Moga (Punjab): Ending a four-day deadlock, father of the girl who was molested and pushed to death from a moving bus here today agreed to conducting of post-mortem and cremation of the body besides accepting the offer of compensation and a government job.
The develompent came while an under-attack Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the incident as “intolerable” and “painful” and the police said all the four accused had been arrested. “I want to request that I want to perform the last rites of my daughter,” the victim’s father told reporters here.
He also said that he had agreed for the post-mortem “without any pressure”. The father had so far been refusing to perform the cremation till a case was filed against Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and others who own the Orbit bus service and cancellation of licence to it. He had been staging a sit-in along with some local politicians to press his demands.
“Whatever the state government has offered to us is acceptable to me. They (state government) have fulfilled our demands and have assured us that my daughter’s killer will be punished,” the victim’s father said.
About compensation, he said he did not know about the quantum. “I cannot say about compensation. Whatever has been given to me is sufficient for me. I am happy that I will move away from here with my daughter,” he said.
The government had earlier offered a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, a government job for her mother, her free treatment and holding trial of the case in a fast track court but the family had rejected it.
He also sought an end to the protest launched over this matter. “This protest should now come to an end…my daughter has already died. If my wife (who is in hospital) dies, then what will be the use of my life? Now I want to lead a normal life,” he said.
Thanking those who supported him, he insisted, “Nobody including government or any officer has ever threatened me (for compromise).”
The breakthrough came during a meeting between senior civil and police officials and family members even as protesters alleged that the state government forced its decision on the family. A senior police officer said the family was convinced when told about the investigation and the fact that all the four accused had been arrested.
Meanwhile, keeping in view of security, the girl’s body which had been lying in mortuary at Singhpura village here was taken to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital at Faridkot, 55 km from here, for post mortem, official spokesman said here.
District administration had announced to pay compensation of Rs 24 lakh, besides Rs 6 lakh by Punjab SC BC Commission and government job to girl’s injured mother. Earlier today, the Chief Minister said he will be meeting the family of the victim.
“This (Moga bus incident) is intolerable. The death of a girl in such conditions is very painful to me…I am going to Moga (to meet the family of girl),” Badal, who was in Patiala to pay homage to the mother of former minister Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, told reporters.
Expressing deep sorrow over the death of teenage girl, he said that one could not compensate the loss of death. However, he refused to make any comment on the visit of opposition party leaders to Moga over the issue.
The state government has been facing the ire from several quarters including AAP and Congress over the incident, particularly since no cabinet minister yet had gone to meet the family of victim at Moga.
Meanwhile, facing severe criticism over “not properly handling the matter”, Punjab Police ADGP Iqbal Singh Sahota today met the victim’s family and took their son for identification parade of the accused.
Sahota, who is direcor of recently constituted Bureau of Investigation by the state government, assured the family members that there would be “proper and flawless” investigation in this matter.
Police was facing the ire from several quarters for not recording the statement of boy who was also in the bus along with girl and his mother at the time of incident.
Opposition parties including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have sharpened their attack against the SAD-BJP regime, alleging “lawlessness” in the state and “insensitive” attitude of the Badal government which they wanted to be dismissed. Punjab Congress Chief Partap Singh Bajwa, former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Indian Youth Congress President Amarinder Raja Warring today went to Moga to visit family members of victim
Accusing the state government of being “insensitive” over the matter, Bajwa alleged that “complete ‘jungle raj’ prevails” in the state.
“The employees of Orbit bus behave in the same way as bus owners do. Bus drivers (Orbit) are as reckless as Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. It is a complete jungle raj in the state,” Bajwa alleged. Bhattal sought strict action against the government. “Punishment should be such that it should act as a lesson for the criminals,” she said.
Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) Chief Manpreet Singh Badal, an estranged nephew of Badal, also went to Moga and promised to bear all the education expenses of their son while inquiring the health of woman in the hospital.
He criticised the fact that no case has been registered against the bus owners. “If in Uphaar cinema tragedy, owners of Ansal were prosecuted and similarly in Bhopal gas tragedy, the company’s MD was prosecuted. Then why the same action cannot be taken in case of Moga bus incident. The law cannot be different,” he
Referring to Sukhbir’s decision of keeping the Orbit buses off the road, Badal described it as a “shrewd” move. Later Manpreet Badal, Bajwa and Warring held a meeting n the civil hospital and announced to extend their support to action Committee fighting for the rights of victim family.
AAP leader HS Phoolka while targeting the SAD-BJP government alleged that there was a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state. “There is a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state. The buses of Orbit are recklessly being driven and for such incidents, bus owners are responsible but police was not taking any action against them,’ Phoolka said questioning whether government was going against Constitution. He also wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, demanding dismissal of Badal-led state government.