Arrest Charanjit Channi began trending on Twitter soon after the Congress party announced the name for its news chief minister for Punjab last night. Channi was accused of sending an inappropriate text to female IAS officer in 2018, due to which his name came up in the #MeToo movement. Now as he is set to be sworn in as Punjab’s next CM, this old case against him is being dug out, prompting a social media call for justice.
The 58-year-old was appointed as next CM of Punjab after Captain Amrinder Singh tendered his resignation on September 18. However, soon after he was appointed, the opposition party, pointed out an old case against Channi, also taking a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the party’s choice.
In 2018, a woman IAS officer had accused Channi of sending her an inappropriate message, however, no official complaint was filed against the politician. Reportedly, it was Singh who had intervened in the matter and resolved it. In May this year, the Women’s Commission in Punjab state took suo motu notice of the case and reopened it, also seeking a reply from the state government.
State Women’s Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati had also threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government failed to issue a clarification in the matter. “When the State Chief Secretary is a woman, a national party president is a woman then how come a woman IAS officer can’t get justice?” Gulati had also added that the commission had never received a complaint from the IAS officer who faced harassment.
Channi, in his defence, had said that the text was sent accidentally to the IASofficer. Read more on that here.
On Monday, September 20, the day Channi is expected to be sworn in as Punjab’s CM, Twitter is demanding his arrest in the Me Too related case.
Check out what Twitter has to say about the allegations and controversies surrounding Charanjit Channi:
— ऋषि राजपूत 🇮🇳 (@srishirajIND) September 20, 2021
𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯'𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦. 𝘚𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢 𝘗𝘳𝘪𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨!!!
— छत्रपाल सिंह सोलंकी 🇮🇳 ⓀⓇⓉ 100% follow back (@Rastrvadi4) September 20, 2021
Dear @priyankagandhi ji,
Should person accused of sexual harrasment to be on position of highest power?
This is nothing but Anti Women mentality & complete disrespect, disregard to women dignity.
— Vijaya Rahatkar (@VijayaRahatkar) September 20, 2021
Questions over intent behind the arrest demand
The demand to arrest Channi soon after he was nominated for the CM post raises several questions. The case against Channi is from 2018, so why was this call for action not raised before? Is the demand for arrest purely politically motivated? Do any of the people asking for action against Channi actually care for the wellbeing of the said woman IAS officer? If the call for justice can purely be motivated by political strategies, what sort of message does it send to survivors of harassment and sexual crimes?