In a dramatic set of events, an ex-serviceman, identified as Rajinder Singh, accused a BJP MLA in Jammu’s RS Pura, Gagan Bhagat, of abducting his daughter on Sunday.
The video of the girl’s father making a passionate plea for help while launching a tirade against Bhagat has gone viral on social media platforms. While the father identifies himself as a current jawan of the Indian Army, news agency PTI said he was an ex-serviceman.
Singh, along with his father and several neighbours from RS Pura constituency, had staged a protest outside the Press Club in Jammu, claiming that his daughter who was pursuing her studies at a college in Punjab had been abducted by their local BJP MLA Bhagat.
“My daughter is studying in Punjab. I visited her on 21 June to take her home in view of the summer vacation but came to know that she was already taken by the MLA on 8 March without informing us,” said Singh, a resident of Kalyana village of RS Pura.
Bhagat, for his part, has termed the allegation as an attempt to defame him, while the girl appeared before a select group of media persons on Sunday, hours after her father levelled the charges, and refuted the allegation of her being kidnapped by Bhagat. She defended Bhagat saying he was a good person and she was living with a friend. Several photos of the girl with the BJP MLA have surfaced on social media platforms. These photos appear to suggest that both the girl and the MLA, despite huge age difference between the two, enjoy close friendship, raising question of immorality.
The girl claimed that she was facing “death threat” from her family who wanted to marry her to a person against her wishes, reported PTI.
“I am before you and nobody kidnapped me. The allegations are fake. He (MLA) is a very good person. My family are supporters of PDP and may be that is the reason… They are forcing me to marry someone who has not even cleared his 12th class while as I am doing BAMS,” she said.
Responding to the questions, the girl said that she was in regular touch with her family and even talked to them in the morning before they staged the protest.
“I am studying outside the state and even my family members used to visit me in college. I visited my home last time in the winter holidays,” she said.
Earlier, Senior Superintendent of Police (Jammu) Vivek Gupta said no formal complaint was lodged so far in this case and once a complaint is filed, we will take appropriate action.
Reacting to the claim, Bhagat said that the allegations were baseless and motivated, aimed at defaming his public image.
“These are baseless allegations. Going to the media, instead of reporting to the police, was aimed at defaming me,” Bhagat told reporters at a hurriedly convened press conference late on evening.
The RS Pura MLA said that if the allegations were proved right, he will resign as a legislator. Bhagat said the girl had probably not come home due to some pressure and I am sure the truth will prevail.
Admitting contact with the girl, he said that being a public representative, it was his duty to reach out to the ‘people of my constituency.’