Updated: February 3, 2021 6:29:35 pm
A day after 80-year-old Gurmukh Singh’s name cropped up in the list of 122 people arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the Republic Day violence, his family in Punjab is yet to reconcile with the shock.
The oldest among those arrested, Gurmukh was taken into custody on January 29 by Mukherjee Nagar police station staff. He is a small farmer from Shamaspur village in Fatehgarh Sahib district and grows wheat and paddy on his one-and-a-half acre plot of land.
Village sarpanch Harpinder Singh said, “His wife Manjit Kaur is upset over repeated statements by people calling farmers as ‘khalistanis’. They just want to be by themselves.”
“He was against the farm laws since day one and wanted them repealed… he has been at the morcha at Delhi’s Singhu border since the beginning. Gurmukh retired from the Army as a subedar more than three decades ago. He leads a disciplined life and would go to the gurdwara twice a day…,” said the sarpanch.
Gurmukh’s elder son Jasbir Singh lives in Italy, his younger son Kulbir Singh in Khamano about 12 km away from the village. His wife, and Jasbir’s wife and son live with him.
According to residents, he has been associated with SAD (Mann) for several years. “We are surprised he was arrested despite his age,” said former sarpanch Satnam Singh. The village Tuesday passed a resolution that each resident will take turns to go to the national capital for the protest, and those who don’t would be socially boycotted. “Everyone has agreed to this resolution… The entire panchayat and a few senior members of the village will also be leaving for Delhi in support of Gurmukh; we will try to help him, we want him to come home soon,” said Harman Singh, the village panch.
Sarpanch Harpinder Singh added, “There are 1,250 voters in this village who are all against the farm laws. We will be adding to the numbers at the border to lodge our protest against Gurmukh’s arrest and to seek repeal of the laws. As of now, over 20 villagers are at Singhu.” Around 25 persons will be leaving for Delhi from the village Wednesday.
According to villagers, the SAD (Mann) told Gurmukh’s family that it was making efforts to get him released. Lawyers have been deployed to provide legal aid to those arrested. Amarveer Singh Bhullar, one of the advocates, said: “We will be taking up cases of the elderly, those less than 21 years as our top priority.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee as well as political parties such as Congress, AAP and SAD (Mann) said they will provide free legal aid to arrested persons. Farmers’ unions have also created a helpline for families and have tied up with a team of lawyers.
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