Family of ‘survivor’ says no contact with him for 20 days

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Laroi (Jalandhar)
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2016 21:15 IST
Gurpreet Kaur, wife of Gurwinder, one of the youths feared dead in the Panama boat tragedy, showing his photograph with her children in Tandi Aulakh village in Kapurthala village on Monday. (Pradeep Pandit/HT Photo)

There is an eerie silence in this village, about 30 km from Jalandhar city, whose resident Jaswinder Singh Sonu, 28, has reportedly claimed that he survived the Panama boat tragedy in which at least 20 Punjabi youths are feared drowned.

Though the families of two Kapurthala youths, who are presumed to be among the victims, claim that an elder from Sonu’s family told them about the tragedy, there is no confirmation from his family.

When the HT team visited Sonu’s house, his wife Raju Kaur said, “My husband has not made any call to us in the past more than 20 days. I don’t know who is saying that he witnessed the tragedy. Please leave us alone and don’t compel us to share anything with you. We are not even sure if he is dead or alive. We are equally disturbed.”

Later, when other mediapersons reached Sonu’s house, it was found locked.

As per villagers, Sonu had left for the US about a month ago after attending a relative’s marriage here.

They said he was working in a local cable network at Bhogpur, near here, and had gone abroad thrice in the past six months for job purposes.

“A few days before he left for the US, I asked Sonu why he used to come back so soon. He replied that there were visa issues,” a village resident said.

Kapurthala youth Gurdeep Singh’s father Balwinder Singh told HT that an elderly man from Sonu’s family visited them on Sunday morning, claiming that Gurdeep and Gurwinder Singh were feared dead in a boat tragedy on January 10 along with other youths. Sonu reportedly made this call on January 12.

Jalandhar zone inspector general (IG) Arpit Shukla said, “We have not received any complaint about missing youths from other parts of the state so far. Information about these youths will be available only after we contact the US agencies through the ministry of external affairs.”

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