Family of Bathinda farmer who died at Tikri border struggles to run the household

The family of Karamjit Singh Bhullar (48) of Mandi Kalan village near Maur town in Bathinda district, who died after falling sick while participating in the farmers’ agitation at the Tikri border near Delhi in April this year, finds it challenging to manage the household.

“I never went to school and Karamjit ensured that all three children in our joint family studied well. Be it is farming or looking after other fronts, I was just assisting him. Now, I feel helpless without him in the fields,” said Karamjit’s younger brother Darshan Singh.

The two brothers with a small landholding of 1.5 acres used to take another 5-acre land on lease to cultivate paddy and cotton in the kharif season and wheat as a rabi crop.

The deceased’s son Kamalpreet Singh, 24, said his father was an activist of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur) and contributed to the protests against the contentious farm laws.

Bhullar passed away a week before his 49th birthday on Baisakhi day of April 13.

“My father followed a call of the union and visited the Tikri border site of protest thrice. He passionately worked against the farm laws and we are happy today that these will now be repealed. During his last visit, he complained of acute diarrhea on April 2. He was rushed back home and died four days after he suffered a massive heart attack,” he said.

The family received a compensation of 5 lakh with Kamalpreet, a graduate, getting assurance of job of a clerk in the agriculture department this month.

The deceased had no debt on him.

‘A befitting tribute my brother, farmers’

Natha Singh, elder brother of Sukhpal Singh (30) of Bathinda’s Mandi Kalan village, who breathed his last on March 31 at home after falling seriously ill at the Tikri border during the farmer agitation in January this year, says that the announcement to repeal the central farm laws is a befitting tribute to his brother and farmers.

“After losing our parents a few years ago, Sukhpal left for the Delhi border to protect the interests of the farming community. He was among other volunteers from Mandi Kalan frequenting Tikri several times,” said 43-year Natha to whom chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi in September personally handed over a job letter of a peon in the agriculture department.

Natha was given a compensation of 5 lakh by the state government.

Natha’s cousin Major Singh recalls that Sukhpal was diagnosed with a fatal infection in the pancreas and the community extended financial support of 8 lakh for his treatment.

“He was treated for over two months at PGIMER, Chandigarh. The youths took an initiative and collected money from villagers and leaders of the BKU’s Sidhupur and Dakaunda factions also ontributed. Though our family lost a member while battling at the dharna site, we got some sort of relief in an announcement to repeal the laws that were rejected by the entire rural community,” said Major, a school bus driver.

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