‘Fighting case against dera head is like fighting a mountain’: Kin of murder victim
He was allegedly shot dead at 4 pm on July 10, 2002, in his fields, as he was exposing how the dera head was allegedly exploiting women, including one of Ranjit’s relatives, inside the sect headquarters in Sirsa.Updated: Aug 24, 2017 23:10 IST
Right on National Highway 1 in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district lies a village enveloped in an eerie air of uneasiness. A guarded house is at its entrance. This is where the joint family once headed by Joginder Singh, whose only son Ranjit Singh was shot dead allegedly by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh 15 years ago, lives.
He was allegedly shot dead at 4 pm on July 10, 2002, in his fields, as he was exposing how the dera head was allegedly exploiting women, including one of Ranjit’s relatives, inside the sect headquarters in Sirsa.
The family has since been shouldering struggle which the family members likened to fighting a “pahaad” (mountain). They not only lodged police complaints against the dera head but had to move one court after another to have the case move forward.
“Saari duniya hamein kehti thi, ‘kyun pahaad se lad rahe ho?’, par babaji (Ranjit’s father) hamesha kehte the, ‘maine bete ki arthi uthai hai, main kaise ye ladai chhod dun’,” Ranjit’s brother-in-law Prabhu Dayal says, meaning Joginder continued the fight despite people asking him why he was fighting a mountain.
Other family members nod in unison with anger simmering in their eyes while he adds, “Hum ladte rahe aur baki sab uparwale pe chhod diya,” meaning that the family continued the struggle leaving all on to the Almighty.
Joginder died at 75 last year, still in hope that the family will someday get justice for his son and daughter.
Other family members recall how dera supporters tried all pressures, including money and intimidation, for withdrawal of complaints but the family unitedly withstood the threats. “They would come armed in the courtroom. I’d tell them they could eat us alive if they wanted,” said another family member who did want to be named.
Though the family is highly guarded — about a dozen cops at home in the village as well at some kin’s house in Kurukshetra — Dayal has been critical of that too. “They have done their official duty, but we take care of their meals and other facilities day in and day out,” he says, adding that it was he who asked the police to cut the security. “We have left everything to God as it is He who is responsible for whatever happens to us. We live with this conviction and will die with it,” adds Dayal.
Other villagers refused to talk to HT, saying that aside from the security cover, the lane to the village and the house as well as the surroundings are under CCTV camera surveillance.