A woman shouted slogans when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was speaking on the stage at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rs 926-crore New AIIMS in Bathinda on Friday. Separately, at the same function, a head constable on duty outside the VVIP gate complained of being abused by a minister and his supporters. The woman, Gurjinder Kaur, was upset over being duped of Rs 1.5 lakh that she had invested in a Barnala-based chit fund. She shouted “yeh sab jhoot hai”, as Modi was was speaking about how transitioning towards a cashless economy would benefit the poor.
Immediately, Shiromani Akali Dal supporters stood in front of Kaur with a flex banner procaliming “Punjab Sarkar Zindabad” before she was dragged out of the pandal by women cops, who even closed her mouth with their hands to prevent her from talking to the media.
Kaur was taken away in a police vehicle and released after the PM left. SSP Bathinda Swapan Sharma said Kaur was upset because she had lost her money and hence had stood up for a moment. The police said she had been allowed to go home. Kaur managed to shout that she would speak “in 2017”, an allusion to the Punjab polls.
Modi wound up his 22-minute speech soon after. Those in the audience could see him saying something to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the body language suggesting he was not happy, while Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal stood behind smiling.
In the other incident at the same function, Head Constable Kanwaljeet Singh stopped Punjab minister Sikander Singh Maluka at the gate. “I tried to stop his vehicle behind the barricade as vehicles were not allowed near the VVIP gate. I stopped the vehicle and said that the DSP had ordered that no vehicle would be allowed near the gates. But the minister abused me and asked whether the DSP was senior or the minister,” alleged Kanwaljeet. He further alleged that the minister’s driver tried to run him over and his supporters misbehaved with him. Maluka, however, got off his vehicle and walked towards the stage while his vehicle was taken to the parking area, the head constable added.
Kanwaljeet’s colleagues also gathered at the spot to extend their support to him and heckled the Minister before he walked away. Kanwaljeet, said that after the programme was over, he would report the matter to IG Bathinda Zone, SK Asthana.
The video of the incident has gone viral on social media, but when contacted, Maluka said, “I am not aware of any incident and I never had any argument with any cop. I am surprised to hear this from you. I have no idea as to why a cop is naming me.”
Punjab Congress vice-president Manpreet Badal said, “A probe needs to be ordered into this case as it was a shameful act that a minister was using foul language against a person on duty. Even the PM needs to take cognizance of this incident and order immediate exemplary action against Maluka.”
This article was first published at Indian Express