Post Nirankari Bhawan blast: This 84-year-old newspaper vendor, who was once provided with security cover during terrorism days, sees the things moving in same direction but hopes Amarinder Singh will nip the anti-Punjab elements in bud
Meet this 84-year-old newspaper vendor Hari Ram, who was once provided with security cover by Punjab Police during the days of terrorism as he was ready to face the bullet but not agreed to bow before the militants who wanted him to stop distributing the newspapers publishing items against their interests. It was just another day for Hari Ram to spread his sheet and lay the variety of newspapers for sale on it just at the entrance of Bathinda Railway Station but on seeing the front page of every newspaper carrying the lead story related to Nirankari Bhawan blast his mind went running in flashback. “This blast, which the CM too has accepted as a terrorists’ act, shouldn’t be taken lightly. The ways things are proceeding, the sequence reminds me of the black days which Punjab suffered two decades ago as there is lot of similarity in the happenings,” opined Hari Ram, while speaking to Daily Post in the early hours when he was busy in selling newspapers with both hands.Reacting to the blast news, this octogenarian man said: “I have been into newspaper trade for past over 60 years. I have seen the emergence of militancy in Punjab. I remember all those incidents quite clearly. That time, Bhindrawale and others were given indirect support by the center and later when their persona grew beyond the expectations of the projectors, it pushed us all to face thousands of killings as well as the attack on holy shrine Harmandir Sahib.” “The way things are unfolding now, like the indirect support and encouragement to those demanding Khalistan, it would certainly lead to the repetition of dark history. As the investigation agencies are seeing this blast having links with ISI-funded Khalistani or Kashmiri group, the government should wake up and rising above the petty politics, it should now act against all those dreaming to put Punjab on boil once again, otherwise it will be too late,” said Hari Ram, who also shared how he was being threatened by the militants to stop selling the newspapers, which used to carry material against their interest.
Keeping high hopes in Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, this old newsman said: “I know the controversial role of Congress in the past but now I hope that Amarinder Singh will nip all these anti-Punjab elements in bud as he knows it well that state can’t afford being pushed in to those dark days again.” Divulging his own journey, Hari Ram said: “I was provided with four security jawans by the state police as two of my colleagues (newspaper vendors) were killed during those ugly days. Fearing that my acts could put all in trouble, my family members had disowned me. I had to move out with my wife but I didn’t let my missionary spirit dampen.” “That time social media was not available. Newspapers were the prime source of current information. So I opted not to bow before the threats of militants. They used to stare at me standing just in front of me but I always looked at them with smiling face. Their terror in masses was so high that the subscribers wanted to get the paper but requesting me to drop it only when no one is chasing me, fearing it could also put them in problem,” shared Hari Ram.This old newspaper vendor has another interesting part of his life story. He is also being considered as an institution in himself for the service he has been rendering to mankind. Braving everything, he sells newspapers in the city to put his contribution in the social welfare cause, including the cremation of unclaimed bodies. He earns a sum of odd Rs 250 per day after putting laborious efforts from 5 am to 11 am in all weathers. Keeping half of the money with him, he happily donates rest of the sum to Gaushala and some NGOs working for mankind. Asked, how does he survive with such a meager amount, Hari Ram said: “I am alone. My wife passed away 14 years back. My son and his family live separate. I have no worldly desires so Rs 100 is enough for me to spend the day as I know that I will get up again in the morning and earn the same for my next day’s livelihood.” This man having utmost contentment in his life shared that he didn’t even apply for old-age pension and also carried no concessional pass for anything throughout his life. He is an inspiration for many in Bathinda running NGOs for social cause now.
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