The dreams of a poverty-ridden family to live a comfortable life by sending their unmarried son, Lakhwinder Singh Lakhi (23), abroad were shattered when they heard the news of his death in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.
Lakhi was on duty in a provision store adjoining a petrol pump on Sunday, when he was gunned down by an unidentified man with a dark complexion. He succumbed to his injuries the next day.
Lakhi’s cousin, Rachpal Singh said, “We came to know about Lakhi’s death when Heera Singh and Charanjit Singh of our village living in Brussels informed us over the phone.”
Vinod Ashwini Saxena, counsellor (Consular and Diaspora), Embassy of India in Belgium, in an email to HT said, “We are in touch with the local communities and the officials here and have assured them that the body will be sent to India as soon as possible.”
The expenditure for airlifting the mortal remains to India will be meted out by the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), established by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
“We went to sub divisional magistrate Amandeep Bansal, who advised us to contact the police who said the report could not be lodged in India as the incident had happened abroad. We don’t know what to do and where to go. We want Lakhi’s body immediately,” said Lakhi’s father, Avtar Singh.
Senior superintendent of police, OS Ghuman said, “Since the area of incidence is not here in India, we cannot investigate the matter. So the lodging of DDR would not serve any useful purpose.”
Avtar Singh said, “Poverty has snatched our son from us. We had sent him after selling our small piece of land and taking a loan. With his hard work of two years in Belgium, we were barely able to repay the high loan amounts here.”
Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said, “This is a tragic incident. I will visit the family and put all my efforts for the early arrival of the body here.”