NDTV.com / January 18 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 (Mansa):
While he ensured that they got life imprisonment for the crime, he was not prepared for the retaliation by the village sarpanch and his men. On January 5, when Bant Singh was out on the village periphery, he was attacked by Jaswinder Singh, the son of the present sarpanch, along with four other men. They beat him with iron rods that fractured both his legs and arms.
He was admitted to the Mansa civil hospital but doctors refused to provide him the required medical care he needed. "When he was admitted to the hospital he had multiple fractures. We told him either to go to Patiala or Chandigarh, but they did not care," said Dr Ashok Kansal, SMO, Mansa.
By the time he came to the PGI hospital in Chandigarh, gangrene had already set in. Doctors had to cut both his arms and a leg after it developed gangrene, and now they are trying to save his second leg.
"Bant Singh had named seven persons, and all of them have been arrested," said Sarabjit Singh, SHO, Joga police station.
Bant Singh case has become a hot political issue in Mansa district of Punjab. But for his family, they are fighting to make ends meet, as their sole breadwinner lies handicapped forever.
"What will happen to my brothers and sisters? My father is in a really bad shape. The culprits must be hung. Now he can’t earn anything for us," said his daughter.
The political parties are now mobilising support for the dalit. But Bant Singh’s family are faced with a dilemma of its own kind, because even if he survives, his life won’t be less than a living hell.