A video showing Indian police brutally beating a young woman in public has sparked outrage across the Punjab state.
In the footage above, four cops appear to be using sticks to hit Harbinder Kaur and her father in the middle of a street in Tarn Taran. According to the Indo-Asian News Service, the incident occurred on Sunday after the woman had complained to the officers that she had been sexually harassed by a group of taxi drivers. The video has been televised across the country, leading to criticism of the Punjabi police force and the state in which such actions often go unpunished.
"This is police brutality. There is no law and order in Punjab," Congress leader Sunil Jakhad told OneIndia News, stressing that this is not an "uncommon instance."
The BBC reported on Tuesday that two policemen were suspended after a departmental inquiry was ordered. On Wednesday, however, the official report cleared the cops of any wrongdoing, blaming Kaur for failing to report the harassment and instigating the scene.
"Harbinder Kaur abused the police in spite of the fact that her parents were present on the spot to take up her cause, if any," the report says, via the Times of India. The statement also bizarrely praised "the role of the police for [defusing] the situation."
According to the Pioneer, the Director General of Police -- who admitted he hadn't actually viewed the footage of the incident -- apologized for the beating, while refusing to accept responsibility.
"When Police tried to take victim’s drunken father into custody, she protested and used abusive language against the police officials which resulted in cops' retaliation," Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini said, via the Pioneer.
The public nature of this encounter marks a new low for the Punjabi police department, which is often accused of excessive violence, but rarely commits these acts in such an open manner.
[W]hen humans are beaten up with such pitiless ferocity, the entire country save the media – which too is somewhat accepting of the outrage – sadly remains more or less mute. It has been the practice to gulp it down as just one of those things police always do.
Normally, the police beat up people routinely but inside the premises of the police station which also explains the custodial deaths; such death occur because of extreme violence done to the persons. That they dared to in public was an exhibition of some cheek.
Refusing to stay quiet despite the lack of state support, Kaur is taking her fight to the media.
"The policemen threatened to take me to the police station, where I would be badly assaulted by them, and asked me to keep quiet," she told OneIndia News. "I will not budge. I will not succumb to any pressure. I will fight for justice."