Even as the body of fruit loader Charanjeet Popli arrived in Punjab’s Abohar town on Thursday, a day after he was killed by militants in Kashmir, commission agents and their workers demanded the safety of their colleagues in the Valley.
Charanjeet, a resident of Abohar town in Fazilka district, was the youngest of three sons. His brother Ramesh went to Kashmir to bring the body.
Rakesh, another brother, said, “We told our parents (about his death) this morning as we did not have the courage to tell them last night. They are in their 80s. We have become a victim of abrogation of special status of J&K.
Charanjeet’s wife Nreeti Rani was inconsolable as she received the body of her husband on Karwa Chauth.
The family will be given Rs 4 lakh compensation from the J&K administration. Fazilka DC Manpreet Chhatwal said, “We have sent a recommendation for financial help for the family to the Punjab chief secretary. The J&K administration airlifted the body while the Punjab government brought it from Amritsar airport to the residence in Abohar. ADC (Development) Kirpal Singh went to the airport. We will assist the family in any way we can.”
The cremation will take place on Friday, he added.
Meanwhile, Kinnow Mandi Ahrtiya Association president Atinderpal Singh demanded safety of those in Kashmir. Inder Sharma, general secretary of the association, said, “Hundreds of commission agents and their workers are still in Kashmir to bring back apple stock. They have gone with their tempos and trucks. We demand their safety. This incident has left us in shock. Abohar mandi does kinnow and apple business. This is the way we survive.”
He added, “People went to Kashmir when restrictions were lifted, but I have spoken to many of our commission agents in Shopian, and they told me there is a curfew-like situation in the Valley even now.”
Association members said the Union government should instill confidence among the masses about their safety in Kashmir. “If there is no safety, we will not go for business. Life is the most important thing,” said Sharma.
Charanjeet had gone to the Valley with his cousin Sanjeev Kumar alias Kala. “Kala told me that he and a worker had gone to get milk when militants came and took Charanjeet and another commission agent, Sanjeev Charaya, and beat up the orchard owner. Later, they shot at both of them. Charanjeet died while Charaya is still in hospital,” Sharma said.
Charaya has three bullet injuries. His uncle Surinder has reached the Valley.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the Fazilka-based apple trader. The Chief Minister also directed the deputy commissioner to attend the cremation of the deceased.
The Chief Minister has also announced Rs 1 lakh relief for the injured migrant labourer, who is undergoing treatment in Srinagar.
Expressing concern over terror attacks in Kashmir, the chief minister called for a strong response by India. “We cannot let these terrorists continue killing our people,” he said. – with PTI inputs