MOHALI: Ten-year-old Gurmanjot Singh was left orphaned, after his 32-year-old father Jatinder Singh, a farmer from Punjab’s Raipur Kalan died of a heart attack while protesting at the Singhu Border site (Delhi border) during the farmers’ agitation. His mother had passed away in 2014 under similar conditions. This incident has left Gurmanjot Singh with his lone ailing grandmother, Geet Kaur, aged 65.
When The New Indian team spoke to various farm leaders, the community claimed that more than 761 farmers had been ‘martyred’ during the time, the number varied through various accounts. The exact number of deaths related to the farmers’ agitation has been a topic of discourse for a long time but it is safe to say that the physical and mental strain caused on the protesting farmers through the months has directly or indirectly led to the deaths of numerous protesters.
The New Indian travelled to the hinterlands of the agriculture-dependent state of Punjab. In a village named Raipur Kalan, on the outskirts of Mohali is the house of late Jatinder Singh, a farmer who frequented the national capital to take part in the farmer agitation at the Singhu Border site. He passed away on August 4, 2021 on the day he was heading back to see his son in his village. News of the death reached the household where Jatinder Singh’s mother and his 10-year-old son Gurmanjot lived. His wife Kulvir Kaur had passed away on September 19, 2014 due to a cardiac arrest.
With no source of income in the family anymore, Gurmanjot Singh’s education and future prospects have come under jeopardy. Neighbours from surrounding houses have been a shoulder to cry on for the grandmother and have been helping the family in daily chores and keep them financially sustained.
Geet Kaur revealed to The New Indian that the local government body including some opposition party committees had sent their members initially to announce that the family would be compensated for their devastating loss. It has been three months since and a response is still awaited. When approached, vague reasons such as ‘the investigation is still on’ and ‘the death was not reported on time’ are given to the grandmother. A far-fetched promise that was made was that young Gurmanjot when finishes his education, would be offered a government job as compensation, it is, however, unclear how this ‘promise’ would be fulfilled a decade on from here.
Gurmanjot, while candidly speaking to The New Indian, told that all he knows is that his father had gone to Delhi. When asked what he wanted to grow up to be, he quickly replies he wants to serve the nation by becoming a part of the police force.
It has been exactly one year since the farmers’ agitation reached the borders of the national capital. The Union cabinet on Wednesday after a meeting officially announced that they would be moving ahead with the repeal of the three farm laws and the decision would be processed in the upcoming Winter session of Parliament.
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