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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Dancing amid bullets and drunken men: Story of Janu, killed in firing at a wedding in Punjab

There was a pal of gloom in a suburban street of Malout on Monday, where the dead woman’s parents sat in shock on after performing her last rites. “She was taking care of all of us... she was our son. Her brother had died and she was taking care of his three children as well,” said Kulwinder’s father Baldev Singh, who works as a labourer.

punjab Updated: Dec 06, 2016 19:07 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times
Kulwinder Kaur
Kulwinder Kaur(Photo: Facebook)
         

Twenty-four-year-old Janu, as the parents fondly called her, performed to add glamour to weddings. Fighting poverty, braving gun-wielding men who often went wild in celebrations, Kulwinder was the sole breadwinner of the family.

There was a pal of gloom in a suburban street of Malout on Monday, where the dead woman’s parents sat in shock after performing her last rites. “She was taking care of all of us... she was our son. Her brother had died and she was taking care of his three children as well,” said Kulwinder’s father Baldev Singh, who works as a labourer.

Also read | HT Spotlight: Shot and killed at weddings: No stopping Punjab’s feudal culture

Relatives mourn the death of Kulwinder at the family residence in Malout.
Relatives mourn the death of Kulwinder at the family residence in Malout. ( Sanjeev Kumar/HT )
Kulwinder’s husband Harjinder SIngh and father Baldev Singh at the house in Malout.
Kulwinder’s husband Harjinder SIngh and father Baldev Singh at the house in Malout. ( Sanjeev Kumar/HT )
A locality that houses dance and orchestra groups near Kot Road in Bathinda..
A locality that houses dance and orchestra groups near Kot Road in Bathinda.. ( Sanjeev Kumar/HT )

Dhillon Market on Court Road in Bathinda is a hub of orchestra groups, where artistes narrated how they faced harassment from the “uncivilised rich”.

Sonali, who runs a musical group, cancelled a wedding booking following Kulwinder’s death. “Bathinda has more than 100 orchestra groups, which perform in other cities of the state too,” said Sonali.

Sonali, who runs one of the groups in Bathinda.
Sonali, who runs one of the groups in Bathinda. ( Sanjeev Kumar/HT )

The young women are paid between Rs 2,500 and 5,000 for a single show. “Dancing for hours together is common and sometimes it continues till 4am,” she said. “Poverty, of course, is the reason for these girls to perform in front of unruly revellers at night,” she added.

“Poverty, of course, is the reason for these girls to perform in front of unruly revellers at night.”

As per the official record, Bathinda district alone has 24,000 firearm licences with around 20 new added to the list every day. Over 100 applications also come up for renewal of arms licences every day.

Below, video of when Kulwinder got shot

First Published: Dec 05, 2016 21:45 IST