Magisterial probe into woman's thrashing in Punjab

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 05, 2013 09:40 hrs

Chandigarh, March 5 (IANS) Even as the victim of an assault by Punjab Police personnel sought their dismissal, an embarrassed Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

The young woman, who was slapped pushed, abused and hit with a baton by policemen in uniform in Punjab's frontier district of Tarn Taran Sunday, demanded strict punishment for her tormenters.

"I have been humiliated and beaten in public by them. Why is the chief minister not coming to my rescue now," the victim asked Tuesday.

The four to five police personnel were caught on camera assaulting the young victim and her aged father after she reportedly complained to police against some taxi and truck drivers harassing her near a marriage palace in Tarn Taran district, 280 km from here.

The incident was recorded by a bystander on his mobile phone Sunday and was aired by TV news channels.

Badal directed the Tarn Taran district magistrate to ascertain the causes and circumstances which led to the incident and submit the inquiry report within three weeks.

Badal said "this was an unpardonable offence and anyone connected with this grave crime, howsoever influential he may be, would not be spared and brought to book as per the law of the land".

Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini Monday suspended two policemen seen in the video.

He ordered an inquiry into the incident, to be conducted by a superintendent of police, and a report within a week.

The video showed the young woman being chased, slapped, abused and hit with a baton. The policemen also beat up her aged father and pushed him to the ground. His turban was also thrown on the ground.

"The guilty policemen should be dismissed from service and a case be registered against them," the father of the victim said.

Area police officers initially denied that such an incident took place.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is the state home minister, asked Saini to initiate strict action against the policemen for assaulting the woman.

He said that there would be zero tolerance to any misconduct, especially against women.

However, opposition Congress leaders condemned the assault on the woman saying Punjab had become a "lawless" state under the Badal government.

Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar said the assault on the woman was "shameful".

"We have been highlighting how Punjab has become a lawless state. The latest incident confirms this. Strict action should be taken against the policemen involved," Jakhar told media.

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