Jupinderjit Singh, Tribune News Service
Mann (Muktsar), May 27. Most houses in this village, a known citadel of the Congress, are large with imposing gates. The streets are dusty and brick-laned in contrast to paved streets in the nearby Badal village. The pond is still “kutcha” and drains in dilapidated condition. There is no health centre. The village has an ayurvedic doctor, Gurtej Singh, to take care of medical needs of its population.
But for the last eight days, Gurtej, too, is not available. He is on the run fearing police arrest. He is among the 25 “identified” accused in the FIR no. 65, dated May 19 regarding violence, rioting, beating of Akali workers, attempt to capture polling booths and burning of vehicles.
Gurtej treated Akalis and Congressmen alike. But today his aged mother Jarnail Kaur, a heart patient, is lying on the cot with only Gurtej’s wife Parvinder Kaur to take care of her.
With the FIR stating 125 “unidentified” persons besides 25 “identified” had caused the violence, almost all families owing allegiance to the Congress are living in fear since May 19.
Gurtej’s sister Baljinder Kaur said the villagers lost brotherhood and sense of belongingness for each other.
“All families had been living and dining together since long despite their political affiliations. I am shocked that my mother and sister-in-law are left alone by the same people,” she said.
Baltej Singh, who holds religious congregations, was also on the run. He returned today emboldened by the visit of senior Congress leaders. He blamed “outsiders” for violence and causing enmity among the villagers.
He said the peace of the village was never disturbed like this. “Everyone knows who supports whom. It is for the first time that Akali families in the village are not helping Congress supporters in distress.”
He said he was a witness to the booth capturing incident that sparked violence. “There were a large number of outsiders who came in vehicles bearing registration numbers of other districts. They barged into a polling booth and beat up Congress polling agent Major Singh. He was rescued by policemen who had to fire in the air to disperse the attackers. Later, Major Singh was the first to be arrested for causing violence. We had no option but to run for our lives”.
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