Scared after the attacks by robbers on three farmhouses on the night of July 23-24, people living on the periphery of the city have started keeping night vigils for their safety. They also make it a point not to stay alone.
They sleep by turn so that some of them are always awake to keep a watch and alert others in the event of another attack. And they ensure that those who sleep are together in one place.
The robbers struck at two farm houses at Parch village in Punjab and one, owned by a former DGP of Punjab Police Daljeet Singh Bhullar, across the border at Khuda Lahora village in Chandigarh. They thrashed the caretakers and took away about Rs 50,000 in cash, some jewellery and other items.
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At Bhullar’s farmhouse, all tenants now sleep together in the room in which security guard Gyan Singh was thrashed by the robbers, leaving his arms fractured. The idea is to stay together and face the intruders if there is another attack.
Parvati, one of the tenants, said, “We went and met babaji (Gyan Singh) at PGI. He asked us all to sleep in his room at night at one place so we can take care of each other. It is a big room, we have cleared the place and so we sleep in there.”
Mamta, wife of Babloo who was also beaten up at Bhullar’s farm, said, “We sleep in shifts so that we are not caught unawares this time.’’ She said the children, who witnessed the attack, were still scared and had disturbed sleep.
On the other two farms, namely Captain Raj Pal Farms and Guaba Farms, the families of caretakers have stopped staying overnight.
“We have rented a room at Mullanpur, we do not sleep here any more,” said Girija, wife of Jai Singh Bhola, who works on Captain Raj Pal Farms and was injured in the incident.
Raman, who works on Guaba Farms, said, “We are scared to be alone on the farm even in daytime. At night, we all sleep together on a farm nearby, or in the village.’’
Hari Om, who works on Ram Bagh Farm near Guaba Farm, said that on Monday night some persons tried to open the door. “They were wearing shorts and their faces were covered. We were inside and saw from the window and raised the alarm. By the time we came out with canes, they had left. The village sarpanch was informed and he made an announcement over the gurdwara loudspeaker to alert the villagers,” he said.
However, Station House Officer of Mullanpur police station Mandeep Singh said, “We have been patrolling the area for the last five days. Last night, it was nothing serious. These people are now scared.’’
Nevertheless, in the morning, Hari Om sent his younger brother and his bride to his native village in Uttar Pradesh. He said, “They need to be safe.”
The UT Police and Punjab Police have failed to make any headway in the cases.