On December 3, dancer Kulwinder Kaur, was shot fatally at a wedding function. At the time of her death, she was performing as part of a four-member troupe in Maur Mandi, a suburb near Bathinda.
The initial news reports stated that her shooter had made attempts to join the dancers on stage before being turned away. When he couldn’t join them, he gunned down Kaur in frustration.
An FIR was registered under Section 302 (murder) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. The FIR by Harjinder Singh, husband of the deceased, states that at least two men were carrying firearms, the one who possessed the .12 bore caused her death. The other person had a revolver on him.
“The men, four-five in number, were making advances towards the girls on the stage, and when we stopped them from climbing the stage, one of them fired the shot directly into the head of my wife,” the report reads.
Harjinder Singh also said Kaur was pregnant at the time. An autopsy report proved otherwise, although a gynaecologist at Bathinda’s Romana clinic claims Kaur had visited her on November 24, as an antenatal case.
By the next morning, the video of Kaur being gunned down had gone viral on social media. Although initial news reports carried conflicting details of her age, they all maintained that she had been murdered.
Following the incident, Punjab deputy chief minister and home minister Sukhbir Singh Badal asked the Director General of Police to ban arms at marriage functions. Then as time passed, something strange began to happen, every news item that appeared stated that the girl had been a victim of an “accidental shooting”. The police too are referring to the case as celebratory shooting gone wrong, an accident.
All murder cases have conflicting reports until a coherent narrative is established by the investigating authorities. The narrative for Kaur’s death has been established by the state, despite her family claiming otherwise.
Of the four accused, two have been arrested - Lucky Goel aka Billa, and Sanjay Goel, the son of former Akali councillor Vijay Goel.
In the meantime, the family has given up and is trying to demand a compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a government job for the next of kin.
When have the rich and powerful not stood up for each other?
This case takes one back to the gory April night 17 years ago when Jessica Lal was shot dead. Then too, by an inebriated, entitled son of a politician who thought he could get a drink by firing a bullet in the air. When she refused, he shot her and fled the scene.
He was acquitted at first and only sentenced to life-imprisonment after an appeal in the Delhi High Court. There was massive public outrage and media coverage then.
What hope can Kaur’s family have from a system that has already decided to take a safer narrative than call the incident out for what it is - a senseless act of violence. A murder.