Punjab village headman booked for slapping woman

Chandigarh : A village headman in Punjab’s Muktsar district was Tuesday booked for assaulting a woman teacher as she tried to reach ruling Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Bathinda Harsimrat Badal to submit a memorandum.

However, police booked the absconding assaulter, Balwinder Singh who belongs to the Akali Dal, only for causing hurt and wrongful restraint — both bailable offences. However, he is yet to be arrested.

The incident took place Sunday when Barinder Pal Kaur was trying to reach the venue of a meet-the-public programme of Harsimrat Badal, the daughter-in-law of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and wife of Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The Daula village ‘sarpanch’ slapped the woman teacher repeatedly in full public view and in the presence of police officials. The act was caught on camera by journalists present at the venue near the village.

The headman was trying to prevent Barinder Pal Kaur and other protesting teachers, who wanted to reach Harsimrat Badal, from submitting a memorandum demanding permanent jobs for teachers. He wanted the protesters to leave the function.

“He hit me all of a sudden without any provocation. No one has even apologised for the incident. I want justice. This man should be arrested,” Barinder Kaur said later.

Harsimrat Badal Monday “strongly condemned” the incident.

Expressing “regret for this unpleasant incident”, she said: “The assault on a woman by any functionary was not acceptable, whatever may be the provocation for that.”

Police did not register a case for over 30 hours after the incident, which took place in front of some police officers.

Even Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who saw the video footage of the slapping incident on TV, tweeted: “Just saw a male sarpanch slap and rough up a woman teacher on TV…disgusting and should be punished for sure…”

Punjab goes in for assembly elections in February-March next year.

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