Dalit's family ends protest after Pb govt offers Rs 20 lakh, govt job

Chandigarh, Nov 18 (PTI) The family of a Dalit man, who was forced to drink urine and died after being mercilessly thrashed, ended its protest on Monday after the Punjab government offered Rs 20 lakh compensation, a government job to his wife and free education to his three children.

The state government also announced a probe into the case by an additional director general of police rank officer, besides ensuring filling of challan against the four accused in court within seven days, an official spokesperson said in a release here.

The ADGP has also been mandated to probe lapses by officers, if any, to fix accountability. All efforts would be made to ensure stringent punishment for the culprits within three months, the spokesperson said.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta deputed Additional Director General of Police Gurpreet Deo to undertake the inquiry and submit a list of recommendations to prevent unfortunate delays in the future in filing the case.

The DGP said the inquiry officer's responsibility should also be fixed to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the erring officers.

Sandeep Sandhu, the political secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, including Rs 8.25 lakh under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, will be given to the next of kin of the 37-year-old man who was killed earlier this month.

He said out of Rs 20 lakh, Rs six lakh would be given on the day when the post-mortem of the body would be conducted and remaining sum during the 'bhog' (post death ritual) ceremony of the victim.

As per a written agreement between the victim's family and the state government, the wife of Jagmel Singh, Manjit Kaur, would be given a group-D job near her residence, giving relaxation in the prescribed educational qualification.

The government would bear the entire expenditure for the 'bhog' of the deceased. It would also provide free education to Jagmel Singh's children up to graduation level, said Sandhu.

His children are currently studying in in class nine, class six and one.

Sandhu said that the government would pay an additional Rs 1.25 lakh for the repair of their house and also give free ration to the family for six months.

The agreement was reached after the representatives of the state government including three ministers -- Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Vijay Inder Singla -- met Sandeep Sandhu, the political secretary to the Punjab chief minister. The meeting lasted for two hours.

Earlier, the family of Jagmel Singh had refused both -- to take his body and allow postmortem -- till their demand of Rs 50 lakh compensation and a government job for his wife were met.

Along with members of several Dalit organisations, they were protesting at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) campus, where Jagmel Singh's body was lying in the mortuary.

The agreement came as a big relief for the Amarinder Singh-led government as opposition parties were targeting it over his death.

After his death on November 16 at the PGIMER here, protests had erupted in the state in which activists of some Dalit outfits, social and farmers' organisations had participated.

Aam Aadmi Party MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann raised the issue of the man's death on the first day of Parliament's Winter Session in Delhi on Monday.

Activists of several organisations also staged a protest outside senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal's house at Lehra in Sangrur district.

Jagmel Singh, who was badly thrashed and forced to drink urine in Sangrur district, had succumbed to his injuries on Saturday morning at the PGIMER here. His legs had to be amputated by doctors because of infection during the treatment.

On October 21, the victim, who was a resident of Changaliwala village, had entered into an altercation with Rinku and some other people over some issue. The matter was resolved with the intervention of villagers, the police said.

Jagmel Singh later told the police that Rinku called him to his house on November 7 to talk about the issue. He had alleged that he was thrashed by four people with a stick and an iron rod after being tied to a pillar, and was forced to drink urine when he asked for water.

The police had said that the accused had claimed that the victim was abusing them.

Rinku, Amarjit, Yadwinder and Binder were arrested on charges of abduction, wrongful confinement, and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act at the Lehra police station, the police said.

Amarinder Singh, who is currently abroad, termed the incident a grave crime that will not go unpunished.

He had on Sunday directed the chief secretary and the director general of police to ensure a speedy and time-bound investigation and trial. PTI CHS VSD AAR