Beant Singh’s grandson Harkirat Singh Kotli was killed by the 0.30-mm revolver he would always carry for protection.
Addressed by his pet name of “Neeta”, he was fond of firearms and would gather knowledge about these from the various gun dealers of Chandigarh. Modified jeeps were also his favourite. “Once at Khanna, he spotted a jeep at a police station and told me he’d like to buy that in auction and modify it,” said a friend.
Another friend said that he’d copy his late grandfather, and being elected as sarpanch of their native village, Kotli, from where his idol had entered politics in 1960 before moving on to become chief minister, had given him a lot of thrill. His grandfather’s death in bomb blast in 1995 had shattered him.
Harkirat enjoyed hanging out with friends at his house so much that he’d call them over from Chandigarh. “We’d sit and chat for entire day until it was time to hit the gymnasium or the Sukhna lake for next day’s morning exercise,” said a friend. The alumnus of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, liked being among younger people. His brother, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Congress legislator from Khanna, would get his help in political campaigning. “An emotional man, Harkirat took care of every friend. ‘I will outlive you,’ he told me two days ago,” said friend Rajinder Singh, in whose Hyundai i-20 car Harkirat roamed about in the city.