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Tracking those killed in Dera violence | Brothers return dead: ‘Father ordered them to go to Panchkula’

Thirty-eight people, most of them followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim, were killed after they ran riot on Friday in Panchkula. Identifying them has been a challenge for the administration and the hospitals. Around 20 of the dead have been identified. HT tracks down men, women and even children, used as cannon-fodder.

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2017 09:49 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ram Rahim,Ram Rahim rape verdict,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
The clash between security forces and dera followers has left many families without their loved ones. In some cases, the bread-winner is gone and in others, families have been left shattered. (HT File)

Staunch follower loses his two sons

Brothers Jai Bhagwan (26) and Naveen (24): Brothers of Jind’s Dahauli village. Jai Bhagwan, a taxi driver in Gurugram and younger brother Naveen a street-food vendor

Sons of a staunch dera follower, labourer Surat Singh, the duo had gone to Panchkula on orders from the father. In the violence that followed, they were killed by bullets from the security men. Both were married and had one son and one daughter each, who had not even started going to school. Sarpanch Kali Ram Nehra said, “When I went along with the family to collect the bodies of the two from Panchkula, members of the security force told me that they folded hands in front of these two and requested them to stop. They continued breaking the law.”

Follower for life, he died in stampede

Aman, 22, Tahili Walan Bodla village, 15 km from Fazilka city. Aman ran a mobile repair shop

Father Mulk Raj, 60, a daily wager, and mother Usha Rani, 59, are staunch dera followers. So, visiting the Naam Charcha house of Dera Sacha Sauda was part of his routine. Aman left home for Panchkula on Wednesday along with 10 men from his village to have a ‘glimpse’ of their Guru Ram Rahim. The rest have returned, Aman could not. The family is poor, with Aman’s elder brother working at a fertilizer shop at Fazilka. “Violence after the verdict led to a stampede during which Aman sustained fatal injuries and was killed,” revealed a security agency officer pleading anonymity.

‘Don’t know why he had gone there’

Hari Singh, 45, Bangi Nihal Singh Wala, Bathinda. Singh ran a grocery shop in the village

Cremated in his village in the presence of heavy police force, he was known as a man of peace. Hari Singh belonged to a family of dera followers and was part of the ‘Green Welfare Force’. The village has more than 200 followers, mot of them belonging to a Scheduled Caste. Balkaran, Hari’s brother, said that they came to know about his death on Saturday noon. Balkaran claimed that his brother was peace loving and its not possible that he was involved in arson. On why he had gone to Panchkula, he did not reply. He leaves behind wife Amrik Kaur and sons Gurmeet Singh and Ram Singh.

Had gone to P’kula with four brothers

Gurpiyar Singh, 35, Abul Khurana village in Muktsar, a farmer

The native of Abul Khurana had gone to Panchkula with his four brothers. A dera follower since long, Gurpiyar is survived by a wife, daughter and son

Committed Premi, worked for dera

Premi Uggar Sain, 42, Dudian village in Moonak, Sangrur. He was a full-time dera follower

A ‘full-time’ Dera Sirsa follower, popularly known as Bhangi Dass, he had been following the sect for 20 years. He had gone to Panchkula on August 23. Others Premis in the town said Sain was a farmer and was participating in dera activities to propagate the dera’s ideology. “He had played a great role to spread the philosophy of dera along the premis and was always ready for help of dera followers,” Inderjit Singh, a dera follower, told HT. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.

Faithful follower for seven years no more

Ranjit Singh, 28, Lehragaga, a labourer

Associated with the dera for the past seven years, Ranjit had gone to Panchkula after a message from local dera committee. He was unmarried and his father is also a labourer. “Ranjit never missed Naam Charcha session that his family, long-time dera followers, also attended. He had worked at a dhaba in Sirsa for five years. The family is poor,” said a source. “All our premis are innocent and honest people. Though I don’t know enough about Ranjit Singh, he was a nice man,” Harinder Mangwal, a member of the 45-executive dera committee of Punjab told HT.

