The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tortured trio tells on cops

Chandigarh, Feb. 17: Amarjit, Virpal and Rani were allegedly stripped, beaten and given electric shocks by police for refusing to gratify two upper-caste men from their village in Muktsar district.

The backward-caste women from Johar village, who were allegedly pressured to enter the flesh trade, today wept as they spoke at the state BJP headquarters. Party state general secretary Vijay Sampla and national executive youth wing member Vineet Joshi brought them here.

“The incident occurred in late December. Amarjit, Virpal and Rani were picked up by Malout police (Malout is a tehsil in Muktsar district) and taken to the Sadar thana at night to force them into having an illicit relationship with Bhupinder Singh and Jasbir Singh, alleged to be involved in a girl-running racket,” Joshi claimed.

“When they refused, their hands were tied to their backs, they were beaten and even given electric shocks. It ended only when a pregnant Virpal began bleeding. False cases were registered against their husbands.”

The ordeal did not end there, alleged Virpal, who had to undergo an abortion. After she regained strength, she was again taken to the police station.

“The SHO, Ranjit Singh Sotha, has been pressuring us to give in to the demands of Bhupinder and Jasbir. The police continue to harass us by registering false cases of poppy-husk smuggling against our husbands and taking us to jail.

“We have nowhere to go. Do we have any choice other than accept humiliating demands to live peacefully'”

It is also believed that Malout police told transporters in the area not to ferry the three outside Muktsar. So, a vehicle had to be sent from Chandigarh to smuggle them out. “We wanted to come to Chandigarh but nobody was willing to help us get here,” Rani claimed.

Asked if they had approached the sarpanch, Virpal said: “He too was beaten when he objected to the police.”

The allegations come at a time when the Punjab government is trying to end simmering caste tensions in the state.

“We want the truth to come out'. The three are simple village women. They don’t even remember the days they have had to spend in illegal confinement. We demand the removal of the SHO,” Sampla said.

A Muktsar police officer said “we will look into the matter soon”, but refused further comment.

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