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Panchkula violence victims deserted by their ‘godman’

No one from the dera has come to help us,” said Mohit Kumar, 16, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar of Patiala.

punjab Updated: Aug 27, 2017 18:37 IST
Vishal Rambani & Avtar Singh
Vishal Rambani & Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala/Sangrur
Ram Rahim,Ram Rahim rape verdict,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Dera followers in police custody in Sector 5, Panchkula on August 26.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

“My father and brother had gone to Panchkula with firm belief in Pita-ji (Dear Father) and Dera Sacha Sauda. Now, my elder brother Munish Kumar is no more — he died of a bullet to his head — while my father is battling for life at a PGI hospital in Chandigarh. No one from the dera has come to help us,” said Mohit Kumar, 16, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar of Patiala.

He was referring to the aftermath of dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction in a rape case by a CBI court in Panchkula, 65km away, in which more than 30 devotees were killed in clashes with security forces.

The family owns a grocery shop, which stocks the MSG brand of products sold by the dera.

Anger writ large on his face, Mohit added, “No one from the dera has come to see my injured father (Baljinder Kumar, in his 50s). I, with some relatives, went to Chandigarh to claim the body of my brother. For my father, it will take another month to heal the bullet wounds.” The body of the brother, Munish Kumar 22, was brought from the Panchkula civil hospital and kept for Saturday night at the local Rajindra Hospital.

Another victim from the district was identified as Gurpal Singh of Garga village near Patran. He was 32.

In Sangrur, two victims were identified as Ranjit Singh, 28, from Lehragaga village, and Uggar Sain, 42, a resident of Dudian in Moonak sub-division.

Ranjit was a laborer and had gone to Panchkula on August 23. He was unmarried and his father is also a labourer. “He belonged to a barber family; they are poor and earn their livelihood from daily wages,” Anil Kumar, president of the Lehra nagar council, told HT.

Uggar was a ‘Bhangi Dass’, a leadership post in the sect, and was otherwise a farmer. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. They too had gone to claim the bodies to Panchkula.

They continue to live in horror and are not ready to discuss the issue. His relatives said that no one has offered any help to family, and it would be difficult to survive for the family.

“They had gone to Panchkula ahead of Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s rape case verdict. As per reports, they have been killed in the violence and their relatives are planning to go to Panchkula to get their bodies,” said Ajaypal Singh, deputy superintendent of police, Moonak.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 09:07 IST