Chandigarh, May 2: At a time when the family of the Moga bus incident victim is pleading for justice, an insensitive statement came from Punjab Education Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra who claimed that the death of 14-year-old girl was 'god's will'.
"Death of girl is god's will. We also travel everyday, we do not know what will happen," Rakhra was quoted as saying.
A minor girl died after she and her mother were shoved off a moving bus, owned by Punjab's ruling Badal family, for resisting molestation on Wednesday.
The relatives of the girl have refused to perform her last rites, two days after the incident, rejecting government compensation and demanding action against the owners of the vehicle.
The incident has provoked public outrage with opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, besides farmers and rights groups taking to streets in Punjab and Delhi.
All attempts by the state authorities to persuade the bereaved family to cremate her proved futile when it rejected a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, a government job for her mother, who too was molested and pushed out of the bus, her free treatment and holding trial of the case in a fast track court.
The family is insisting that the owners of the bus, Orbit Aviation, be booked in connection with the offence and its road permits be cancelled, a demand vociferously supported by AAP.
A team of civil and police officials including DIG AS Chahal, SSP JS Khehra and Deputy Commissioner Parminder Singh Gill tried to convince the family of the deceased but in vain.
The teenager's father Sukhdev Singh, joined by some local residents, participated in the talks.
Earlier on Friday, Congress and AAP joined the agitating family and activists staging a protest in front of the Moga civil hospital where the injured mother of the deceased is undergoing treatment.
The body of the girl is also lying in the mortuary there. Though TV channels showed a letter purported to be carrying the thumb impression of the deceased's father endorsing the action taken by the police so far, the family was not ready to perform the last rites till the time the owners of the bus were booked.
Sukhdev Singh later told TV channels he had put the thumb impression without being explained the contents of the document.
AAP Lok Sabha member from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann, who led his party's protest dharna outside the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Baghapurana with around 500 others, demanded questioning of the owners of Orbit Aviation.
He said when officials of Uber taxi service could be questioned in connection with the alleged rape by a cab driver, why can't the owners of Orbit Aviation be interrogated.
Leading the protest at Baghapurana police station, Punjab Congress Chief Partap Singh Bajwa demanded the cancellation of bus permits given to Orbit Aviation throughout the state.
"This incident clearly shows that there is no law and order in the state. There is lawlessness and anarchy," Bajwa alleged while demanding cancellation of bus permit to Orbit Aviation.
(With inputs from agencies)