For the residents of Rajoana village,no politician or Akal Takht holds any significance. The only thing that is important is Balwant Singh Rajoanas wishes. It should be either complete freedom for Balwant Singh or he should sent to the gallows as he has wished. There is no other way, said Kulwant Singh,Balwants elder brother at his residence in Rajoana on Monday.
Sitting right across Kulwant was close family confidant Lachhman Singh. I have seen Balwant as a small child,he had played in my lap but now he is different person. I cannot even look into his eyes. Even seeing his image on a poster brings tears to my eyes. We do not know when he became a hardliner or went on to kill Beant Singh, said Lachhman.
He added: Balwant Singhs father was killed by terrorists. Two motorcyclists had attacked his house but his father and his three uncles overpowered them. One of the boys shot at Balwants father,who later died. Now,Balwant Singh is a huge name and everybody wants a share of him. While the politicians want to save their chairs by encashing on him,hardliners want him as well. But all we want is to see our son back amid us,which I know will never happen.
Kulwant,who is three years elder to Balwant,said: It was only after the Patiala CIA staff picked me up from this very house in 1995 that we came to know that Balwant was involved in this kind of activity. He was an intelligent boy,fond of reading novels,ghazals and poetry. He wrote too. In 1986,he joined the Punjab Police and did not come home too often. I was picked up in September and met Balwant some two months later. The police tortured me and wanted to know about him but I had no clue. I was released two months later and in December that year,Balwant was arrested along with Jagtar Singh Hawara.
When he met Balwant on Monday,the convict had asked the family to stay in Chardi Kala. He has become the son of the community now. I remember whenever I broached the subject of his marriage,he would say that the day he would sit on a ghori,the whole world will come out to see. The same seems to be happening now. People are coming from all over to see us,but as a brother something tugs at my heart.
When asked,Kulwant,however,denied that Balwant dreamt of Khalistan. He has never said that. According to him,Khalsa Raj ha has to be brought about peacefully. We do not want violence of any kind. Even now,we have been telling the jathas to move around peacefully.
Baltej Singh,who has been Balwants friend since childhood,remembers him as a cool,calm and shy boy. We can never believe that he joined the hardliners. Only he alone can explain how and when he became a hardliner. For us,he is the son of this village and my friend. He sent us a message that the day his hanging is announced,we should put up saffron flags,which we did. Seeing us,others have also done the same.
He added: But we are not following any Akal Takht jathedar or the chief minister. No one has ever come to meet the family. The police harasses Balwants family even today. For us,Balwant Singh Rajoana is the last word.