He directed the magistrate of Tarn Taran district to find out the causes and circumstances which led to this incident and send his report within three weeks, an official spokesperson said. Badal termed the incident as an unpardonable offense and anyone connected with this grave crime, would not be spared and brought to book according to the law.
- Punjab policemen beat up woman after she complains of sexual harassment (ibnlive.in.com)
- Four cops suspended after woman beaten on camera (ndtv.com)
- Wrong to hit woman: Punjab DGP (vancouverdesi.com)
- Magisterial probe into woman’s thrashing in Punjab (indiavision.com)