First anniversary of Pulwama terror attack: Year on, kin say promises remain on paper
Four CRPF personnel from Punjab were among the 40 men who were killed in Pulwama after a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber attacked their convoy on February 14 last year. HT visits the families who are trying to cope with the loss of their dear ones
SUKHJINDER SINGH’S FAMILY AWAITS RELIEF, DEBT WAIVER
Family members of head constable Sukhjinder Singh, 32, who was among the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel killed in the terror attack in Pulwama district of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on February 14 last year, are awaiting compensation and loan waiver announced by the Punjab government.
Sukhjinder’s widow Sarabjit Kaur, 28, said has been offered a job of a peon by the Punjab government, but she is not willing to accept it.
Sukhjinder, who joined the CRPF in 2003, was due to retire in 2022 and had planned to settle in Canada with his wife and son.
The family will commemorate his first death anniversary at a gurdwara in his native Gandiwind village falling under Patti sub-division on Friday.
“The government has forgotten his sacrifice,” said Sukhjinder’s 60-year-old father Gurmej Singh. “The government promised ₹12 lakh compensation and a Punjab minister gave us a cheque for ₹5 lakh to us soon after my son’s death. But, we are still waiting for the remaining amount,” he added.
“The government also promised to waive ₹2.5 lakh farm loan, but nothing has been done so far,” said Sukhjinder’s elder brother Gurjant Singh.
MOGA HERO’S SON WANTS TO DON STARS ON HIS SHOULDERS
Gurparkash, the six-year-old son of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) head constable Jaimal Singh, who was killed in the Pulwama terror attack last year, is waiting for his father to return.
Jaimal, 44, who belonged to Ghalauti village in Moga district, joined the CRPF in 1993 and visited the family on January 28, 2019, last time. He was driving the CRPF bus that was blown up by terrorists. His wife Sukhjit Kaur said they were blessed with a son 16 years after their marriage. “As Jaimal couldn’t study in a good school, he wanted his son to get the best of education,” she said.
Gurprakash wants to fulfil his father’s dream and become an officer. “He is studying in Class 1 at a private school in Panchkula and the principal has promised to provide free education to him till Class 12. His dream of donning stars on his shoulders,” said Sukhjit.
Recalling her last conversation with Jaimal, Sukhjit said: “He told me that he was filling in for another driver who was on leave for his son’s wedding. He said he will call back. That call never came,” she said.
The government promised monetary aid of ₹12 lakh to the family, but has only given ₹7 lakh to date.
—Parteek Singh Mahal
FAMILY AWAITS STATE GOVT JOB FOR SLAIN CONSTABLE’S YOUNGER BROTHER
The family of constable Maninder Singh (30), who was among the 44 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) killed in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 last year, is disappointed over non-fulfilment of the promises made to them by the state government.
At the time of the bhog ceremony, Maninder’s father Satpal Atari had demanded that his younger son Lakhvish, who was also in the CRPF, be given a government job in Punjab so that the latter could look after him as he lives alone at his Dinanagar house.
Maninder was deployed with the CRPF’s 75 battalion at Lal Chowk in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar.
Dinanagar MLA and state social security, women and child development minister Aruna Chaudhary had promised to get his demand fulfilled, Atari said. Cooperation and jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar were also present at the function, he added.
Lakhvish (26) said after the death of his elder brother, he was transferred from the 152 battalion of CRPF in Assam to the 13 battalion in Fategarh Sahib. “After Maninder’s death, my father, who retired as an inspector from the Punjab roadways, went into depression and fell ill seriously. I resigned from the CRPF in July 2019 in the hope that the state government will give me a job in the Punjab Police and deploy me in the nearby area,” he said.
“I along with my father visited the chief minister’s office thrice, but we were not allowed to meet Capt Amarinder Singh. The CM’s personal secretary informed us that my case was under consideration. Also, the Punjab director general of police (DGP) sent me a letter saying it is the CRPF which will do the needful,” he added.
Satpal Atari said his wife died 10 years ago and his all the three daughters are married off and live with their in-laws.
The state government had also announced at Maninder’s bhog ceremony Singh that the Government Senior Secondary School, Dinanagar will be renamed after the slain constable, but the promise remains unfulfilled, Lakhvish claimed.
—Kamaljit Singh Kamal
RUPNAGAR CONSTABLE’S PARENTS FIGHTING A LONELY BATTLE
Life has been one long, lonely battle for parents of CRPF constable Kulwinder Singh, 26, of Rauli village near Nurpur Bedi in the district. Kulwinder was the only son of Darshan Singh and Amarjit Kaur and loneliness is what has come to define their lives since the attack. An occasional visit from relatives in the village brings them some respite from the grief.
The state government fulfilled some promises it made like providing them a monthly pension of ₹10,000 and naming the Government Middle School of the village after Kulwinder.Other promises remain unmet.
A still inconsolable Darshan says, “The government has not constructed a gate and a 18-foot wide road from our village to Mothapir in the memory of my son. We have also not been given free electricity as promised.” The proud father also resents being made to stand in queues in government offices. Deputy commissioner Sonali Giri said that demand for the construction of a gate and a 18-foot wide road in the memory of Kulwinder would be met soon. “Necessary approvals for this are in place,” she said, adding that a cheque of ₹2.5 lakh had been given to Darshan for the development of a playground in the memory of his son.
— Bahadurjeet Singh