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Gurdaspur: Bhagwanpuria’s mother calls the shots in panchayat at his village

Villagers say the gangster’s family has always supported the poor and needy
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Anil Sharma, Bhagwanpur (batala)
PUBLISHED ON NOV 30, 2019 11:50 PM IST

Dreaded gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria’s mother Harjit Kaur, 50, calls the shots in the panchayat at his village Bhagwanpur in Dera Baba Nanak subdivision of Gurdaspur district.

According to villagers, though Harjit is just a member of the panchayat, she controls the Congress-backed panchayat as sarpanch Balwinder Kaur was elected unanimously at her behest after the seat was reserved for scheduled caste (SC) woman in December 2018.

Earlier, Bhagwanpuria’s mother had been supporting Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-backed panchayat in the village when the party was in power in state for ten years, they said.

Bhagwanpuria has been lodged in Patiala central jail since 2015.

The residents of the village are all praise for Bhagwanpuria, 27, saying his family always supports the poor and the needy. They also claim that it is because of him that no one dares to commit any crime in Bhagwanpur and its adjoining villages.

Gangster’s father Sawinder Singh, who was a transporter, died in 2004 when Jaggu was merely 12-year-old. His grandfather Mangal Singh was a constable in Punjab Police.

His home is at the centre of the village, with a population of around 2,000 people, where one can reach either on foot or by using two wheelers due to narrow lanes. Jaggu’s elder brother Mannu has been living in Australia for the past 12 years.

Villagers claim Jaggu and his family are very supportive. From aiding poor students to helping those who need emergency health services, Jaggu’s family is always available, they add.

Some of them claimed various political leaders used Jaggu for their personal gains, but he never did anything wrong to a common man.

Jaggu’s mother, however, avoided talking to HT. She refused to make any comment on the ongoing war of words between Shiromani Akal Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia and Punjab jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa over Bhagwanpuria. Majithia has been alleging that Randhawa was patronising the gangster who has been running an extortion racket from jail. Randhawa, however, hit back by saying Majithia is the “kingpin of gangsters and drugs”. Randhawa also said that a total of 44 cases had been registered against Bhagwanpuria, of which 29 were lodged in Majithia’s constituency.

“How can a man lodged in a high-security jail run any racket? It is all being said just to gain political mileage. The government and opposition are using Jaggu for their own interests only,” said 80-year-old Santokh Singh, who makes wooden baskets.

“Before Jaggu was arrested, he used to say if anyone is found teasing any girl in Bhagwanpur and its adjoining villages, he would face dire consequences. He was forced by the police to become a gangster as they lodged false cases against him even when he was a minor,” he said.

Sawinder Singh, 70, another villager, said, “Jaggu’s elder brother had given a car to his mother. The car can be used by anyone in the village who needs it during health-related emergency.”

“Our village has not got any funds from the government for the past many years. But Jaggu’s mother, with the help of his Australian-based son, has been developing the village,” said 65-year-old Inderjit Singh.

The government middle school has also been receiving regular aid from Jaggu’s family. “Besides distributing uniforms, school bags and books to the needy students, the family also supports some children to pay their fees. Recently, an LED screen was donated by the family,” said school head teacher Rajwant Kaur.

“Though Jaggu is a criminal, but he is also a hero for us for his good deeds. His mother has been doing selfless service in the village,” said village nambardar Manjit Singh.

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