It was like a “hell broken loose” for the three women legislators of AAP when they were lifted by watch and ward staff of the Punjab Assembly on Thursday and dumped outside the gate, with their dupattas removed in the melee. The three women MLAs, professor Baljinder Kaur, Sarabjit Kaur Manuke and Rupinder Kaur Ruby, were seated on Opposition benches when the marshals got into action and removed them from the Assembly.
“We lived a hell today. We were treated worse than animals in the temple of democracy. I felt I was transported 500 years back. As my entire body is aching due to all the dragging, kicks and punches of the marshals, I am wondering how the ruling legislators are feeling today after they saw their women legislators handled like that,” said professor Baljinder Kaur, who claims to have quit a college to join AAP to raise issues of people.
“Even the thieves and thugs would not have been treated the way we were,” she said, adding that she is unable to stomach the treatment and it keeps coming back to her how she was lifted by marshals and her dupatta was removed. “Do not they think about the honour of their womenfolk? How come nobody raised any voice when our legs and arms were being pulled in different directions?” she asked angrily.
Manuke, who had recently undergone a surgery for a fracture on her arm following an accident, was screaming on the top of her voice when she was lifted and dumped outside. She was shouting and saying her arm would give away. She was dumped outside the entrance of the Assembly hall where she kept lying for over 15 minutes before being shifted to a hospital.
“I warned two men of watch and ward staff against touching me. It was free for all. I feel enraged,” said Baljinder Kaur.
Ruby told The Indian Express that she was proud to be Punjab’s daughter but she was shocked how she was treated like a criminal. “Shame on these people. What were we doing to invite this treatment? I am a student also. I have sat on umpteen protests in college. Nowhere was I treated like this. And I thought I was not alone. I was representing the people of my constituency who voted for me,” she said.
“Turban and dupatta are our honour. Turbans were tossed and the dupattas were pulled. I was lifted not just by women marshals, but also men marshals. I was angry but when I saw my colleague Manuke writhing in pain and lying on the floor, I forgot about myself. This was the worst day of my life. I lived a nightmare,” said Ruby. She said she literally cried to see her male colleagues, five of them baptised Sikhs, picking their symbols of baptism from the floor.