Dinanagar (Gurdaspur, Punjab): It’s been almost seven years since the terror attack in Gurdaspur’s Dinanagar. 50-year-old Kamaljit Singh had never imagined that a terror attack would change his life forever. After the attack left him 87 per cent disabled, he has been struggling to survive. State apathy has only made things worse.
On the fateful morning of July 27, 2015, Singh was first person to come under attack by the three terrorists dressed in army uniforms in Dinanagar town, just 30 km away from district headquarters of Gurdaspur.
The team of The New Indian caught up with Singh at Dinanagar bus stand, just 100 meter away where he was shot by the three terrorists.
Recalling the 2015 terror attack, he said, “I used to run a dhaba and would park my car here (showing the place) daily.
“On that morning, I was on my way to the vegetable market at around 5 am when I saw three terrorists dressed in army uniform on the divider of the road. They fired at me as soon as I started my car. I got hit in my left shoulder and then when I tried to maneuver my car, they fired at me again. I was hit in right palm and left arm,” he said.
He said, as he was stuck in both the hands, he hid himself below the steering of the car.
“The terrorists then came to my car and dragged me outside thinking I am dead. Thereafter, they punched me with their shoes to check if I was dead,” he said, adding that they took away his car believing that he was dead.
After the terrorists left the spot, he somehow managed to pull himself up, while soaked in blood, with pieces of car’s windshield stuck on his face and body and started walking home. That was when people came to know about the terror attack, he shared.
“After me, they killed another man at a local dhaba. I was then admitted to the hospital,” he said.
Lamenting at the state government apathy, Singh said, “The government then promised me a lot of things, including a job to my daughter. But here I am, getting a meagre Rs 5,000 as pension, that comes after a delay of three to four months.”
Slamming the government for going back on its promises, he said that he is now 87 per cent disabled as one of his hand has been amputated and he cannot do any work. “I don’t have any proper source of income as I cannot work and for the last 7 years I am unemployed as only three fingers of my right hand is functional,” he said.
Narrating the issues that his family faced, “My daughter was not given job as promised by then Chief minisyer Prakash Singh Badal. Even for her marriage, I have to run from pillar to post to get some help from the government but all went in vein as no one listened to us. It was my brothers and other relatives who helped me financially.”
He said that he has a 26 year old son, who is mentally unstable and it is tough for him to run the house with mere Rs 5,000 as pension.
“I have put in innumerable requests to the government to increase the pension but no one has paid heed to me,” he rued.
The government at that time had given him Rs 3 lakh as compensation, he shared. “Out of Rs 3 lakh, I had to spend more than Rs 1.5 lakh for treatment of my hands,” he said.
He also said that it was only Badal government which gave the amount and pension and later even after Congress came to power in the state in 2017, no one took his case seriously.
“Even my car is still lying in police station while I have rented out my dhaba for Rs 5,000 but in Rs 10,000 (from rent and pension), it is tough to survive with this amount with a specially disabled child,” he said sharing his ordeal.
Following the Dinanagar terror attack, he was also given award of an “aware citizen” but his life has only gone down.
He said that the government should increase his pension and take care of his family.
Meanwhile, there is another story of railway gateman Darshan Kumar whose life changed after the terror attack.
Even before the nation woke on July 27, 2015, Darshan with the help of a villager had foiled a major terror attack without firing a single bullet and saved hundreds of lives.
Kumar was the man, who had stopped the passenger train few meters away from the five bombs planted on Amritsar-Pathankot rail tracks near a rail bridge.
The railway employees were able to detect the bombs tied to Railway tracks just five minutes before a train was to cross. Darshan Kumar with the help of his another colleague Ashwini, a key man to stop the train, which he did just before the nick of time as the train was carrying over 250 passengers.
Speaking to The New Indian on the sidelines of an event in memorial of Pulwama terror attack victim Havaldar Maninder Singh Attri in Dinanagar, Kumar said, “One of the daily morning walker and my friend Satpal informed me that some cables were tied on the Railway track. So I rushed there and saw five cans attached with cables. I then rushed and asked the key man to stop the passenger train as it had already left from Parmanand railway station. And just few meters away from the bomb ahead of the bridge it was stopped and made to go back.”
He said that his friend Satpal walked along the tracks every morning at this time to reach a Gujjar family where they milk the cows.
The ‘cans’ he referred to were later detected as pressure mines which were removed by the Army’s bomb disposal team. These mines were poised to explode on application of pressure that a train would have brought upon. The terrorists also chose a bridge over a rivulet to deploy these bombs
“Later I was informed by the armed forces that it was a very high intensity bomb and if the train would have crossed, it could have caused heavy damage and the train would have fallen 20 feet below in the riverluet,” he said.
He also said that Punjab government gave him Rs 2 lakh for his duty and was also promoted by Railways.
He said, “First I thought it was boxes, but the cables cleared my doubt that it were bombs.”
He also said that that morning he saw the three terrorists dressd in new army uniforms but he thought that army has been sent to beef up the security as it happens in the area being close to Pakistan border.
“But later I came to know that they were terrorists dressed in army uniform,” Kumar added.
The three terrorists had killed seven people including three civilians and four policemen, including a Superintendent of Police (SP). However, the three terrorists were killed in a 12 hour long operation by Punjab Police’s SWAT team and Indian Army.