Moga/Chandigarh: The death of a 13-year-old Dalit girl after she and her mother were pushed out of a speeding bus for protesting against their molestation on Thursday sparked outrage in Punjab, with the opposition demanding action against the ruling Badal family, which owns the bus.
The incident took place on Wednesday evening near Moga town, 180km from here. The bus belongs to Orbit Aviation Company which is owned by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and union minister Harsimrat Badal.
14 year old Arshdeep Kaur lost her life after being thrown off the bus in Moga, Punjab and mother Shinder Kaur received serious injuries inside the bus owned by Badal family.
The victim, Arshdeep Kaur, was declared brought dead at the Moga civil hospital while her mother, Shinder Kaur, was admitted in a serious condition.
Shinder Kaur told the media from her hospital bed that they complained about the molestation to the bus driver but he mocked them and started speeding the vehicle. She alleged that they (daughter and mother) were pushed out of the moving bus by the molesters.
Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini said in Moga that three people, including the driver, conductor and cleaner of the bus, were arrested.
They have been booked for murder, attempt to murder, molestation and crime done with common intention. The case was registered against the bus conductor Sukhwinder Singh and helper Gurdeep Singh.
Saini said a probe into the incident will be conducted by Inspector General of Police Gurpreet Kaur Deo.
Passengers on the bus indicated that the mother and daughter were subjected to molestation and lewd remarks by some people and the bus staff after they boarded it.
When both tried to get off the bus, the driver increased the speed. Her minor son was allowed to alight from the bus after a little distance.
“No one on the bus came to the rescue of the victims. There were not many passengers in the bus when the incident happened,” an eyewitness told police.
Embarrassed by the incident involving the staff of a bus owned by his son Sukhbir Badal, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said he was “deeply pained” by the incident.
“I don’t know anything about the bus company. I have nothing to do with it. I have never been to its office,” Badal told the media in Chandigarh.
“Strict action will be taken under law against the guilty. The incident is deeply shocking and I am deeply pained by it,” Badal said.
Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said the incident was a reflection of the lawlessness under the Badal regime.
“I am shocked and ashamed such an incident has happened in Punjab and nobody came to the rescue of the helpless mother and the daughter leading to the death of the girl,” Amarinder said in a statement.
Congress legislators demanded President’s Rule in Punjab, citing deteriorating law and order situation.
“The bus belongs to a company owned by the Badal family. The Dalit girl was molested by the staff of the Orbit bus. She along with her mother were thrown out of the fast moving bus by the molesters,” they said in a statement.
Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa claimed that Orbit transport buses had unleashed terror on Punjab’s roads and its staff was violating all laws.
“Sukhbir Badal is directly responsible for this incident and a case under Section 304-A should be registered against him as the bus is his liability,” Bajwa said in Moga.