Drivers and conductors of private and a few government-run buses in Punjab will go on strike on Saturday to protest against the registration of a “false case” against a private bus conductor on Friday. More than 4,000 government and private buses are expected to stay off the roads Saturday.
The case pertains to an FIR, lodged by Muktsar police, in which the conductor of a bus of New Deep Transport Company is accused of misbehaving with two minor sisters and forcing them off the bus midway.
New Deep Transport Company belongs to SAD’s Gidderbaha constituency in-charge Dimpy Dhillon.
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The girls, along with their father, lodged a police complaint on Thursday, on the basis of which SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal booked the conductor under Sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 354A (outraging modesty of woman). The accused is yet to be identified.
According to the complaint, the girls — aged 12 and 13 — boarded the bus for Kotli Sangar village, after which the conductor allegedly misbehaved with them and then forced them to get off. SP (D) Gurinderjit Singh said, “An FIR has been registered. Action will be taken as per law.”
He added, “It is surprising why the girls never went to the police the day the incident took place (May 13). The police station was just 200 yards from Kotakpura Chowk — where they were made to get off the bus.” The complaint was filed on May 14.
Dhillon, the owner of the bus company, said, “This is totally unjustified. Our staff are being booked in false cases. The bus (PB30 9948), about which the complaint was given, left the bus stand at 12.15 pm whereas the girls mentioned 2 pm. The complaint is totally false. The conductor and driver are father and son. How can a son misbehave with girls in the presence of his father?”
Upset with the FIR, Punjab Motor Union, a union of private bus operators, and joint action committee of PRTC have decided to keep buses off the roads for a day.
Harvinder Singh, president of Malwa private bus operators’ union, said, “Mini bus operators will also support us. This is a totally false case. Tomorrow anyone can go to a police station and complain, and police will book us without any inquiry.”
Hardev Singh Sema, member of joint action committee of PRTC, said, “PRTC buses will remain off roads tomorrow. This is not a question of private or government-run transport. Such a fake FIR can be lodged against our employees as well.”
Private transporters confirmed they would join the strike. PRTC unions, however, are not fully supporting the strike.