Jaitu ‘Moral Policing’ & DSP Suicide: Inspector apologises for Jan 12 incident, students end protest

Former Jaitu SHO claims he did nothing wrong, said sorry ‘to restore peace in town and my own life’

The former SHO of Jaitu police station in district Faridkot, Inspector Gurmeet Singh, on Monday tendered an apology to three students over an alleged incident of moral policing that happened on January 12. Protesting students and farmers unions had made the SHO’s apology a pre-condition to end their protest. On Monday, students and union members gathered at DSP office in Jaitu where Gurmeet Singh apologised to the students publicly.

The entire issue had snowballed after DSP Jaitu, Baljinder Singh Sandhu, shot himself dead during a students’ protest against the SHO on January 29. While apologising, the Inspector said, “12 tareek nu bachheyaan de naal jo kutt-maar hoyi, main usdey layi maafi mangda haan. Aggey to dhyaan rakhange (I apologise for the thrashing that the students were subjected to on January 12. We will be careful in the future).”
However, he claimed that he cannot be blamed for the DSP’s suicide as he was not even present at the spot. “I was in court. I reached there after it all happened.”

He also said “sorry” for three other students being manhandled after DSP shot himself. “It is a wrong allegation that I thrashed three others after gunshot was fired. Maybe, some others from our police force caught them, but I did not thrash those three students. But I am sorry for that too,” he added. Meanwhile, the three students who were allegedly picked up from a bus stand on January 12 and taken to police station by the SHO, said that they were ‘satisfied’ with the apology. Two boys and a girl were taken to police station and allegedly manhandled and abused.

Speaking to The Indian Express, one of the boys, aged 20, said, “Obviously, it can never be forgotten, but we have accepted his apology. The words of SHO still ring in my ears when he said that we come to college not to study but to do ‘aashiqui’…. After our friend (the girl) was asked to leave, I and my other friend were thrashed, made to do sit-ups and run around police station eight times. SHO had warned us that if he sees us again with a girl, he will book us in an FIR. Leaving behind what had happened, we will joining back college in a couple of days.”

The girl added, “I am satisfied with the apology today, but what happened on January 12 was a nightmare. I am lucky that despite living in small town, my family supported me and understood. I will be joining back college soon.”

Inspector Gurmeet Singh, however, told The Indian Express after his public apology that he had done so just to restore peace in the town.
“I did nothing wrong. I have apologised just to restore peace in Jaitu and in my life. I am being blamed for everything and unions were after my life. I did nothing wrong in telling students not to stand unnecessarily at public places,” he said. He maintained that he never took three students to police station. “It is a concocted story,” he added. But Buta Singh Burjgill, state president, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), said that they had ended the protest after SHO’s apology. “We decided to end it here as students are also satisfied and two precious lives have already been lost. So, the protest ends,” he said.

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