Think of India as one big family: Brave Punjab Sub Inspector Harjeet Singh

Updated on Apr 29, 2020 11:27 PM IST

The police officer whose hand was chopped off with a sword by Nihangs is slowly recovering. He appeals to everyone to stand by Covid-19 warriors

Singh is thankful for all the love and blessings that he has received from across India
Singh is thankful for all the love and blessings that he has received from across India
Hindustan Times | ByShara Ashraf Prayag

The blessings that we earn protect us mysteriously as a shield in the face of peril. It’s all about karma, firmly believes Harjeet Singh, known for his compassion and humility in his entire neighbourhood. Two days after his surgery to reimplant his severed hand, Singh shared an incident with his younger brother Gurjit Singh. It’s the kind words of an old woman that protected him in the face of the savage attack, he said thoughtfully. “It could have been much worse. At the same spot where my hand was cut, I had handed over vegetables to mata ji. She had given me a lot of blessings,” he said.

The fearless policeman from Punjab, Harjeet Singh is slowly recovering from the brutal attack he suffered earlier this month. Singh has been promoted to the rank of SI in recognition of his bravery and he hopes to resume duty as soon as he feels better. A group of fugitives in Patiala had chopped off his hand with a sword while he was on early morning duty, enforcing the lockdown at the Patiala sabzi mandi to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The Punjab policeman had his hand reimplanted at PGIMER Chandigarh after a challenging 7.5 hour long plastic surgery.

With a lathi in his hand, Singh had fearlessly faced his attackers till the time they struck him with a sword, and he fell on the ground.

Talking to us on phone from the hospital, he tells us he is feeling much better and stronger. “It’s all almighty’s grace. I am grateful to God for all his kindness,” says the 48-year-old. Humble and soft-spoken, Singh is thankful for all the love and blessings that he has received from across India. The policeman says it’s Gurbani (teachings of the Sikh gurus) that have always given him strength to face any adversity. “Kare karave aape aap manas ke kich naahi hath…It’s God who is the doer….we human being have nothing in our hands. No harm can ever come your way if you have Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s blessings. I am a very small person…it’s Baba Nanak who gives us the strength to carry on,” says Singh, who remained composed and collected even as he faced a violent and brutal attack while performing his duty. He did not show any sign of anger or panic and every calmly carried his own severed hand as he rushed to the hospital on a scooter.

Before disconnecting the call, Singh appeals to pass on his message to all. “Covid-19 can be defeated only by strict social distancing, and we all must follow it. I request everyone with folded hands to please stand by the police officers, the doctors, the sanitation workers who are fighting day and night for you,” he says.

SI Harjeet Singh (second from right) with his family
SI Harjeet Singh (second from right) with his family

Singh’s father Karnail Singh was a former police officer who took voluntary retirement to look after his fields. He instilled in his sons the values of kindness and forgiveness when they were growing up. “My brother is a policeman, so he has to assert his authority, but I have never seen him hold on to anger to have any grudge in his heart against anyone. Even for his attackers, he said, “Jaane do, unki koi dushmani nahin thi mujhse, hadsa ho gaya.(Let it be, they didn’t have any enmity with me, it was an accident).”

For those who break rules pandemic deliberately, this is all he has to say: “Just think of your family, think of your loved ones. Your careless actions will impact them as well.” He also hopes that we treat our country as one family. “Poore desh ko apna parivaar samjhen, toh hum zaroor jeet jayenge,” he says.

Punjab Police has started a campaign #mainbhiHarjeetSingh on social media as a tribute to the police officer’s bravery. “Let’s show everyone that any attack on policemen & doctors, fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines, like SI Harjeet Singh, will unite India together as one. In solidarity with SI Harjeet& all warriors, I urge you all to wear his name proudly on your chests today,” tweeted Dinkar Gupta, Punjab Director General of Police. Gupta changed his name on my badge to Harjeet Sing on Monday.

The DGP has also written to police chiefs in India, applauding Singh for his “two top attributes of a good cop: not meeting violence with violence or tit for tat, and courage in the face of fire.” SI Harjeet Singh has emerged as the symbol of the nation’s fight against COVID-19, he said.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also shared a video of the police officer on Twitter. “It has been 2 weeks since SI Harjeet Singh’s hand was operated upon in PGI. I am extremely happy to share that he is recovering well & that his hand has started to regain movement. Sharing this video of braveheart Harjeet Singh with you all,” he wrote on Twitter.

Singh’s brother, Gurjit Singh is thankful to all for standing by the family in this time of distress. “It is such a heartwarming feeling. Strangers are calling and telling us that we’re not alone. We are getting calls from across India. Humara hausla banaye rakhne ke liye shukriya! We are humbled. We are grateful to SSP Patiala Mandeep Singh Sidhu ji and our DGP sahib who arranged for such good medical treatment for my brother,” he says.

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