“My husband didn’t step out of the house when the lockdown started, but I went out daily because of my job… I will never be able to forgive myself,” said Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police Surender Jeet Kaur on Tuesday, a day after her husband Charan Jeet Singh, 54, succumbed to Covid at a hospital in Delhi.
Singh, a resident of Lajpat Nagar and a businessman, is survived by his wife and their 26-year-old son who lives in Canada.
Kaur, 57, ACP (Crimes Against Women) in the South-East district of the Delhi Police, is also ACP (Covid Cell) of the district. On May 20, five days after Kaur tested positive for the virus, her husband Singh tested positive, followed by the ACP’s 80-year-old father on May 24. All of them had symptoms and while Kaur and Singh were admitted to Indraprastha Apollo hospital, her father was admitted to Max hospital in Saket. On May 26, Kaur returned home after recovering from the virus.
Kaur told The Indian Express, “I last spoke to my husband on May 22 night, when we were both admitted in the hospital in different wards. The doctor called me and said that my husband needs to be put on ventilator support. I had a video call with my husband. He was breathless and told me that his oxygen level was dropping. He showed me the monitor, the doctors in the room, and then said he was having trouble speaking and that he would send me WhatsApp messages.”
A day after he passed away, Kaur recalled the messages that Singh had sent her just before being put on ventilator support. “He started sending me details of our finances, accounts… I told him to stop and asked him why he was telling me all this. He said I needed to know… Maybe he feared he wouldn’t come back. I prayed every day, at temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras for him. I am devastated that he’s gone. We were to move to Canada to live with our son in 2023 after my retirement. We had so many plans.”
Kaur’s brother Maninder Ahluwalia said the hospital tried plasma therapy but Singh didn’t respond to the treatment.
“He had diabetes and high BP, but those were always under control. We were hopeful,” he said.
The couple’s son joined on video call from Canada to watch his father’s last journey from the ambulance to the entrance of the crematorium. “My son couldn’t attend his father’s last rites because there are no flights… It’s so unfortunate,” said Kaur.
Friends and family remember Singh as a “jolly, disciplined and brave man”, while Kaur said he was the “perfect partner”. She said, “When I was an SHO-rank officer, I would work for 36 hours straight some days, and he would handle the house and our son who was growing up. I would miss family functions and important occasions but he would always go and make up for my absence. I was able to do this job for decades because of his support.”
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On Tuesday afternoon, Singh was cremated in the presence of close family and members of the police fraternity. “The DCP and the Joint CP called me daily to enquire about my husband, other police officers too. I am grateful for their support. They didn’t let me feel alone for a single day,” said Kaur.
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