ID incomplete: Punjab man’s quest for his identity

By Parminder Singh Bariana, IANS,

Gurdaspur (Punjab) : It’s a plot straight out of a Bollywood film, except that it’s unfolding in a Punjab village. A 37-year-old man applied for a voter I-card three years ago and was asked the name of his parents. He had no answer. And so began the quest for his identity.

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Sant Ram has sought the intervention of the Punjab Human Rights State Commission (PHRSC) to get the DNA test of three men done to know who his father is.

The three, identified by Sant Ram as Teja Singh, Pritam Singh and Piara Singh of Punjab’s Sangrur district, were connected to the sale of Sant Ram’s mother for a paltry Rs.1,200 in the early 1970s.

Sant Ram had first approached the state human rights commission in 2006 seeking help to identify his parents. He faced an identification problem when he went to get his voter I-card made and was asked to provide the name of his father.

The commission asked the Punjab police to probe the matter. The police produced a 100-page report identifying his mother as Sahi Shanti, a mentally unstable woman. The identity of his father could not be established, though the three men were named as possibilities.

Sant Ram, who is married now and has three daughters and a son, lives in Nabipur village in the border district of Gurdaspur, 250 km from Chandigarh, and works as a labourer.

The probe by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dharam Singh Uppal of Jalandhar had investigated the background of Sant Ram.

“We had minutely investigated the matter and identified his mother. The report was submitted to the authorities,” Uppal said.

The report found that Sant Ram’s existence was first recorded in 1974 when his mother was sent to Nari Niketan, a government-run shelter for women, and later to a mental asylum by a court in Dhuri in Sangrur district. Sant Ram was only two years old then.

His mother escaped from the mental asylum in 1983 and her whereabouts after that were unknown.

There is a gap in the records after that. Then, the report says, Sant Ram was taken away from a children’s home in Hoshiarpur by a head constable of police. He lived with this policeman for over 10 years and did odd jobs.

“The police are not doing enough to find out who my father is. That is why I want a DNA test to be conducted on these three persons so that I can get my identification,” Sant Ram told IANS in his village.

The PHRSC is yet to initiate action on Sant Ram’s latest request.