“Can a one-time financial aid of Rs 10 lakh last a lifetime? My sister may survive until we exhaust the amount,” said a tired-looking Prem Singh after returning from one of the three mandatory weekly visits to Maharaja Agrasen Hospital in Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh West on Wednesday (April 5). Prem Singh is the maternal uncle of Anjali Singh, who was killed in a horrific hit-and-run case on Delhi’s Sultanpuri-Kanjhawala road on January 1.
Three months after the 20-year-old’s death, the family’s despair continues, thanks to Delhi government’s unfulfilled promises and the ever-increasing expenditure on mother Rekha’s treatment. The family alleged that Delhi government has failed to fulfil three basic promises: free treatment for Anjali’s mother, a government job for Prem, and quality education for her siblings.
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Rekha is suffering from a severe kidney ailment that necessitates dialysis at least thrice a week. Her kidney complications are now affecting her other organs as well. Over the past few months, she has suffered life-threatening cardiac arrests, said Prem, who is leading a dual fight — ensuring justice for his niece and helping his sister battle the severe kidney ailment.
Anjali was killed in the early hours of January 1 after her scooter was hit by a car, which dragged her for more than 12 km from Sultanpuri to Kanjhawala. Anjali is survived by her mother and five siblings. She lost her father around eight years ago.
During the recent Delhi Budget session, the family demonstrated outside the Vidhan Sabha. “The demonstration was mainly to voice our daily struggles that resulted from the government’s unfulfilled promises. Apart from Rs 10 lakh in financial aid and free dialysis, the state government hasn’t kept any of its promises. Luckily, the media picked up our story,” said Prem Singh.
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“Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet promised financial aid amounting to Rs 10 lakh, complete medical assistance for Anjali’s ailing mother, and quality education for her siblings. Since Anjali was the sole breadwinner, the government had assured us of providing employment to a family member, too. My sister is suffering from severe kidney complications. Other than dialysis, she has to undergo a gamut of tests. The designated hospital — Maharaja Agrasen — only provides us with free dialysis, which sometimes goes up to 13 times a month,” he recounted.
“Initially, we had to pay even for the dialysis. The hospital agreed to provide free dialysis only after the government stepped in. Apart from dialysis, it has refused any other treatment for free. When we approached the hospital administration and told them about the government’s promise of free treatment, the administration said they could only help with free dialysis. We have to spend heavily on medicines too. Even though I get the medicines from subsidised central government outlets, the costs are burning a hole in my pocket,” said Prem.
“The government’s one-time assistance of Rs 10 lakh is not enough when one considers the overall expenditure of running a family. I had to resign immediately after the horrific incident on January 1. There was nobody to continue the fight,” reminisced 30-year-old Prem.
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“My sister needs constant medical intervention, and there has to be someone to routinely monitor the developments in the case. I have two sisters and a wife to tend to. All the financial aid that we received after Anjali’s death from the government, NGOs, and other individuals is depleting fast. I fear that my sister’s fate is linked to that fund. Once it is exhausted, we may not be able to continue her treatment,” said Prem.
Recalling how the accused showed no remorse, Prem said the day they were presented in court, it did not seem that they have been booked for murder. “They laughed and joked among themselves. It was very painful for me and my sister,” he said.
“Worried for my children”
Appreciating the role of public prosecutor Atul Kumar Srivastava, Rekha said, “It is because of Srivastava ji that we have a strong case. From the first day, he has showed a special interest in the case and is determined to get the culprits implicated. The way he argued during the bail hearings is simply remarkable. Almost on all occasions, he has prevented the accused from getting bail. When the case comes up for hearing on April 13, we hope that the ruling is in our favour.”
Rekha was in tears as she remembered how Anjali took care of her treatment. “Even the day before the incident, Anjali promised me that my treatment would be successful. Even after three months, I continue to stare at the door in anticipation. I feel that she might return someday and everything will be fine,” Rekha said from her bed.
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“I am extremely worried about my children’s future. Quantity education costs money, and we don’t have an earning member in our family. We are completely banking on the state government’s promise of quality education for my children,” said Rekha. She has a 14-year-old daughter and two sons, aged nine and 11, who now live with her in Mangolpuri.
Delhi police’s chargesheet
The Delhi Police on Saturday concluded its investigation and filed an 800-page chargesheet against the seven accused in the case. The chargesheet has listed 120 witnesses. Metropolitan Magistrate Sanya Dalal has posted the matter for consideration of the final report on April 13.
The Delhi Police recently invoked Section 302 IPC (murder) in the case. Initially, the Delhi Police had said a murder case could not be made out against the accused, as there was no element of intent. Six of the seven accused were initially charged under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
According to the chargesheet, Amit Khanna, Krishan, Mithun, and Manoj Mittal have been booked for murder and Ashutosh and Amit Khanna under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. While Deepak Khanna, Amit, Krishan, Manoj, and Mithun are currently in judicial custody, while Ashutosh and Ankush Khanna have been out on bail.
Speaking to The Federal, Dr Bhupendra Chaurasia, a social activist who is leading the fight, recounted how the state government failed to live up to its promises. “Immediately after the incident, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had visited the family. He had promised free treatment for Rekha, a government job for Anjali’s maternal uncle and quality education for the children. But unfortunately, none of these promises were fulfilled. The government only delivered on the promise of a financial package of Rs 10 lakh. Even securing free dialysis was an arduous task. Despite a resubmission of essential documents by Prem, the administration hasn’t reacted on the promise of providing him with a government job,” he said.
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“The Kejriwal government must respond to our concerns. The promises made should be fulfilled,” emphasised the activist.
The Federal tried to seek a response from the AAP legislator from Sultanpur Majra, but till the time of publishing this piece, he wasn’t available for comment.