This Week Punjab: Assault and boycott

Assault and boycott

The Tarn Taran incident where a Dalit woman was beaten up by policemen rocked the Assembly's budget session last week. The Congress "brought" the victim to the assembly, and its MLAs beat up the watch and ward staff. Later in the day, they virtually took over the assembly, beating up marshals and capturing the speaker's chair. Nine MLAs were suspended for the rest of the session by the speaker the next day. Another six were booked by the Punjab police for beating up a cop. In retaliation, the Congress decided to boycott the budget session, giving a free hand to the treasury benches to carry out the business of the house uninterrupted by the opposition.

Courts slam police

The Punjab & Haryana High Court has ordered the immediate transfer of seven policemen who were involved in beating up the 21-year-old woman a fortnight ago. The court also asked the Chandigarh police to provide security to the woman and her family. Earlier the Supreme Court had taken up suo motu cognisance after television channels showed her being beaten up with a baton by cops outside a wedding venue. After the Supreme Court court pulled up the state, the government arrested two of the policemen. The high court asked the state to ensure that the SSP of Tarn Taran stays away from the victim as he was allegedly pressuring her to reach a compromise.

The state budget

Amid the opposition boycott of the assembly, finance minister Parminder Singh presented a Rs 460 crore deficit budget. The budget proposes to increase VAT on soft drinks and cigarettes and abolish the existing 5.5 per cent VAT from items used by children, senior citizens and the poor. The total budget for 2013-14 will be Rs 69,051 and the outstanding debt Rs 1,02,282 crore . Minister Dhindsa announced the launch of a Rural Rapid Police Response Service, a first of its kind in the country, which will bring police to villages within 20 minutes of a phone call. The budget also provides for "night policing" and "safe city" projects in Amritsar and

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