Thursday, February 23, 2006

"My father had to pay a heavy price to get me justice"

I, Baljit Kaur, daughter of Sri Bant Singh, am a resident of village Burj Jhabbar in Mansa District, Punjab. I was gang-raped on 6 July 2002. I did not conceal the incident and along with my father waged a struggle for justice. My father, Bant Singh Jhabbar, could file an FIR only after a month despite pressure and various enticements from the village Panchayat which led to convictions of the assaulters Mandhir Singh, Dr.Tarsem and Gurmail Kaur. All the three were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Since my father had gone against the wishes of the Panchayat in getting justice, therefore the Sarpanch Jaswant Singh and his elder brother, who is an ex-sarpanch, and both of whom are local leaders of the Congress party. became sworn enemies of my father and started threatening him regularly.
My father got me married to Resham Singh one and half month before the rapists were convicted. My father earned a livelihood by raising pigs. He has seven children of whom my four brothers are just infants. My father keeps himself in high self-esteem. He has been very active in the work of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and CPI(ML) Liberation. As part of his activism he also got the license for a ration depot of one Amrik Singh cancelled for not distributing ration in the village.
My father was first attacked in August 2005 and the attackers were charged under Sec. 23-24 of the Indian Penal Code. He was attacked a second time in December 2005 and this time the guilty were booked under Sec.107 and 151. In both these cases the Sarpanch Jaswant got the bail for all the attackers and openly stated at the Joga police station itself that “even if you had injured him more seriously, I would still get you out on bail”. These same attackers dealt a deadly attack on my father on 5 January 2006 and the attack was conspired by the present and ex-Sarpanch and officials of the Joga police station. Two sons each of Jaswant Singh and Amrik Singh Vicky and Babli, Appi and Sandeep respectively (who are also relatives of the rapist Mandhir), Honey, S/o Inderjit Singh, and Gurditta and Didar were the main attackers.
My father had to pay a heavy price to get me justice. Both his arms and one leg have been amputated and the criminals are roaming freely. Initially the attackers were given bail from the thana itself due to implicating them under simple charge of 325. It was only after people took to the streets, parties and organisations got involved and news papers carried stories, that fresh charges of 307, 308 and SC-ST Act were levelled against them and they were arrested. Except the Government and the Administration now everyone is with us. I'm ready to fight till we have got justice but will my father get his limbs back?
I demand that both the Sarpanch belonging to the Congress party be booked under Sec.120B and immediately arrested, the SHO of the Joga police station be suspended immediately and case filed against him for hobnobbing with the criminals, a life-long attendant be provided to my father along with a compensation of Rupees Ten lakhs provision be made for looking after my brothers and sisters and one of us be given a permanent job.
The District Commissioner of Mansa has attempted to do away with the issues involved by getting himself photographed by the press while giving a cheque of just Rs. One lakh and some rations to my family. Is this sufficient for treatment of my father and to raise my siblings? The Amarinder Government in Punjab as well as the Administration is shielding the criminals. But my people, my Party and I will continue the struggle until my father and I get justice.
My father is currently admitted at PGI, Chandigarh, where the doctors are trying to save his other badly injured leg. If our demands are not fulfilled then I will be rather compelled to return this cheque of Rs.One lakh.


Blogger Emma Beverage said...

It sounds to me like your father is a hero and his daughter gets her courage from a great role model. I know that words cannot change what has happened to you and your family but I hope to give you encouragement to continue to stand up to the evil that seems to dominate the world today. You never know when your personal acts of courage will convince someone else to also have the courage to do the right thing when they are faced by the bullies of the world. Someday, if enough individuals find the personal courage to say, "I have had enough, and I will not take it any more" the world can and will change. Continue with your brave fight! My prayers are with you.

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