After planting a flag at Mount Everest base camp in December last year demanding justice for a hotelier's murder, a non-resident Indian will now climb Mount McKinley in Alaska, the highest peak in North America, for the same cause.
Vandeep Sanghera, 40, a dentist based at Chelmsford in London, said he would attempt to unfurl a flag highlighting Gurkirat Singh Sekhon's murder case by reaching the summit of the 6,194-metre-high peak by the end of August.
Discussing his plan, Sanghera said: "I will be leaving for New York from London on August 16. From there, I will head for Seattle, then to Anchorage in Alaska. From Anchorage I will travel alone to Denali National Park, which is several hundred miles away and can take a few days to reach. From there I will begin my ascent to Mount McKinley. I am confident of reaching the summit."
"I had visited the base camp of Mount Everest, 17,598 feet above sea level, with the aim of seeking justice for Sekhon, who was shot dead," Sanghera said. "This time too, I want to highlight this case."
Sanghera's parents are from Wadala in Jalandhar district. "I came to know about the murder last year through news websites and Facebook," he said. "I decided to raise the issue in a different way and planned the trip to base camp to unfurl a banner over there."
During the 17-day journey to the base camp and back, Sanghera walked 160 kilometres. "I am deeply concerned about the injustice done to the people in India and wanted to highlight the case."
Gurkirat Singh's father, Rajbir Singh Shekhon, said he did not know Sanghera before he visited the Mount Everest base camp. "After Sanghera's journey to the base camp I talked to him on the phone," Rajbir Singh said. "He told me that he got to know of Gurkirat's murder on the Facebook page 'Justice for Gurkirat Singh Sekhon' and was deeply moved. I am very thankful to him for raising the issue in a different way although he was not acquainted with our family."
Gurkirat Singh, a city hotelier was allegedly shot dead by four persons on the night of April 21 last year. The main accused in the case, Ram Simran Singh Makkar alias Prince Makkar, is the nephew of Sarabjit Singh Makkar, a Shiromani Akali Dal (B) leader and former Adampur MLA. The other three accused are Sunny Sachdeva, Prince Narula and Jasdeep Jassu.
Gurkirat Singh's murder had rocked the city and people from different quarters of society had extended support to his family, demanding immediate arrest of accused.
Following pressure from the people, the accused surrendered in court, 72 hours after the murder. Gurkirat Singh's family had blamed the authorities at Jalandhar Central Jail of meting out VIP treatment to the accused. The jail has now been shifted to Kapurthala.
The case was then shifted to Gurdaspur court as per the Punjab and Haryana high court's orders on the request of the accused. According to Rajbir Singh, six witnesses are yet to record their statements in connection with the case. The accused have been shifted to Gurdaspur jail from Kapurthala Modern Central Jail.