Cops tattoo “jeb katri” on women’s foreheads, get convicted

jeb katri case

In the 23-year-old ‘jeb katri’ tattooing case, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has pronounced the judgment and convicted the three cops involved. The case was regarding tattooing of ‘jeb katri’, Punjabi word for pickpocket, on the foreheads of four women in 1993 that had brought criticism to the Punjab Police from all over the world.

Terming the act of the accused as inhuman, special CBI judge Baljinder Singh, who wrapped up the trial in a year, on Friday awarded three-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) to the then superintendent of police Sukhdev Singh Chinna and sub-inspector Narinder Singh Malli, the then SHO of Rambagh police station, and a year’s RI to ASI Kanwaljit Singh.

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The Punjab Police had faced widespread criticism as the incident hit the headlines across the world in 1994 after cops in Amritsar tattooed ‘jeb katri’ on the foreheads of four habitual offender women, Gurdev Kaur, Parmeshri Devi, Mohinder Kaur and Jaswinder Kaur.

The National Human Rights Commission took cognisance of a press report dated January 12, 1994 and lodged proceedings under Section 12 (b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

 The victims had also filed a writ petition in the high court in 1994, praying for directions to the respondents, the government of Punjab, Amritsar superintendent of police, and others, to arrange for plastic surgery for removal of the tattoo, giving compensation for the inhuman act and humiliation and punishing the guilty cops.

On January 17, 1994, the NHRC not only approached the high court to become a party but also addressed a letter to the Punjab chief secretary, seeking a report on the matter. The NHRC had also submitted an affidavit in the court, demanding a CBI probe.

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After hearing the counsel of NHRC and petitioners, the high court not only handed over the probe to the CBI but also directed Punjab government to arrange plastic surgery of the victims and pay a compensation of `50,000 to each victim, as recommended by NHRC.

The case reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the high court. The CBI filed the challan in 2015 under Sections 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement), 346 (wrongful confinement in secret)and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.