Neha Sharma, the 24-year-old woman who died in police firing at a checkpoint set up after Sunday’s jailbreak at Nabha, had left studies and was the only bread-earner for her Patiala-based family.
Now residing in a newly built house in Gobind Bagh area of the city, her family was in poverty 15 years ago, when her father, a factory worker, died of cardiac arrest. Seven years later, she left school and dreams of making it big in academics or otherwise, and started performing with local dance and orchestra groups. The family was not happy initially, but soon accepted her profession. Recently, she had started getting work out of Punjab at exhibitions and malls for promotion of products.
Neelam Sharma, her mother, said, “She was the only source of income and worked hard to counter the financial hurdles after my husband’s death.” Neha was the eldest of four siblings. “My youngest son is in Class 10 and the eldest, who left school in Class 8 due to our bleak economic condition, is unemployed. The third resides with my parents,” said Neelam. Neha’s paternal grandmother also lives with the family.
Cops want ‘compromise’
Neha was killed when a policeman at a checkpoint near Dharamheri village, 25km from here near the Haryana border, opened fire at a car in which she was travelling. A bike-borne passerby was injured too. The FIR for murder was registered against an unidentified policeman at the Samana police station.
Family members now claim that police personnel and other “middlemen” are approaching them for a “compromise”. Manish Sharma, Neha's brother, said, “Since right after the incident, police officials are trying to negotiate with us. But we want a strict action.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader and Patiala-rural MLA Brahm Mohindra said the act has been done “in a suspicious manner”. “Police claim the driver tried to flee with the car, but all the bullets pierced the front windshield. We demand a high-level committee to dig out the actual facts,” he said.