Had gone for satsang at dera HQ in Sirsa

Veena Jatana, 50, Fatehabad’s MC colony. He was a peon in a private school

Husband Jagdish Jatana claims that Veena, a dera follower for 10 years, had gone to Sirsa to attend a ‘Satsang’ at the dera headquarters on August 23. On August 25, after violence broke out, Veena was brought to civil hospital, Sirsa, with bullet injuries. She was referred to Agroha Medical College, where she succumbed to her injuries.Her husband Jagdish Jatana, retired as peon from cooperative bank of Fatehabad. The official toll of the violence has been put at six in Sirsa.

Started following dera just six months ago

Munish Kamboj, 22, Kambopura, Karnal in Haryana. Kamboj was preparing to sit for police recruitment

Family members of Munish had been following the dera for the past several years and he joined them just six months ago. His father Suresh owns four acres of land and Munish is survived by his father, mother and a younger sister. “Two-three men from the village were going to Panchkula and they also took him along, but he was killed with a bullet injury,” said a villager. Munish had completed his graduation and was preparing to sit for police recruitment. The Karnal village has over 100 followers and the village participated in the cremation. The media was not allowed to attend the cremation.

Bullet snuffed out a life

Gurdeep Singh alias Deepu, 34, Belona village of Karnal district

In Panchkula, it was a bullet injury that killed him, family claims. Assandh DSP Balbir Singh confirmed that the body was cremated by the family members.

‘Allowing congregation led to death’

Jagroop, 40, Badbar village of Barnala district. Jagroop was a daily wager

The only bread-winner in the family is now dead. He and his family was following the dera for over four decades, but not anymore after the incident. Jagroop is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. “He did not have a sword, iron rod, lathi or any other weapon, but he was shot at. Was firing the only solution to control an unarmed person?,” said Gagandeep Singh, a nephew of Jagroop. “Had the police not allowed the congregation, my father would have returned safe,” said Gurpreeet Singh, victim’s son.

Jagroop had left home saying that he was going to attend a satsang in Panchkula and would return on next day, his wife said. The family has now decided not to keep photos or lockets of babas in their house.

Labourer’s son wanted to join police

Vikram Singh Jangra, 22, Farash Majra village near Siwan of Kaithal district. Jangra was an aspiring police officer

Vikram had gone to Panchkula along with his mother and sister and was killed, allegedly due to a bullet injury, during the clash. However, the family members not ready to speak but villagers said that he had also cleared physical fitness test of the Delhi police recruitment. His father Hawa Singh is a labourer.

Dera fooled her into going to P’kula: Family

Homemaker Nimbo Devi, 45, Lodhar village in Jind

Nimbo and her sister were the only two followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in their family. The family only knew that they had left home for a Dera meeting in Uchana block near their house on the morning of August 24. Her body was brought back on Sunday for cremation. She was shot in the chest. “They were not informed about the court verdict. The Dera fooled them by taking them for darshan,” said a relative, who maintained they had no feeling of anger against the Dera. She is survived by husband Dharamvir, a farmer, two sons and a daughter.

The family has around 4-5 acre. Village sarpanch Suresh Sharma said there are 150-200 dera followers in their village, but only a handful went to Panchkula.

Muktsar boy had gone with a ‘Premi’ uncle

Lovepreet Singh alias Bughi, 15, Theri village in Gidderbaha segment of Muktsar. Bughi helped family make ends meet

From a Dalit family, who are not dera followers, Lovepreet had three brothers and a sister. A school drop-out, he helped the family meet ends. He had gone to village Mohanpura near Ganganagar to his uncle’s house. His uncle was a dera follower and took Lovepreet to Panchukla. Lovepreet Singh’s father Kaka Singh said, “We are not Dera followers. We are in state of shock and don’t know whom to blame for his death.” He received a bullet shot and succumbed to injuries a few hours later.

Former panch’s son a victim

Vineet Kumar (25), Jandali village near Ambala. Kumar helped father in running a grocery shop

Vineet had gone to Panchkula with his father Binder Kumar, who owns a grocery shop in the village and also a former panch. The father started following the dera in 2000. A resident said 300 followers from the village had gone to Panchkula. After being injured, he was taken to Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32, Chandigarh, where he succumbed to injuries. His body reached the village on Saturday .

Complied by: Hardik Anand; Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar; Amit Joshi; BB Goyal; Sarbmeet Singh; Avtar Singh; Bhaskar Mukherjee; Neeraj Mohan and Dev Sarup Mathur

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 09:49 IST