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Some were going for seva, one to see new house, but fate had different plans

They were looking forward to things in life – some for meeting their near and dear ones, while some for doing seva – but in the blink of an eye everything came crashing down when their life was cut short in an accident in Punjab’s Muktsar on Tuesday afternoon. Eight passengers, including five women, were killed when a private bus fell into the Sirhind feeder canal in Muktsar district. Of the eight whose bodies had been recovered, three were of one family. The Indian Express takes a look at the persons who lost their life in the accident:

Parwinder Kaur (47)

Parwinder had first boarded a bus from Bathinda to Muktsar and further embarked on the Muktsar-Amritsar bus which met with the accident. She was on her way to her parents’ house in Warring village. “Warring village was just 400 metres from the site of the accident. The house is on the road near the toll plaza. When the accident occurred, villagers of Warring first came for help and so, we came to know about it and we feared the worst,” said Jasmel Singh, brother-in-law of the deceased.

Rajbir Kaur, 58

Rajbir was travelling in the bus along with her younger sister Manjit Kaur and nephew (brother’s son) Raminder Singh. Rajbir’s husband Sarup Singh had dropped the trio off in a car at Malaut where they boarded the ill-fated bus. They were on their way to Amritsar for doing ‘karseva’ (voluntary service) for a week. “Rajbir used to go to the village gurdwara for seva. The whole village was aware of her selfless service. For a similar service, on Tuesday she was going with her sister and nephew to Amritsar. However, no-one knew that their journey would end in Muktsar,” said Gursahib Singh, former sarpanch of Dalmeer Khera village.

Manjit Kaur, 56

Manjit Kaur, elder sister of Rajbir Kaur, was eager to meet her younger brother who was to meet them en route to Ludhiana. Manjit Kaur regularly used to go for seva at Harminder Sahib in Amritsar and this time she was going with her sister and nephew for a week. But God had some other plans, said Gursahib Singh. Harpreet Singh Happy, son of Manjit Kaur, said, “Around 5.30 pm my wife called my mother’s number to enquire if she had reached Amritsar. But the phone was picked by a policeman. We got worried and reached Muktsar to know the truth. It was all over by then.”

Raminder Singh, 27

He had accompanied his aunts to go to the Golden Temple for doing seva. Both (Raminder Singh and Manjit Kaur) of them had boarded a bus from Karanpur and joined Rajbir Kaur at Abohar. “I had gone to drop the two of them off at a bus stand in Karanpur. Didn’t know it was the last time I was to see them,” Happy said in a gloomy mood. Raminder Singh is survived by his wife and three minor daughters.

Preetam Kaur, 65

Preetam was married in village Mughalanwala of Tarn Taran district. She had come to meet her elder brother Taar Singh (70) and his family in village Kattianwali of Muktsar. “On Tuesday, my father was going along with my aunt to drop her off at her village. However, a few minutes after they boarded the bus, the accident happened. My father grabbed a rod in the bus and held on for dear life, but my aunt fell down on the floor of the bus which was full of water. While my father somehow managed to keep his head above water, my aunt drowned. Later my father was rescued,” said Kulwinder Singh, nephew of Preetam Kaur.

Makhan Singh, 85

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Even at this age, Makhan Singh lived a disciplined life. “About two months ago, my father (Makhan’s younger brother) had died, and my uncle (Makhan Singh) had been a huge pillar of support for our family. On Tuesday also, he had boarded this bus from Abohar and was to meet us in Faridkot at our place. But when his bus didn’t reach Faridkot even till 2 pm, we got worried. We got the news of the accident and rushed to the spot. I even told my uncle’s son as well to reach there and when we reached the site, our fears came true. He had fallen on the floor of the bus which was submerged in water and many bodies had fallen over him. He may have been drowned because of a stampede-like situation in the bus,” said Sarabjeet Singh, Makhan’s nephew.

Amandeep Kaur, 40

Amandeep Kaur had gone to meet a relative in Muktsar and was on her way back to her house when this accident happened. “We saw the news and dialled her number, but there was no response. Later we reached the accident site and identified her body,” said Maninder Singh, her nephew.

Balwinder Singh, 59

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Balwinder Singh had retired from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited ( PSPCL) last year and he was building a new house in Pakka village. His hometown was Malaut in Muktsar district and after retirement, he had planned to live in Pakka village by making a house. He was on his way back to Pakka village after completing his personal work at Malaut when the accident happened.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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