Tragedy victim’s kids refuse aid offered by Sonu Sood, say won’t leave native place - ECAS Punjab

Tragedy victim’s kids refuse aid offered by Sonu Sood, say won’t leave native place

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GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10

Four children, who lost their parents in the Tarn Taran spurious liquor tragedy, have turned down actor Sonu Sood's offer to take care of them. Despite several constraints, they chose to stay at their native Pandori Takhatmal village with their paternal uncles.

District Child Protection Unit officials said the children's wish would always be the prime consideration while deciding their future.

Sonu Sood had extended a helping hand to these children after he learnt about their story. Through his friend Karan Gilhotra, a couple of children's home were shortlisted for their stay and education. A rickshaw-puller Sukhdev Singh (34), father of the children — Karanbir (13), Gurpreet (11), Arshpreet (9) and Sandeep (5) — had died after consuming chemical-laced cheap liquor on August 1. On learning about his death, his wife Jyoti (32) died of shock the same day.

Her brother-in-law Mewa Singh said he was a trained mechanic and earned a reasonable income by repairing farm machinery, "We are grateful that Sonu Sood spared a thought for our children, but they do not want to leave us. Arshpreet and Sandeep will stay at my house. Right from the beginning, they have been addressing me 'daddy'. I only have a daughter (7) who studies in Class 1. Now, the God has fulfilled my wish and gave me not one, but two sons ", he said.

He said his brother Satnam Singh too had volunteered to contribute towards the upbringing of the other two siblings.

CM Capt Amarinder Singh has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims' kin. The process of opening bank accounts of the children was underway.

District Child Protection Officer Rajesh Kumar said a meeting had been scheduled with the family and children tomorrow. "Under the law, it would be mandatory to take the child's consent at first place if he or she is 5 years or above. The children were reluctant to leave their family and native place. The paternal side relatives would be their first guardians. Taking all aspects into consideration, the decision will be taken", he said.

About the utilisation of ex gratia amount, he said, " The amount of Rs 5 lakh would be fixed deposited on behalf of the children under the supervision of the child protection wing. Each and every penny would be used only for their welfare," he said.

SDM Rajneesh Arora said these children would be given benefit under the state government's child welfare schemes, be it education, boarding and lodging, applicable under such circumstances.



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