Two months after the murder of Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail, a woman, Baljinder Kaur, has brought him alive in a controversy by claiming to be his real sister.
She also claims to have organised his bhog ceremony attended in a gurdwara here by his siblings and close relatives only. If it is true, who was Dalbir Kaur, whom people saw as Sarabjit's sister on television and read about in newspapers as leader of the fight for his return?
Baljinder Kaur, who runs a school at New Moti Nagar here, said she wasn't after the Rs-1-crore compensation and the bhog was just for the peace of the soul of her brother, who had been on death row as foreign spy before his killing by inmates.
Why did she hold the ceremony two months after Sarabjit's death? Baljinder Kaur said the family had been briefed not to come to the bhog at Bhikhiwind village in Tarn Taran district. "I wanted to organise it for my departed brother but was under pressure, so we informed only close relatives."
"Charanjit Singh and Harbhajan Singh, real brothers of Sarabjit, were not allowed to light his pyre. People at the cremation ground pushed them back," said Baljinder Kaur. Claiming that Sarabjit was third eldest of 10 siblings, she also said Dalbir Kaur was not her sister. "She met Sarabjit in 1989 when he visited us in Janta Nagar of Ludhiana. In 1992, we came to know of his arrest in Pakistan."
"Dalbir Kaur assured us she had right links and would struggle for the release of Sarabjit on some conditions. We trusted her and let her pursue the matter, only to be pushed out of the picture," she rued. "As Dalbir took away the entire record," said Baljinder, "I have nothing to prove my relation with Sarabjit, except that I offer to undergo DNA test."
Balwinder Kaur lost elder brothers Jatinder Singh, Pupendra Singh and Ajit Singh in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Her other siblings alive are Daljit Kaur of Pooranpur in Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh; Charanjit Singh of Ludhiana; Ajit Kaur of Uchhi Basi near Dasuya in Hoshiarpur district; Taranjit Kaur of Shahgarh in Pilibhit; and Harbhajan Singh of Ludhiana.
People in New Moti Nagar discuss Sarabjit, and point out why his family remained low profile for a long time. Asked to react, Dalbir Kaur said she did not know any Baljinder Kaur. "People have been coming to the fore (after Sarabjit's death) for cheap publicity. They were nowhere when I alone struggled for his release," she said. Asked about the bhog ceremony by Baljinder Kaur, she said many people had held prayers for Sarabjit after his death. "It does not make them our siblings."
'Migrated from Mathura'
Baljinder Kaur said her father, Mehnga Singh, was bus driver. The family lived in Mathura. "Sulakhan Singh, a friend of my father, adopted Sarabjit Singh and brought him to Bhikhiwind," she said. "Sarabjit kept meeting us regularly. The family was devastated in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and, in 1987, moved to Janta Nagar in Ludhiana. Sarabjit Singh was not interested in living in Bhikhiwind and wanted to settle in Ludhiana," she added.