The Tribune – Malerkotla woman’s death brings communities together

Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus organise bhog ceremony after no one from kin came forward

Parvesh Sharma – Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 23 February 2020. Muslims, with the help of Sikhs and Hindus, organised the “bhog” ceremony of a Sikh woman, Rani (55), in Malerkotla on Sunday. She passed away in her rented accommodation on 15 February. She was a divorcee and worked as a maid. After none turned up for the last rites, Muslims pooled in money cremated the body as per Sikh tenets.

“Rani got divorced 15 years ago. Since then, she had been staying at a colony in Malerkotla in a rented room owned by a Muslim family. With the help of our Sikh and Hindu brothers, we organised the ‘bhog’ and performed the ‘antim ardas’ at Gurdwara Sahib Baba Namdev in Malerkotla as per Sikh rituals,” said Aslam Kala, a Malerkotla resident.

After her death, the landlord, in whose house she was putting up, informed members of her family, but they refused to attend the cremation.

Sapinder Singh, a retired government employee, said: “Our Muslim brothers have made us proud and proved that we are united. But the attitude of Rani’s family has been shocking as they refused to perform her last rites. Her daughter had expressed her desire to come, but her husband did not allow her.”

“Aslam has followed Sikh rituals and we offered him support,” said Karnail Singh, another resident.

The Tribune – Anti-CAA stir gathers momentum

Organisations plan week-long protests across state from 24 February

Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 16 February 2020. Various organisations of farmers, field laborers, industrial and electricity workers, youth and students today organised a state-level rally against the CAA, NRC and NPR at grain market in Malerkotla. They announced to observe week-long protests across the state from February 24.

The organisation included BKU Ekta Ugrahan, BKU ( Ekta Dakaunda), Textile Hosiery Union, Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), PSU (Lalkar), Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendar, Moulder and Steel Worker Union, Karkhana Mazdoor Union, Naujwan Bharat Sabha (Lalkar), Naujwan Bharat Sabha and Inquilabi Naujwan Vidyarthi Manch.

Their activists pledged to continue the campaign to counter the spread of alleged communal agenda of the BJP-led Union Government.

Different delegations from Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, and Karvan-e-Mohabbat also participated in the rally.

“We have pledged that we would not allow the BJP government to divide the country on caste lines. We will further intensify our agitation in the coming days,” said Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president, BKU, Ugrahan.

The protesters alleged that under the garb of the CAA, NRC and NPR, the Modi government had been trying to promote its “communal politics”. They alleged that only the Muslim community was being targeted.

“The Centre must repeal the CAA and withdraw its plans to launch NRC and NPR. After observing the protest week, we will launch more protests,” said Lachhman Singh Sevewala, general Secretary, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.

The Tribune – Malerkotla remains shut in protest against CAA

Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 25 January 2020. Malerkotla remained shut today on a call given by various organisations to protest against the CAA and the NRC. After a march, area residents also organised a protest and demanded scrapping of the CAA.

We will not allow the Centre to isolate our Muslim brothers. We will protest till the scrapping of the CAA.
Balwant Singh, shopkeeper

The protesters alleged that the Central government wanted to divide the country on caste lines and they vowed to intensify their agitation in coming days.

“We will not allow the Centre to isolate our Muslim brothers. We will protest till the scrapping of the CAA,” said Balwant Singh, a shopkeeper. The markets remained closed while residents from surrounding villages also protested.

“Many organisations are supporting the protest. We have decided to intensify the stir,” said Mohamed Aslam, a youth.

Protest march in Ludhiana

Members of the SAD (Amritsar) today conducted a protest march here against the Centre for implementing the CAA. They also forced the shopkeepers to close shops and support the Punjab bandh call given by the party.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, Punjab, led by its chairman Rajiv Tandon, carried out a ‘Bhagwa March’ in the old city area and asked the shopkeepers to open their shops.

The Shiv Sena Yuva Morcha burnt the effigy of SAD (A) chief Simranjit Singh Mann.

The Telegraph – Child dies after 110 hours in borewell

Doctors at the hospital said the child was brought dead

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 12 June 2019. A two-year-old child who was stuck in a 150 ft-deep unused borewell here was pulled out on Tuesday morning after almost 110 hours, but could not survive, officials and doctors said.

Fatehveer Singh was brought out around 4:45am by National Disaster Response Force personnel. He was taken to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 130 km away, in an ambulance, Sangrur deputy commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said.

Doctors at the hospital said the child was brought dead.

The autopsy report said Fatehveer died due to hypoxia “a few days back”.

The body was then flown back to the village in a helicopter arranged by the Punjab government. Fatehveer, who turned two on Monday, had been stuck in the shaft of the seven-inch-wide borewell at a depth of 125 ft. Rescue workers had dug along the shaft to reach the boy.

Opposition parties in Congress-ruled Punjab have accused the state government of “negligence”, while residents of the village where Fatehveer lived have alleged delay in rescue efforts.

The only child of his parents, Fatehveer fell into the borewell in a field while playing at Bhagwanpura village around 4 pm on Thursday. The borewell was covered with a cloth and the boy accidentally stepped on it. His mother tried to rescue him, but failed, the officials said.

A massive rescue operation was launched to bring the child out. Officials managed to supply oxygen but no food or water could be provided to him. “They didn’t use the proper technique to rescue him early on. Trial and error methods were adopted for days,” a relative said.

Villagers alleged that ultimately Fatehveer was pulled out of the borewell with clamps fastened to his hands. “If they had to use this method, they could have done it much before,” said a villager.