Septuagenarians Joginder Singh (76) and his wife Gurbachan Kaur (70) have an unusual wish to fulfil before they die — to see and cremate their son. The couple’s 38-year-old son Jagtar Singh was murdered in Italy in August last year and his body is lying in a morgue in Piacenza City since as they don’t have money to bear the expenses of bringing the body home.
On January 3, the couple had approached the district administration, seeking help. They submitted an application written in Punjabi, which was forwarded to secretariat in Chandigarh. The application was sent back on January 17 with the noting that the application needed to be written in English, delaying the process further. The family submitted a new application in English and forward it to Punjab government on February 21, but there is no progress.
This correspondent met the couple at their house in Hamira village, about 25 km from Jalandhar. “Jagtar was the only breadwinner in the family. I had to take a loan of Rs 5 lakh three months back to manage daily affairs,” said the father. Jagtar went to Italy seven years ago and is survived by wife Rupinder Kaur (33), daughter Diljeet Kaur and son Sehajpreet Singh, both 9 as they are twins.
“Jagtar was killed by his brother-in-law Jagmohan Singh and his three friends in Italy on August 26, two days after he took a flight from India. I wouldn’t have let him go had I known what was in store,” Joginder said.
The family is dependent on Rs 80,000 annual income earned from the land given on rent to another villager. “I am too old to work now. I and my wife Gurbachan have to spend a lot on medicines,” he said.
He said his another son Mukhtyar Singh (35) is undergoing rehabilitation at a Kapurthala drug de-addiction centre for two months. “We also have to bear the expenses of his treatment. Life has become a hell for us,” said the couple. “We only want to see the face of Jagtar and give him a respectable adieu before we die.”
“We have forwarded the application but have not received any reply from the government so far,” said Deepti Uppal, officiating deputy commissioner.