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‘Sold’ widow faces police indifference
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Back home in Jalandhar, Sarabjeet Kaur is already losing hope of justice, courtesy indifference of cops who have not yet registered a case on her complaint.

Instead of acting promptly in the case that involves the dignity of the young widow who was allegedly sold by her in-laws and then raped by her buyer, the police is simply passing the buck. This despite having received a copy of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission September 30 order which directs Punjab IGP (Litigation) to protect Sarabjeet Kaur’s dignity.

Citing problems of jurisdiction, the personnel of police station division number 7, Jalandhar today said they had forwarded Sarabjeet’s complaint to division number 4 which was competent to handle the case. This was done ignoring the fact that the case had been marked to the police station in question by the SSP, Jalandhar.

Although the SSP, Jalandhar, was not answering his mobile till late this evening, SHO, police division number 7, Mr Paramjit Singh when contacted said he had no jurisdiction to register an FIR in the case. “The woman was living with her in-laws at Nakodar. The alleged marriage (occurrence of crime) took place in a gurdwara at Jyoti Chowk. The woman who got the deal struck also lives in Jyoti Chowk area which falls under police division number 4. The jurisdiction thus lies either at Nakodar police station or at police division number 4. We have accordingly sent the case file to them,” he said.

The argument however sounds lame as Sarabjeet Kaur is no longer residing with her in-laws at Nakodar. Also, she left her “buyer’s” house in Jandiala, Amritsar on September 8, i.e. two days after her alleged marriage to him. Says Mr Shashi Sharma, District President, Human Rights Organisation, Punjab who is helping Sarabjeet Kaur: “It was natural for her to submit the complaint to police division close to her parents’ house. Since she is now living at Garha, she gave the complaint to police division 7. Even the SSP marked the complaint to this division, but the cops are reluctant to register a case.”

The law is also clear when it comes to jurisdiction in matters of cognizable offences like these. Noted criminal lawyer from Chandigarh, Mr A.S. Sukheja said: “In case of a cognizable offence, the police are under an obligation to register a case immediately. There are many judgments to this effect. Once the FIR is registered the case can be transferred for investigation to any another police station. But the police cannot escape the responsibility of registering a case.”

Meanwhile, Sarabjeet Kaur’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law, middle woman Raj who took Rs 5100 out of the today deal amounting to Rs 25,000 and Nihal Singh’s, Sarabjeet’s alleged buyer refused to turn up on the call of local police today. For her part, Sarabjeet spent the day trying to plead her case before the police. She has allegedly been threatened by her sister-in-law’s husband who is accusing her of running away with jewellery from Nihal Singh’s house.


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