M A I N   N E W S

Man who ‘attempted’ to kill Mamata is a poor Sangrur trucker
Gurjant Singh’s family doesn’t have money to travel to Bengal to help him out
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Mauran (Sangrur), August 17
Their world came crashing down on August 9 when Gurjant Singh’s truck hit a car in Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s convoy in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district.

Apart from praying for Gurjant’s well-being, there is very little his wife, three children and elderly parents can do. Every day is a struggle on Gurjant’s monthly salary of Rs 2,500. Besides the small sum, the family holds five bighas land and depends on what they can grow on it. The 40-year-old, who has been driving for 17 years, once owned a truck but had to sell it off.

“We don’t even have money to go to West Bengal let alone pursuing the matter legally,” says Gurjant’s wife Gurbans Kaur. The trucker’s 85-year-old hearing-impaired father Harneek Singh sits quietly outside the family’s one-room house, a prayer on his lips.

As The Tribune team entered the sleepy Mauran village on Dirbah Road in Sangrur today afternoon, almost the entire village gathered around it in anticipation of some good news on the Gurjant front. The moment they got to know that their “visitors” were journalists, hope instantly gave way to disappointment. Gurjant’s 75-year-old mother Surjit Kaur couldn’t hold back her tears.

“My son is illiterate. He doesn’t even know the Prime Minister’s name. How can he conspire to eliminate the Railway Minister?” she cries, pleading Gurjant’s innocence. “The West Bengal police should come here and see Gurjant’s home. Then they will know whether he can commit a crime…” her voice trails off.

The news of Gurjant’s arrest has left his three children -- daughters Parwinder Kaur (15) and Kirandeep Kaur (12) and son Jatinder Singh (9) -- in deep shock. All of them have stopped going to the village school.

Gurjant’s elder brother and immediate neighbour Veer Singh blames the family’s misfortune on West Bengal politics. “The accident occurred because of the truck’s brake failure but my brother got dragged into the mess,” he says.

On August 9, Gurjant Singh’s truck had hit a car in Mamata’s convoy at Kolaghat Bridge in East Midnapore as she was returning to Kolkata from a rally in Lalgarh. Gurjant was arrested and initially booked for rash driving but let off on August 11. Immediately after, he was charged with conspiracy and attempting to murder Mamata and re-arrested. He is in 12-day police remand.

The entire village vouches for Gurjant’s innocence. “He is innocent. All his life, he has never even had an spat with anyone,” says a group of villagers that has gathered around The Tribune team. One of them, Navpreet Singh, is more vocal. “How come the West Bengal police charged him without coming to our village for investigations? We don’t know what is happening to Gurjant in jail there...” he says.





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