Asian Age Corespondent
Chandigarh, 6 December 2011. The slapping of a protesting teacher by an Akali sarpanch on Sunday in a sangat darshan (Public Interaction) programme of Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal has spiralled into a major controversy in poll-bound Punjab.
In a programme attended by Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who happens to be the wife of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, at Gidderbaha, a delegation of 40 protesting teachers wanted to hand over the memorandum of their demands to the MP. However, as the activists reached the venue, they were told by Akali workers to leave. But adamant delegation members decided to wait for the MP outside the venue. At this, a few policemen thrashed their leader Jarnail Jalandhari.
After this, when angry teachers raised slogans against the government, a village sarpanch, Balwinder Singh Toti, slapped a teacher named Varinder Kaur several times and also pulled her hair. When the delegation tried to stage a protest march, senior officials, including the local police, reportedly intervened to hush up the matter.
However, the incident turned into an embarrassment for the Shiromani Akali Dal, which tried to distance itself from the incident. Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal clarified that she had already left the venue when the incident occurred. “The incident is condemnable and guilty would be punished.” Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that action would be taken as per the law and the guilty will not be spared.
The Congress has taken a dig at the SAD and former CM Amarinder Singh has described it as a testimony to the “mess” in Punjab. He said that it is shameful that teachers pressing for demands are thrashed in front of senior Akali leaders.
However, the police said that it had not received any complaint in the matter and will take action if the matter is reported.