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Bikram Majithia (left) and other SAD MLAs walk out of the Assembly hall on second day of Punjab Budget session, on Wednesday. (Express photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

The Ludhiana gang rape incident and the police lathicharge on protesting teachers in Patiala rocked the Punjab Assembly Wednesday with the opposition alleging that the law and order situation in the state had deteriorated under the Congress government.

The issue was raised by Aam Admi Party member Sarabjit Kaur Manuke during the Zero Hour. She alleged that crime against women had been rising in the state.

Intervening in the matter, Dakha MLA H S Phoolka drew the attention of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, asking him to adopt zero tolerance towards such a heinous crime.

The Shiromani Akali Dal members, meanwhile, alleged that the law and order situation had deteriorated in Punjab under the present government.

A 21-year-old woman was raped allegedly by 10 men near Issewal village on the banks of Sidwan canal, about 15 km from Ludhiana on Saturday, after the car she was travelling in with her friend was stopped and she was dragged out. Sensing the mood of the opposition, the Chief Minister said that he will personally speak to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a fast track court to bring the accused to justice.

Amarinder said that three of the six accused in the case have been arrested and the remaining will be nabbed soon. He also said that the law and order situation in the state has remained “excellent” over the past two years of his government. Amarinder said he was ready for a debate in the House on the law and order situation.

Phoolka, the Dakha legislator, said, “Many such incidents have taken place in that area in the recent past in Ludhiana. The CM should show zero tolerance towards the errant police officials who did not respond in time. They (such police officials) should be dismissed from service”.

Lok Insaaf Party’s Simarjit Singh Bains said that the law and order situation in the state was in tatters. “The CM is also the Home Minister. My advice to him is that he should appoint someone else as the Home Minister. The Punjab Police is good enough to only beat teachers who protest for their rights. The reason why the area where the rape took place has poor police presence is because officials there take bribes,” he said.

Accusing the Congress government of emulating the Akalis when they were in power, AAP’s Kultar Singh Sandhwan said, “Our sisters and daughters were thrashed by the Punjab Police on the roads. Give them justice. The policemen should be dismissed from service. People are asking where is that Chief Minister of 2002-2007”.

Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu said that the CM must make a statement on the assault on teachers. “34 organisations of teachers are protesting in the state. The teachers of the state are very agitated. The CM must make a statement on it like he has done on the Ludhiana gang rape,” he said.

However, the CM did not say anything on the teacher’s issue.

SAD MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa protested after his adjournment motion on the assault on teachers was not allowed by the Speaker. SAD-BJP members later gathered in the well of the House and raised slogans against the government before staging a walkout. AAP MLAs too, later, walked out of the House protesting against the worsening law and order in state.