It’s been over 30 years since the anti-Sikh riots scarred the country. It’s been over 30 years since this mother, and her two children, were last seen by neighbours outside their house in Moga.
On Wednesday, local police had to finally use a ladder to enter the house and forcibly shift Nirmal Kaur, her daughter Kamaljeet and son Inderpal Singh to a mental asylum in Amritsar.
As she walked out from her home in New Town, Kamaljeet had a small sword in hand, and warned policemen that she would kill them if they touched her.
This bizarre climax was the result of a petition filed in a local court by Nirmal’s husband, Joginder Singh Bedi, a retired railways employee who said that his family had been left traumatised and mentally unstable by the riots, and needed treatment.
Iqbal Singh, SHO at the local station, confirmed that the three had been moved out following orders from Chief Judicial Magistrate Pooja Andotra and shifted to Amritsar based on recommendations from doctors at the local Civil Hospital.
Singh added that the neighbours had told police that they had not seen the three stepping outside the house ever since the riots first broke out.
Bedi, in his 70s, said in the petition that when the riots broke out in 1984, he was posted in Allahabad, and had left his family at the home of his brother-in-law who was an NRI.
He added that he used to visit them regularly and provide money for household expenses but his wife and children refused to step out, fearing that they would be killed.
Bedi said that he hoped the situation would stabilise after the riots but added that it only deteriorated. When he returned to stay with them after his retirement four years ago, he said his wife did not allow him to enter the house.
“In initial years after the 1984 riots, my wife used to at least talk normally but her condition deteriorated. She refused to move out of our home. At that time I used to visit them once a month from Allahabad. But when I returned for good, I was shocked that she did not allow me to live with them. I moved to another house but visited them once a week with rations and other items they asked for,” said Bedi.
According to him, the power supply to the house has been disconnected for over four years now. “I never got copies of the bill and I was also denied entry to my home,” he added.
Last year, he finally decided to file that petition in court.
On Wednesday, Bedi broke down as he watched his wife and children being taken away.
Ashok Sharma, counsel for Bedi, said that Bedi was being pressed by local administration to suppress the matter. “He was being pressed by local administration to hide and suppress that mental condition of his family was affected due to 1984 anti-Sikh riots,” said Sharma.