Seeking financial help for ailing husband, athlete shows up at CM house, removed by cops

Saurabh Prashar
Athlete Veerpal with Gurnaib Singh at PGIMER. (Express photo at Kamleshwar Singh)

Veerpal Kaur, 32, the 400-m gold medalist in Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) 2018 at Penang in Malaysia, was on Monday picked up by Chandigarh Police outside the Punjab Chief Minister's residence in Sector 2.

A contractual attendant at her village's anganwadi, Kaur wanted to meet CM Capt Amarinder Singh as she is in dire need of financial assistance for the treatment of her physically-disabled husband, Gurnaib Singh, 38. A diabetic and patient of liver ailment, Singh has been advised to undergo surgery by doctors at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI), Chandigarh.

Kaur, a resident of Safipur Kalan village near Sunam in Sangrur, has been camping in the PGI, along with her ailing husband, for the last fortnight and staying at a gurdwara on its premises.

She tried to meet Capt thrice in the last five days, but failed. Monday, when she went to the CM residence for the third time, the security guards deployed there called police, which picked up Kaur. They first took her to Sector 3 police station before dropping her back at the gurdwara in PGI.

She told Chandigarh Newsline that she just wanted to seek assistance for the treatment of her husband, who is 60 per cent disabled, on the basis of her performance on field. "I went there thrice, but failed to meet CM sahib. Yesterday (Monday), an officer on special duty (OSD) there told me to come again," said Kaur, adding she just earns Rs 5,000 per month. "My husband was working at a factory as a watchman getting Rs 4,500 salary per month, but due to his illness, he had to leave his job. My house is also in shambles. I have two school-going sons. I have come here after leaving my two sons in care of my relatives," she said.

Kaur, who also won a gold medal in the first National Masters Games, 2017, said her husband had earlier underwent an operation in Jalandhar, but it proved unsuccessful. "At that time too, I had to collect money from villagers for the treatment of my husband. For the last one-and-a-half years, the condition of my husband has been deteriorating. Last week, he was admitted to the emergency ward of PGI as his haptoglobin was very low. Doctors controlled the HP of my husband and referred us to hematology department, which further referred us to general surgery," she said.

Calls and messages to OSD M P Singh by Chandigarh Newsline went unanswered.

Ailing Singh said, "Earlier, we used to travel back to Sangrur from PGI after every checkup, but as we are running short of money, we have decided to stay in the local gurdwara till the completion of treatment. I hope government will help us. Due to my illness, I have consulted four departments, including internal medicine and gastroenterology."

In June 2018, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Maan had helped Kaur travel to Penang for participating in the APMG.