On a day when the Moga molestation case rocked both Houses of Parliament, the Punjab government on Tuesday ordered a judicial probe into the May 29 incident in which a 13-year-old girl died after she was allegedly molested and thrown out of a moving bus. The ruling Badal family owns the bus in which the incident took place.
The judicial commission of inquiry under former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court retired Justice V K Bali has been asked to submit its report within two months.
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The state government also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of a retired High Court judge to make recommendations regarding safety of the general public, especially women and children, travelling in public transport.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal deflected questions on whether an FIR should be registered against him since his company owns the bus in which the incident took place. Instead, he asked the reporters if “editors should be booked if they (reporters) met with road accidents”.
In his first media interaction since the molestation case, Badal also dismissed comparisons to the Delhi gangrape and the Uber taxi service cases, stating unlike them, his company’s buses had not been operating illegally. “If your personal driver goes to market and meets with an accident, should a case be registered against you?” the deputy CM asked.
Sukhbir also emphatically ruled out handing over the probe in the case to a central agency or succumbing to the Opposition’s demand for imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
“The Punjab government had taken prompt and strict action. Police have registered a criminal case under Section 302 of the IPC (murder) and the culprits have been arrested. It was an unfortunate incident,” he said. “Instead of expressing solidarity with the family, the Congress and AAP have been politicising the issue from day one,” the deputy CM said here on the sidelines of a function to mark the 292nd birth anniversary of Sikh king Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia.
“The Punjab government is fully committed to ensuring justice to the family of the victim. Strict compliance of Motor Vehicle Act will also be ensured in the state,” he added.
The Deputy CM also visited the hospital in Moga where the victim’s mother is recuperating. He spent around five minutes with the family.
“We told him that we want to lead a normal life now and he promised that the government will try to help the family in every possible way,” the victim’s father told The Indian Express.
With inputs from Anju Agnihotri Chaba in Mukerian (Punjab)