The family of Kirpal Singh, the Indian prisoner who died in Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat jail last week, is headed for a legal battle, with a woman claiming to be his wife all set to move court to stake her claim over him and his property. Paramjit Kaur also showed up at the cremation of Kirpal Singh in his native village in Gurdaspur on Wednesday and the administration just about prevented the situation from turning ugly as she claimed the right to cremate the body. This was aggressively opposed by his other family members, particularly his sister and nephew. Paramjit had left Kirpal’s family about 25 years ago and suddenly resurfaced now after his death. While his family alleged her main agenda was to get financial benefits after his death, she claimed that she never knew where he was all these years. “We married around 1990 and when Kirpal was away, his family started harassing me,” she told The Sunday Guardian. “They wouldn’t even tell me where he was. I tried to find his whereabouts but failed, after which I left home.” She said she learnt about his death in a Pakistan jail from media reports. She said as she had no one to go to, she took shelter with a man and had three children with him. “But now that I know that he’s no more, I have all the right over his body as we were never divorced,” she said as she stood with her brother and some more supporters outside the Amritsar Medical college and hospital where doctors were conducting autopsy on Kirpal’s body. “We will soon move the High Court with a plea that no financial benefits should be passed on to people who are not entitled to it,” said Anil Aggarwal, a local activist who is supporting Paramjit. Waiting inside the hospital for the autopsy report, Kirpal Singh’s nephew Ashwani Kumar and sister Jagir Kaur asked where she was all these years. “She is only shedding crocodile tears as she is only interested in getting financial benefits that the government may give the family after Kirpal’s death,” said Jagir Kaur.
Kirpal (54) had crossed over to Pakistan in 1992 and never came back, though he kept writing letters to his family. Pakistani officials claim that he died following a cardiac arrest, while his family alleges there is a conspiracy. While the family wants a thorough probe, they are also demanding a gas agency, government job and financial benefits.