Punjab: Minor girls flee home to meet Lawrence Bishnoi; detained
Two minor girls were detained while clicking selfies outside Bathinda jail in Punjab after they left their homes in Delhi to meet gangster Lawrence Bishnoi on the pretext of a school trip to Amritsar's Golden Temple. Bishnoi is an accused in the murder case of Punjabi rapper-singer and Congress leader, Sidhu Moose Wala, and is currently lodged in the aforementioned prison.
Why does this story matter?
- Bishnoi's interview with ABP Sanjha has stoked controversy as Punjab Police has come under the scanner for allegedly facilitating his media interaction. It raises questions about his access to the outside world and his capacity to operate a gang from jail.
- Sikh groups claimed the interview tries to portray Bishnoi as a nationalist in order to pit his supporters against proponents of Khalistan movement.
The girls said they were influenced by Bishnoi's interview
Ravneet Kaur Sidhu, Bathinda's Child Protection Officer, stated that the girls were reportedly influenced by Bishnoi after watching his interview and wanted to share their selfies with their friends. Sidhu added that the girls took a train to Bathinda and spent the night at the railway station. They were detained by the jail administration and turned over to the district child protection department.
Bishnoi was earlier rumored to be supporting Khalistan movement
Girls' family members summoned
Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gurpreet Singh stated that the girls' family members have been summoned, and the girls have been transported to the Safi Center after a medical examination. He said the matter is being probed and legal action will be initiated if anything comes up in the investigation. The incident reportedly took place on Sunday, as per Dainik Jagran.
NIA arrested Bishnoi under UAPA
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Bishnoi in November 2022 in connection with a case of an alleged conspiracy to recruit people for carrying out terror attacks in Delhi and other parts of the country. He is charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Punjab, Rajasthan Police point fingers at each other
The Punjab Police have categorically denied that the interview was shot inside Bathinda jail, claiming it was not recorded in any jail in Punjab. Last month, Rajasthan Police took Bishnoi away for questioning, raising suspicions that the interview was filmed there. Punjab and Rajasthan Police have been pointing fingers at each other since Bishnoi hasn't been anywhere else in the last couple of months.
Tussle between Congress and AAP government
Separately, the Congress—incumbent in Rajasthan—has accused the Aam Aadmi Party-led (AAP) Punjab government of facilitating Bishnoi's interview to defame Moose Wala ahead of his first death anniversary. With support from Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa, Moose Wala's parents are protesting near the entrance of the Punjab Assembly, demanding an inquiry into their son's murder by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).