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Posted at: Oct 11, 2018, 12:06 AM; last updated: Oct 11, 2018, 12:06 AM (IST)

Farmer unions out in support of accused in sexual abuse case

Rape victim's father booked; unions say wrongly implicated

Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 10

About two weeks after the Faridkot police booked a rape victim’s 52-year-old father for the offence of sexual abuse, the police are caught in a difficult situation after the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Ekta Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) have raised a banner of agitation, alleging the man was entrapped in a false case with a motive of vengeance.

As the culprit in the rape of minor daughter of Ashwani Sachdeva was a financially and politically strong gangster and he was awarded life imprisonment in that case about six year ago, he was the architect of a conspiracy to entangle Sachdeva in a false rape case with a motive of retaliation, alleged Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan and Laxman Singh Sewewala, general secretaries of the BKU (Ekta Sidhupur) and PKMU.

To hatch this conspiracy, Nishan Singh, the rape case culprit was able to secure his release on 28-day parole some days ago, alleged Kokrikalan and Sewewala.

Besides BKU and PKMU, many social and political organisations were part of a protracted agitation in 2012 in Faridkot, demanding justice for the minor rape victim girl who was kidnapped by Nishan Singh and his associates.

“We have demanded from the police to conduct an impartial inquiry in the case and cancel the FIR registered against Sachdeva. If any injustice was done to Sachdeva family under political or financial pressure, we have no option but to start an agitation on the pattern of 2012,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.

Fearing public backlash in the case against Ashwani Sachdeva whose minor daughter’s rape case in 2012 had triggered massive protests in the area for many days, the Faridkot police registered the case after about one month of the probe.

A special investigation team (SIT) led by an SP-rank woman officer was constituted to probe these charges. After the probe found Sachdeva prima facie guilty of the office, the case was registered against him.

“We have moved cautiously in this case as the accused is the father of a rape-victim girl and this family was battered six years ago,” said a police officer associated with SIT.

For the police moving at ‘slow-pace’ and not taking any action on her complaint, dated August 31, the alleged victim in the present case had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 14, alleging the police were not taking any action against Sachdeva as “he is close to Congress leaders”.

Giving a notice to the state in this writ petition, the High Court has fixed November 14 as the next hearing in the case.

It is believed that for this writ petition in the High Court, the police had to speed up its inquiry and register a case under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC against Sachdeva, as per the complaint.

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