JAGDISH KAUR, one of the petitioners in the case against Sajjan Kumar for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, came to Amritsar in 1989 and made a home in this city, five years after watching her husband, son and three brothers die in the mob violence in their west Delhi neighbourhood.
On Monday, as her mother gave interviews to mediapersons in Delhi, her daughter Harvinder Kaur recounted Jagdish Kaur’s long fight for justice even as she struggled to bring up her remaining four children – three daughters and a son – educate them and give them a decent life.
Harvinder Kaur said if Sajjan Kumar appealed against the verdict, she and her mother would take their fight further.
“If he appeals in the Supreme Court, we will follow him there. We will fight till our last breath,” said Harvinder, who was only 11 years old when her family was torn apart by the riots in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
Harvinder, who is now married and is an accountant with the SGPC, recalls her mother cremating the bodies of her father and brother with the furniture in their home. She sent her surviving four children to Batala to stay with relatives.
“But my mother remained in Delhi. She was fighting for justice from the very first day. Meanwhile, people kept taking away everything that was left at our house. Even doors were taken away as there was no fear of law or anything. We couldn’t see our mother for six months. I never visited that house again. I don’t want to.”
Jagdish Kaur lives in Darshan Avenue in Amritsar in a house that she built on a plot purchased in 1989 from a Hindu family that bought her ill-fated Delhi house in Raj Nagar near Palam airport.
After moving to Amritsar, Harvinder’s mother pulled herself and her family up literally by the bootstraps. She earned a living as a roadside tea-seller, and sold dupattas, making a measly Rs 600 a month. Later, the district administration gave her a bus permit as she was a riot victim. She also made money as a property dealer.
Her son Gurdeep Singh now works in Canada. He told The Indian Express over phone that there was tremendous pressure on his mother to drop the case.
“Our mother has fought a impossible fight. We were offered Rs 2 crore. and plot in Panchkula for compromising. But we fought it,” he said.