As Punjab rebel crisis deepens, #MeToo case resurfaces

Punjab rebel crisis deepens, #MeToo case against minister Charanjit Singh Channi resurfaces

A three-year-old #MeToo case has resurfaced against Charanjit Singh Channi

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Credit: PTI Photo

As "old cases" and enquiries come up against critics of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the Punjab government faces a revolt.

Many ministers have been vocal about their criticism for the government and its inaction in 2015 when Sikh religious text Guru Granth Sahib was desecrated, and police personnel open-fired during peaceful protests. 

A three-year-old #MeToo case has resurfaced against Punjab minister Charanjit Singh Channi. According to this case, in 2018, he had sent inappropriate texts to a female IAS officer. However, the complaint was never filed, and Amarinder Singh claimed that the issue had been resolved. Earlier this week, however, the Punjab Women's Commission sent a notice to the state government, asking for a response to this allegation.

Also Read | Congress MLA Pargat Singh accuses Punjab CM's political advisor of threatening him

The chief of the women's panel, Manisha Gulati, says the victim has been transferred outside Punjab and she wants to ensure justice for the victim. Gulati also said she would go for a sit-in protest if the government does not respond within a week. 

"The victim has now got herself transferred outside Punjab. IAS officers are pressuring me to take action. So, I have sent notice to the Punjab government. When the state Chief Secretary is a woman, the national party president is a woman, then how come a woman IAS officer can't get justice? If the government doesn't respond within a week, I will go for a sit-in protest," Ms Gulati told NDTV.

Former hockey captain and Congress MLA Pargat Singh accused Amarinder Singh of threatening him. He said  the Chief Minister's political secretary Captain Sandeep Sandhu warned him about being ready to face action. "Being a former captain of the Indian hockey team, I was shocked to have got such a message. But if speaking the truth on sacrilege and police firing cases is not acceptable, let them do whatever they want," the MLA said.

Pargat Singh is seen as an ally of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who last week took to Twitter to speak about the 2015 incidents. 

All three leaders had, last week, attended a meeting of MLAs and ministers upset with the chief minister. Others in the meeting included Sukhjinder Randhawa and Partap Bajwa.

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