Punjab State Women Commission Chairperson Manisha Gulati has come under attack from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the issue of a two-year-old #MeToo case against Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, who was the then Technical Education and Industrial Training Minister.
Demanding Manisha Gulati's removal, AAP MLA and Punjab Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema accused Gulati of politicising and lowering the status of the commission.
"The chairman of Punjab Women Commission has insulted the commission and her position. It is very clear that she first wanted to take action against Charanjit Singh Channi when he was a Cabinet Minister and is now speaking in his favour. I think that she has politicised and misused the commission," Harpal Singh Cheema said.
Meanwhile, Harpal Singh Cheema has appealed to the victim lady IAS officer to come forward and lodge a formal complaint against the accused.
"The law of the land should be respected. The victim in this case should come forward and lodge a formal complaint. Why is the victim silent? Why she was silenced by Captain Amarinder Singh is a matter of grave concern," Harpal Singh Cheema said.
Stop asking such questions: Manish Gulati to mediapersons
When asked if she would take action against CM Charanjit Singh Channi, Manish Gulati told mediapersons to stop asking such questions.
AAP's demand to remove Manisha Gulati comes after she refused to answer media queries on whether she would take action against Charanjit Singh Channi.
Manisha Gulati had congratulated Channi after it was announced that he would be the new Punjab chief minister. She, however, lost her cool in Patiala when journalists asked her to comment on the two-year-old #MeToo case.
"Look a new sun is rising. Let it shine. Many hopes... we will work with the government," she first said but appeared upset when asked about her action in the case.
"Fizul de sawal puchane chad do. Tusi aaj programme di gal karo (Don't ask useless questions, just talk about today's programme)," Manisha Gulati said, claiming that she will soon meet the Chief Minister.
Manisha Gulati had threatened to go on a hunger strike
On May 18, 2021, Manisha Gulati had threatened to go on an indefinite hungerstrike at Chandigarh's famous Matka Chowk if the state government failed to act on a clarification sought by her on harassment allegations levelled by a woman IAS officer against Channi by May 24.
She had also said that there was also an option to move court or approach the Congress high command in the matter. Gulati had claimed that she could even summon the victim and the accused.
In November 2018, a lady IAS officer accused Channi of harassing her by sending inappropriate text messages. However, no formal complaint was lodged in this regard. Channi later termed the attempt to re-pen the case as politically motivated to harass him.
Interestingly, the case was reopened in June this year when Charanjit Singh Channi turned Captain Amarinder Singh's adversary on various issues including the state's failure to book the people involved in sacrilege cases.
Manisha Gulati in June this year had claimed that many officers wanted her to take action in the case and she was being held guilty for not taking action.
When questioned why the case was being raked up after two years, Manisha Gulati had said that the period hardly matters and cases can be taken up even after a decade of its occurrence. Manisha Gulati had taken suo moto action and sought a clarification from chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh in this matter. She had also claimed that a reminder to this context was also sent.
On May 25, 2021, she dropped her plan to protest against the state government over the alleged #MeToo case against Channi saying that the then Chief Minister, Captain Amrinder Singh, had assured that she would soon get a reply on her notice.
Interestingly, Amarinder Singh had claimed that he had sought an apology from the minister.