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Sikh family celebrates release of kin

A phone call from Amritsar set off celebrations in one Golmuri household on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Golmuri resident Harjinder Kaur (40) was still celebrating. After all her nephew and one-time Jamshedpur resident Ravinder Singh (26) had been released from an UAE prison and returned safely to India, something the entire family had been praying for ever since 2009.

Ravinder arrived in Amritsar around 10.30pm on Tuesday and called his aunt, bringing joy to all those who live in the house at Hindu Basti in Tuiladungri locality of Golmuri. He had flown from Sharjah to Delhi and then driven to Amritsar.

“We spoke to Ravinder soon after he paid obeisance at Harminder Sahib at night. He sounded very emotional and thanked us for our prayers, which he said helped in his release. He was very nostalgic about Jamshedpur and promised to come here in March,” said Harjinder.

Ravinder’s cousin Kamaldeep Singh said they passed the entire day on February 9 praying at their house and also offered prayers at Tuiladungri Gurudwara to ward off any obstacles that could stop the release of their cousin.

Ravinder, the youngest son of Balrej Singh, a former Tinplate employee, studied in Tinplate School at Golmuri and stayed at the company quarters on Neem Road.

“The family often visits the city though they settled at Batala (near Amritsar) in 1999. Ravinder took up a job in Sharjah in 2008,” said Harjinder.

Ravinder worked as a driver in a private company at Sharjah when he, along with 16 other Sikh youths, were awarded death sentence for murdering a Pakistani national, Mishri Khan, in 2009 by a Sharjah court. Though the youths claimed they were falsely implicated, the Sharjah Shariat Court refused to consider their pleas and all of them were put behind bars.

A Dubai-based Sikh businessman Surinderpal Singh Oberoi arranged for payment of Rs 6 crore in an out-of-the-court settlement, after which Sharjah Court of Appeals ruled on September 12, 2011 that the accused be deported to India after undergoing a sentence of two years. Since they had already been in jail for three year they were to be allowed to return the same month.

However, freedom once again evaded them as one Mushtaq Ahmed and Shahid Iqbal, who were among the three injured when Mishri Khan was allegedly murdered, filed a separate case in a civil court in Dubai, demanding compensation. The court announced a compensation of 1,00,000 dirhams for Ahmed and Iqbal.

Again Oberoi arranged negotiations for an out-of-court settlement on February 3 this year.

The two injured youths accepted the money in court on February 4 and withdrew the case, paving the path for release of the Sikh youths.

Meanwhile, celebrations continued on Wednesday afternoon at the Golmuri house with All India Sikh Youth Federation local chapter president Satnam Singh Gambhir distributing sweets.