Chandigarh: The Punjab government today ordered a magisterial probe and registered a case into the alleged thrashing of a girl in public view by policemen in Tarn Tarn district of the state.
The state police also tendered an unconditional apology.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has directed the Tarn Taran District Magistrate to ascertain the causes and circumstances leading to the incident and submit the inquiry report within three weeks.
The 22-year-old girl and her father were allegedly thrashed by policemen when they sought action against some truck drivers who they complained of teasing the girl and passing vulgar comments in full public view.
Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini sought an "apology" for the "innocuous" incident today.
"It is incorrect to raise hand or stick on a lady ... whatever may be the provocation," Saini told reporters here this evening.
"If the magisterial inquiry points out at involvement of more cops, criminal and departmental action will be taken against them," the DGP said adding that "misconduct does take place in every department, but I apologise for what had happened (beating of a girl) in this case."
He said that preliminary investigations revealed involvement of two cops in the incident and both of them were suspended yesterday.
They will remain suspended till the probe is complete and further action will be taken after receiving the probe report.
Badal termed the incident as an "unpardonable offence"
and said anyone connected with this grave crime, even if he was influential, will not be spared.
Condemning the incident as "brutal and shameful" Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh lashed out at the state government`s claims of "zero tolerance" towards the misconduct by its officials.
Maintaining that suspension of the erring cops was not the solution, Badal said that the state Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal seems to have lost control and appears to be busy in everything other than governance.
Singh said that it was not an isolated incident, but only one in a series of such incidents taking place under the nose of the Deputy Chief Minister, who is also the state`s home minister.
Questioning the claims of "zero tolerance" against misconduct or indiscipline, the PCC president said that the police only suspended the cops after the video clip showing them beating up the girl went viral on the net.
The former Chief Minister said, the way the policemen behaved with a girl who was complaining against eveteasing, only reflected the mindset of the cops patronised by the Akali jathedars.
Meanwhile, detailing the sequence of events, ADG (Law ansd order) Dinkar Gupta said there was a dispute at the marriage function between the passengers and the drivers.
The girl came out from the marriage house on Goindwal Road along with three other women and asked the drivers Balwinder Singh to drop them to their residence in Naushera Panun village, he said.
"There was an altercation between the taxi driver over the number of passengers and the girl used abusive language," Gupta said adding that the girl went inside the marriage house and told the gathering that she was molested by the taxi driver.
"After that there was a big fight between the taxi drivers and the members of the marriage party," he said and added that "the people of the marriage party were heavily drunk."
The taxi drivers fled the spot and the police reached to calm the situation.
He said that on the complaint of the girl, police have registered a case of alleged molestation against two persons, both taxi drivers, hired for the marriage party of the relative of the victim.
"The girl resisted when the police was taking away her father, who was also badly drunk," the ADG said adding that in the melee, head gears of the cops fell, which infuriated them and they started beating the girl.
"The girl was very abusive with the cops," Gupta said adding that late on Sunday night both the parties had reached a "compromise" in writing in the police station.
"Tarn Taran SP Ranbir Singh is also probing the incident," he said.
"I strongly demand action against the erring policemen who assaulted me and my father. They should be suspended from service followed by dismissal. I demand that the matter must be investigated," the victim told media at Tarn Taran.
The activists of CPI (M) also staged protest outside the office of Deputy Commissioner of Tarn Taran demanding action against the "errant and wayward behaviour" of the policemen.
The Congress took out a procession, led by Leader of the Opposition Sunil Jakhar, from the Usma village outside the girl`s house.
Meanwhile, vice chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste, Raj Kumar Verka, who visited the girl today, summoned the District Commissioner, SSP Tarn Taran and IG Amritsar range along with the girl and her family to Amritsar and directed the police to complete enquiry within a week.
Taking note of the incident as well as of the bus accident near Jalandhar, where 12 students and the bus driver lost their lives, the Punjab PCC president Amarinder Singh today deputed senior party leaders Rana Gurjeet Singh and Sukhpal Singh Khaira to assess the situation at both places and submit a report within 24 hours.