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Torture trauma for one-time pilot

Chandigarh, Nov. 9: Two octogenarian sisters today came out with shocking charges of torture against a man they had adopted when he was four and accused police of taking his side.

Beant Kaur, 87, one of India's first women civil pilots, and Satwant Kaur, 84, managed to flee their Sector 3 house, which they shared with their 'son' and his family, a few days ago. Today they laid bare bruises they claimed were the result of years of torture and ill treatment at the Sector 11 house of friend Surinder Kaur, where they have taken refuge.

'We have suffered for over 15 years now. We wonder why death has not been kind to us. Why is God keeping us alive only to suffer at the hands of a person we adopted as our own' Satwant said, tears streaking her cheeks.

Her eyes also moist, Beant, widow of Air Vice-Marshal Harjinder Singh, could only mutter: 'They hit us, kick us, lock us up.'

She is too shocked to bring herself to mention the mental and physical torture they were being allegedly put through by Col (retd) M.S. Bains.

The siblings said they had been relegated to one room in their own house and accused Bains of forcing them to give up all their money ' including Harjinder Singh's pension and provident fund deposit ' amounting to Rs 18 lakh, bank certificates, gold coins, silverware and personal jewellery.

'Our house has been taken away from us by getting our signatures fraudulently. We have nothing apart from a stake in a factory in our names. It seems he wants the factory too. We would have given him everything had he treated us well. The police are on his side,' Satwant said.

They have complained to the police, who are treating it as a property dispute and are yet to register a case against Bains.

Showing red welts on her hand and scalp, Satwant said she could no longer bear the beatings. 'Enough is enough. This is a government that cannot even look after its senior citizens. Since the police are not interested in lessening our miseries by not registering a case against Bains, we will go to the governor and even the Prime Minister and beg that we be put to death by the state. At least in death we will have lasting peace. We gave him a home,' cried Satwant, who is suffering from cancer.

'We beg the state, the government, the police, any humane agency that would listen to please help us in our old age because we are helpless and convinced Bains and his family might eliminate us,' their statement to the police read.

Deputy superintendent S.C. Sagar, deputed to investigate the matter, refused to comment on the plea that it would hamper the probe. 'There are complaints from both sides,' he said.

The police today put the sisters through a medical examination.

Bains, who has lodged a trespass complaint against those who helped the sisters escape from their Sector 3 house, could not be contacted.

His wife Madhu claimed that Satwant and Beant were treated 'exceedingly well'. 'Satwant is being treated for a skin ailment and that is the reason for the blotches on her hands,' she explained.

Inquiries with Bains' neighbours indicated all was not well in the household. One of them, requesting anonymity, said: 'Even at this age, they had to climb the back wall for a last glimpse of a friend who died recently. They were told' they would not be allowed to go out from the front door.'

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