Archit Watts, Tribune News Service
Gidderbaha, December 5. Both the PPP and the Congress today came out in support of the EGS Teachers’ Union and sought an apology from Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal at whose Sangat Darshan programme at Daula village in Gidderbaha yesterday a teacher was slapped by Akali sarpanch Balwinder Singh ‘Toti’.
Leaders of both the parties said the incident proved there was “jungle raj” in the state. Vinu Badal, PPP chief Manpreet Singh Badal’s wife, along with Bhagwant Mann and other party leaders, met activists of the Teachers’ Union. She said:
“On the one hand she (Harsimrat) has launched a campaign to save the girl child under the Nanhi Chhaan programme and on the other male activists of her party are slapping women.”
She said Harsimrat must own moral responsibility and apologise on behalf of the SAD sarpanch. Vinu demanded that the local DSP and the SHO should be transferred and a case registered against them for failure to perform their duty.
Bhagwant Mann lashed out at the police for being a mute spectator as the sarpanch hit the teacher. Congress MLA from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira also criticised the sarpanch’s “shameful” behaviour and demanded that a case be registered against him.
Meanwhile, the EGS Teachers’ Union burnt the effigy of the sarpanch at Husnar Chowk here. Pritpal Singh, President, EGS Teachers’ Union said: “We are being pressurised into reaching a compromise with the sarpanch but we will stick to our stand.”
Harsimrat, in a written statement, has condemned the incident. “The assault on a woman by any functionary is not acceptable, whatever may be the provocation. Necessary action will be taken against the guilty,” she said.
When contacted, Gurdev Kaur Sangha, Chairperson, Punjab State Commission for Women, she said: “So far we have not received any complaint. But in case a complaint is filed, we will definitely investigate the matter.” The EGS teachers had gone to Daula village yesterday to hand over a memorandum to Harsimrat. The teachers, who are demanding regular jobs, have been holding protest demonstrations since November 29.