‘NEETEY DI Mummy Da School’, ‘Neetey Di Mummy Da School’ – is how Mehron village of Moga knows Sri Hargobind Public School, a small school for village children, run by Kulwant Kaur, an old woman and the mother of wanted gangster Kulpreet Singh Deol alias Neeta, who escaped from Nabha jail on Sunday.
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The 68-year-old woman, barely able to walk with her problematic knees, has moved on — for better. Spreading light of education in the lives of poor children at this village, she has been running this school for 16 years now. According to her, this is what her life is now. “Do you also want to talk about my son? I don’t want to. Let us talk about my school, I would be happy,” she says.
Running the classes from 1 to VIII, the school survives on a paltry fee of Rs 180-300 taken from the children. It was established in 2001 on land owned by the family in the village. Kulwant Kaur even finances a free school van which ferries the kids from home to school and vice-versa.
Lovingly called ‘Mata Ji’ and known as ‘Neetey Di Mummy’ in the village, Kaur is unsure if she likes to be known as ‘Neetey Di Mummy’ (Neeta’s mother). She is still trying to figure out what exactly went wrong with her own child.
“My other three sons are well settled abroad. My husband is a retired government vet. I am a teacher. I do not know what went wrong with my youngest son. He was a studious boy, had opted for medical stream before bad company did him in. I used to think and curse myself that something must have gone wrong on my part. My upbringing failed him but no longer do I think this way. I have moved on. Me and my husband did all we could do to convince him but now we are left with no energy,” she sighs.
Teaching being her sole objective, Kaur still tries to visit the school daily despite her health issues. “Sometimes, there is little money to even pay salaries to teachers. There are just 50 students now and some are so poor that we do not ask for fees from their parents. My teachers ask, ‘Mam how long will it run this way’. My only answer to them is this school will keep running till God is with us,” says Kaur, choking.
Once an NRI in Dubai, sharpshooter Neeta has been named in seven FIRs, including that of murder, attempt to murder, assault, possessing illegal weapons, etc. FIRs were registered at Moga, Kot Isey Khan, Malot, Kotkapura, Kapurthala and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) police stations. He is one of the prime accused in gangster Sukha Kahlwan murder case of Kapurthala in 2015 as member of the Shera Kubha gang of Vicky Gounder.
Police suspected that Neeta visited his home in Moga a few times before his arrest in December 2015 to meet his mother. Following the information, police allegedly harassed the old couple, forcing them to stay away from home for sometime. Even now, whenever Neeta is in the news, police come calling.
Joga Singh, former Congress councillor of the area, says, “The old woman is well known for her kindness and the school she runs for poor kids. She has given her life to teaching. We have failed to make out what went wrong with Neeta.”
As for Kaur, tomorrow is another day she has to spend at school. “I always tell them to stay away from drugs and weapons. They have to make their parents proud. Many of my children I taught are now well settled abroad. I am happy for them and their parents.”
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