The police have retrieved footage from five CCTV cameras and are now scouting it for proof in connection with the alleged stalking of an IAS officer's daughter by the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, even as protests over the incident continued.
Barala spoke out about the incident today, emphasising that the woman was like his daughter and that there was no pressure on the police from him or his party. He sought action in this case as per the law.
However, the outrage and opposition protests demanding justice for the 29-year-old woman continued. The INLD, Congress and CPI held protests, describing the incident as shameful and alleging that police was acting under pressure of the ruling BJP.
A purported CCTV footage clip surfaced which showed a black car seemingly being followed an SUV. However, the faces of the occupants of the vehicles or the registration numbers were not clearly visible in the 11-second long footage. The clip was aired by several news channels.
Meanwhile, the Chandigarh police said it had retrieved footage of five CCTV cameras on the route on which the woman was allegedly chased by the two men last week.
"We are analysing the CCTV footages," said Chandigarh SSP Eish Singhal.
The woman, reacting to the surfacing of CCTV footage, told reporters that "it will further strengthen my stand in this matter."
BJP leader Barala's son Vikas (23) and Ashish Kumar (27) were earlier arrested for allegedly stalking the woman. However, both were released later on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act.
Union minister Harsimrat Kaur said today that the law should be followed in the true sense. What is right according to the law should be done, regardless of whose son he is, she said adding that the law is the same for everyone.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also demanded that the Chandigarh police be given a free hand to probe the stalking case, with no attempt to pressurise them in any way.
Meanwhile, Barala said the law was following its course.
"In the present case, the proceedings are going on as per the law and whatever action under the law is needed should be taken," Barala said today.
He said that the BJP fully supports the freedom of daughters and "the woman is like my daughter".
He rubbished claims by opposition parties that the BJP was putting pressure on the police to protect his son.
"In this matter, there is no pressure either from my side or from my party's side and there will never be any pressure," Barala said.
Apart from the opposition parties, the Kundu Khap or caste council also held a protest today and blocked Rohtak- Jind road in Rohtak district of Haryana seeking action against the accused as per the law.
The INLD demanded a probe, by the CBI or by a sitting judge of the High Court, into the alleged stalking incident.
The women's wing of the INLD were stopped by the police from marching towards the Punjab Governor's residence. They, however, took out a march and burnt Barala's effigy.
The INLD also submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor, who is also the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, demanding that a "fair probe" should be allowed in the case.
The party demanded that Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala should resign on moral grounds, alleging that "till the time he will continue occupying this post, he can influence the case."
The Communist Party of India also held a protest at Panchkula, near here. Members of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), led a protest march today against the Chandigarh Police for allegedly "diluting charges against the two men accused of stalking and harassing the woman".
"The Chandigarh Police should add non-bailable sections in the FIR against the two men. The accused's father, Subhash Barala, should resign from his post as the president of BJP's Haryana unit. As his party is in power at both Centre and Haryana state, Barala has the power to influence the case and investigations," claimed Subhashini Ali, the national vice-president of AIDWA.
The All-India Mahila Congress (AIMC) also held a protest against the stalking incident. AIMC chief Shoba Oza led a delegation of party's women activists and met the Haryana Governor here.
Oza also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister through the Haryana Governor, in which the Mahila Congress claimed that the "AIMC is deeply disturbed at the dilution of criminal charges against the politically influential culprits belonging to the ruling BJP. We are pained that Chandigarh police is trying to protect Subhash Barala's son in the case".