The recent shooting in Ludhiana in which the victim was an Akali sarpanch and the accused his brother from Canada, is not an isolated crime back home in which Punjabi non-resident Indians (NRIs) are involved.
Apparently, property disputes and domestic violence are driving NRIs to commit heinous crimes.
Two months ago, UK-based hotelier Ranjit Singh Poar had gone missing after landing in Amritsar, and the police got clues that his friend and fellow British NRI Baldev Singh Deol had murdered him. Deol fled India as the cops were closing in on him. The murder was over stakes in property worth several crores in Jalandhar, say the police, adding that Deol threw his friend’s body into the Bhakra canal near Anandpur Sahib with the help of his driver, who is behind bars.
In the cross hairs
Punjab Police are looking for no less than 16 NRI proclaimed offenders (POs) in 10 cases of murder or attempted killing. One is registered at the Sadar police station in Rupnagar, against UK-based Ravinder Singh, who is accused of killing a man in that city with a sharp-edged weapon in December 2012.
In another case, Melbourne-based Bimal Singh is wanted for attempt to murder his wife, Inderjit Kaur, and seeking dowry. The case was registered in January 2014, at Bhagwantpur in Rupnagar district.
Three members of a family based in Miami (Florida, US) are charged with killing a woman’s brother and mother. The complainant happens to be the daughter-in-law of the accused family, and the case is registered at Tanda in Hoshiarpur district.
At Moga, three Canada-based NRIs are wanted in two separate cases. Of them, a man and his sister are on the run since August 2009 in a murder case reported at Nihalsinghwala, while Rajinder Singh of Ladhaike is wanted since July 2005 for a murder at Baghpurana.
Three members of a Germany-based family and an NRI each from the US and the UK are also wanted in different murder cases registered in the Ludhiana rural police district.
Canada-based Gurdev Singh is wanted in Faridkot for hiring his nephew to kill his pregnant wife in October 2010.
In March 2011, in Hoshiarpur, Gurdial Singh (60) of Calgary in Canada had slit his wife’s throat on the wedding day of their son. It was after an argument they had over Gurdial not inviting his in-laws.
In June 2009, another Canadian, Gurdial Singh (65) shot his wife before turning the gun on himself during their stay in Ludhiana.
“There is nothing new when we talk of domestic violence in Punjab-origin families as such killings whether an honour killing or murder for ancestral property happen in families residing in Punjab as well,” says Vancouver-based social worker Madhu Verma.
She says that now such incidents are now being liberally reported. “There is also frustration among those who find it acutely difficult to cope with the western culture, after migrating from Punjab with the same orthodox mindset,” says Madhu, a septuagenarian who heads the Asian Heritage Society in New Burnswick province and volunteers at the counselling clubs for destitute women.
Cheating, immigration fraud
In February 2005, the police discovered a racket that Canada-based Anita Kumari and her father were running, after they duped a Ludhiana man of Rs 29 lakh on the pretext of helping him fly abroad through the route of fake marriage. The victim, Paramjit Singh of Kheri village near Ludhiana paid the NRI woman for pretending to be his wife so that he could enter Canada, but she disappeared with the money. She had earlier “married” and “divorced” two other people in Punjab to make bad money the same way.
In 2007, Canada-based NRI Veerharinder Singh hired three people from Sriganganagar in Rajasthan to kill his father-in-law in Ludhiana. The police prevented the crime and arrested the men who had accepted the contract, but the NRI remains on the run. He didn’t want his father-in-law to send his wife to him. The NRI’s estranged wife had moved back to her father.
In December 2008, California-based Daljit Singh hired some men to abduct his friend-turned-foe Lakhvir Singh from Mohali during the latter’s visit to India. The abductors had to free Lakhvir within 12 hours after police got on their trail. The cops arrested them eventually.
In December 2014, an NRI groom and his family from Australia were booked for demanding Rs 2 crore as dowry on the day of the marriage in Ludhiana. The bride’s mother made the complaint.