Punjab: SAD intensifies protests for MLA Simarjeet Bains’ arrest, says Cong minster Bharat Bhushan protecting him

The Ludhiana Police had on Monday booked Bains and six others in an alleged rape case on the complaint of a 44-year-old woman.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday gheraoed the residence of Congress Cabinet minister, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, in Ludhiana, to press for the arrest of Lok Insaf Party (LIP)’s Atam Nagar MLA, Simarjeet Singh Bains, who has been named as an accused in a rape case.

The Ludhiana Police had two days ago (Monday) booked Bains and six others in an alleged rape case on the complaint of a 44-year-old woman.

SAD leaders, while demanding the immediate arrest of MLA Bains and others named in the FIR, claimed that Ashu was shielding Bains due to their proximity with each other and was also preventing the police from arresting the culprits. The SAD declared that the party will continue its agitation “to get justice for the rape victim till the time Bains was put behind bars.”

On Wednesday, a large number of SAD leaders and workers, led by Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, and Hira Singh Gabria, gheraoed the residence of Bharat Bhushan Ashu and raised slogans against the minister. They also carried placards reading “Mere hunde Bains nu koi nahin farh sakda kehan wala Ashu murdabad” and shouted slogans against the Congress government.

Senior SAD leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said that the Congress government was vitiating the atmosphere of the state by promoting elements like Simarjeet Bains.
He said it was shocking that even after a local court ordered the registration of a case against the LIP leader, the Ludhiana police did not act swiftly in the matter because of pressure from Ashu, who is an MLA Ludhiana (West). He said it was the SAD which had finally forced the police to register a case against Bains and his associates by staging a dharna outside the police station.

Other SAD leaders — like Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Hira Singh Gabria — said it was “utterly shameful” that the Congress government, which was duty-bound to ensure justice to rape victims, was rather involved in shielding the perpetrators. “They are shielding Bains because he had given his nod to join the Congress party to help chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and save his chair. Captain had directed all his associates to do whatever possible to ensure more MLAs join the Congress, with the sole purpose of saving his own chair. The patronage provided to Bains by minister Ashu was also part of this exercise,” said Dhillon.

Grewal said that earlier the SAD had ensured the registration of a case against the LIP leader, and now it would ensure that he is arrested and sent to jail for raping and sexually exploiting a 44-year-old widow who had come to him to seek help in a property dispute case. He said the SAD would not rest till Bains was put behind bars.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Mamta Ashu, local councillor and wife of Bharat Bhushan Ashu, said that “humanity was always above political rivalries.”

She said that SAD leader Hira Singh Gabria got unwell while protesting outside their residence. “Concerned, she enquired about Gabria’s health and visited him to wish him a speedy recovery,” said a statement from Congress’ Ludhiana unit.

An FIR against MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains, his brothers – Karamjit Singh and Paramjit Singh – and four others, Baljinder Kaur, Jasbir Kaur, Sukhchain Singh, and Gogi Sharma PA, under the Sections 376 (rape), 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy) of IPC, was registered at division number 6 police station of Ludhiana city, on the orders of a local court.

The 44-year old victim, who is a widow, has been alleging that she was ‘raped’ by Bains multiple times, and had been protesting the same for the past eight months demanding an FIR be lodged against the MLA. She claims that the MLA and his men had promised to help her in a property dispute case. But instead started exploiting her sexually. She claims that she was raped multiple times and that the MLA had also sent her multiple texts demanding a physical relationship.

Denying all allegations as ‘vendetta by SAD’ to defame him, Bains has moved to the High Court.

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