Free Press Journal

Moga bus incident sparks protest, girl’s family refuses to cremate her



Moga/New Delhi: The family of the teenaged girl, who got killed after being molested and thrown off a moving bus belonging to Punjab’s ruling Badal family, has refused to cremate her pending compensation and cancellation of the transport firm’s permit even as the incident triggered protests by opposition parties.

Opposition Congress and AAP joined the agitating family and activists staging a protest in front of the Moga civil hospital where the injured mother of the deceased, who was also molested and shoved out of the vehicle, is undergoing treatment. Sukhdev Singh, father of the victim, said they would not perform the final rites of the girl till their demands like Rs 50 lakh compensation, employment to one member of the family, free treatment for her mother and cancellation of route permits of Orbit Aviation, on whose bus the incident took place two days back, are accepted.

The body of the girl has been kept in the mortuary of the Civil Hospital. DIG of Ferozepur Range Amar Singh Chahal told reporters he also met the family members to persuade them to perform the last rites but they did not relent.

Meanwhile, in a fresh twist to the incident, TV channels showed a letter purported to be carrying the thumb impression of the deceased’s father endorsing the action taken by the police so far. Sukhdev Singh told TV channels he had put the thumb impression without being explained the contents of the document.

Congress and AAP also staged demonstrations at Baghapurana near Moga against the bus incident as also the alleged gangrape of another woman in the district that came to light last night. AAP Lok Sabha member from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann, who led his party’s protest dharna outside the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Baghapurana with around 500 others, demanded questioning of the owners of Orbit Aviation.

He said when officials of Uber taxi service could be questioned in connection with the alleged rape by a cab driver, why can’t the owners of Orbit Aviation be interrogated.

Mann recalled that in the Goa incident (relating to detection of a CCTV camera directed towards the changing room where Union Minister Smriti Irani had gone) the entire top management was issued notices to join the investigation and questioned why different yardsticks were being adopted in this case.

Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa and former MP Jagmeet Brar led the Congress dharna in front of the police station at Baghapurana. Several women organisations also took out a march in the national capital to protest the molestation and death of the girl and demand resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is a Union Minister.

“They (Badal and Harsimrat) must be held accountable (for the incident). They must resign,” one of the protesters said. Meanwhile, the four accused arrested yesterday in connection with the molestation and death of the teenager, were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Pratima Mahajan, who remanded them in police custody till May 4.

Moga Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) J S Khehra said investigations were being conducted in the bus molestation and killing case as also the second alleged gang rape incident. Amid the tension over Wednesday night molestation and death of the girl, an incident of gangrape of a 20-year-old woman in Mari Mustafa village had come to light. One person has been arrested in connection with the incident and a hunt is on for four others on the run, according to IG (Bathinda zone) P S Umranangal.