After the district court announced the sentence for those convicted in the Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant case on Saturday, five-year-old Parneet Kaur’s wait to see her father Sarabjit outside a jail premises just got longer.
Parneet’s father Sarabjit Singh has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the district court under charges of committing murder in the Maruti Manesar factory violence in 2012.
Parneet was only two months old when the Haryana police arrested her father. Her grandfather, Avtar Singh, who was at the district court with daughter-in-law Harpreet Kaur on Saturday, said he does not know how he would disclose the news of her father’s sentence to Parneet.
Parneet was staying at her uncle’s house in the city and was not brought to the court.
Sarabjit, an engineer at the Manesar plant for seven years, was a permanent employee, Avtar said.
As per the court judgment, a few members of the workers’ union had thrashed Awanish Kumar Dev, general manager, human resources, of Maruti Suzuki in 2012. Dev was unable to flee the burning building as his legs and arms were broken and charred to death. Sarabjit was part of the workers’ union.
In Sarabjit’s absence, Avtar, a retired postman based in Kurukshetra, and Harpreet, have become the bread earners of the family. Harpreet works at a beauty parlour and Avtar sets aside a portion of his retirement savings and pension for his granddaughter’s education.
“I have enrolled Parneet in a private school and ensured that her upbringing is not compromised. Each year, I take her to meet Sarabjit at Bhondsi jail, hoping that she can form a lasting memory of him,” Avtar said.
Sarabjit’s family has now pinned their hopes on the Punjab and Haryana high court for justice and will challenge the district court’s verdict.
“The prosecution lawyers were also saying that the verdict has been harsh... I feel the high court will announce a lighter judgment that will allow Sarabjit parole and reunite with the family,” Avtar said.