Tempers ran high in Punjab following the death of two-year-old Fatehveer Singh, who had fallen into a borewell shaft on June 6 and could not be saved in a rescue operation lasting over four days. Fatehveer was pulled out of the shaft Tuesday morning and an autopsy report said that he had been dead for past few days.
The opposition, which had been raising questions on the rescue operation, upped the ante against the government, accusing it of “negligence”.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal led the charge terming the death a “daylight murder” and targetted Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for enjoying holidays in hills at a time when such a tragedy was unfolding.
“Fatehveer: this is a daylight murder of the most inhuman & beastly kind. There is no such thing as government in Punjab. When the state is seething with pain & anger, CM is busy in leisure & pleasure in cooler climes. The govt remained absent as the child lay dying. Unforgivable,” he tweeted.
His wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, “A great tragedy has befallen the family of Fatehveer. My heartfelt condolences to the parents. May Akal Purakh grant them strength to bear this irreparable loss. We must now resolve to take steps to ensure such a horrible fate does not visit any Fatehveer in Punjab ever again”.
Stating that there were “lapses” on part of the state machinery in handling the rescue operation, Aam Aadmi Party leader Harpal Cheema demanded the resignation of Amarinder Singh.
Slamming, both, the central and the state governments for their apathetic stance in carrying out the rescue operation under the watch of untrained teams, which “lacked professional acumen and knowhow”, Cheema, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Punjab Assembly, said that the “little child fell prey to the highly paralysed system at a time when the country is bragging about making strides in its scientific field”.
Earlier, talking to media at the PGI Chandigarh, Cheema, accompanied by party MLAs Kulwant Singh Pandori and Manjit Singh Bilaspur, accused the state government of gruesome ‘murder’ of the child, claiming that the shoddy rescue operations had claimed his life.
The AAP leader demanded that Amarinder who also holds the Home portfolio, had forfeited his moral right to continue to hold the fort and should immediately step down, which he said, would bring some solace to the aggrieved family, which had been subjected to undergo a nightmarish ordeal for days.
Holding the people of the state equally responsible for the mess, Cheema said that they elect and re-elect people lacking political will and uprightness to deliver on the ground when it came to tackling cases of this nature.
Cheema demanded the conduct of a judicious probe in the case to ensure exemplary punishment to those found guilty. He also demanded that the government should immediately release ex gratia payment of one crore to the aggrieved family and a job to the next of kin of the deceased.