Bombeli set to keep date with Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan
Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan’s native village, 15 km from here, is agog with excitement on the eve of his visit. Notwithstanding the controversy generated with Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh calling him “a Khalistani sympathiser”, the villagers are gearing up to accord a rousing welcome to the visiting dignitary.punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:26 IST
Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan’s native village, 15 km from here, is agog with excitement on the eve of his visit. Notwithstanding the controversy generated with Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh calling him “a Khalistani sympathiser”, the villagers are gearing up to accord a rousing welcome to the visiting dignitary.
Though Sajjan’s father Kundan Singh visits their native village every two years, local residents have been eagerly awaiting Harjit’s trip back home. The moment has finally arrived and the son of the soil is expected to visit his home and meet his childhood acquaintances on Thursday evening.
“People are so enthusiastic that they have voluntarily owned responsibility to make the occasion memorable,” says former sarpanch Sukhdev Singh, who is closely associated with the Sajjan family. “The family may have migrated to Canada decades ago but it has never lost touch with its roots. Harjit’s parents come here almost every year,” he said.
Sarpanch Paramjit Singh said that the felicitation programme will be non-political. “He is coming here as a son of the village and the entire village will unitedly welcome him,” he said.
The recently renovated house of the Sajjans is also being readied. Streets are being cleaned. Large welcome hoardings have been put up all around. A brass band and flowers have been ordered for a grand reception. Laddoos and other sweets have been also been ordered for the gathering.
The village youth club and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee are preparing to honour him.
People from adjoining villages have also started arriving to catch a glimpse of the preparations.
Vijay Bambeli, a local resident, said native women married in far-off places are also coming for the occasion. “There is so much excitement that everyone who has known Harjit in his childhood days will be here. We are organising the function in a field adjoining the community centre where he used to play,” he said.
“What he has achieved is no mean feat. He has made every villager proud,” said Inderjit Singh, president of Star Youth Club that is working enthusiastically to make the event memorable.
Two security personnel were deployed outside the Sajjan house though the minister’s parents and sister were in Delhi to meet him.
This is Sajjan’s third trip to his native village. The last time he visited Bombeli was in 2001. He migrated to Canada with his parents when he was five years old.
Sajjan joined the Canadian armed forces and became the first Sikh to take command of a British Columbia regiment. He is a recipient of the Order of Military Merit. Before joining the army, he was a police detective.