Punjab militants killed father in 1991, left 3 kids insane, chained for life
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Punjab militants killed father in 1991, left 3 kids insane, chained for life

The 60-year-old widow of a Tarn Taran farmer, who militants murdered inside his house in 1991, has chained and locked her children since; the kids developed a ‘mental illness’ that remains uncured to date

punjab Updated: Jul 03, 2017 13:03 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Tarn Taran
Terrorism,Punjab militancy,Tarn Taran
Simranjit Kaur with her chained son Gursahib Singh and daughter Kuldeep Kaur at Balehar village in Tarn Taran district on Sunday.(HT Photo)

A 60-year-old woman in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district has kept two of her children chained and locked for almost 26 years after they developed a “mental illness” following their father’s murder by militants in 1991 when the state was in the grip of an insurgency.

A resident of Balehar village, 40 km from the district headquarters of Tarn Taran, Simarjit Kaur said she has been forced to keep three of four children under lock and key in a room since August 24, 1991, when militants barged into their house and killed her farmer husband, Amar Singh.

Her son Gursahib Singh was just five years old and daughter Kuldeep six when they were assaulted with rifle butts and “anything the militants could lay their hands on”. Both are now above 30. One of her daughters died in 2003.

Kaur said the militants are to be blamed for her children’s condition.

“Soon after the terrible night, three of my four children would get violent without reason, throw things, start hallucinating and shout violently at people without reason,” she said, adding that initially, she tried to ignore the “deviant” behaviour.

It soon became apparent to her that the children were a threat to their own lives and could commit suicide or kill others if left alone. As a precautionary measure, she started chaining three of her children and locking them up in a room whenever she had to leave them alone. The practice continues to date.

“My heart cries every time I do this, but they are a danger to themselves and to others. I steel myself to do this,” Kaur said.

One of her daughters was not affected by the violence that night and is now married.

“I have sold all my assets, including land, to get them treated. However, nothing came out of it,” she added.

Pingalwara Charitable Society, an Amritsar-based social welfare organisation, offered to pay for the treatment of Kaur’s children treated in 2012. Kaur, however, refused to take the offer as the organisation insisted that the children needed to live away from her at their campus.

Later, some social service groups helped the children get treated at the Tarn Taran civil hospital. The doctors at the hospital, however, have failed to find any effective cure. Kaur is hazy on the diagnosis of her children.

First Published: Jul 03, 2017 08:52 IST