After a while, everyone dumped us: Victim’s kin
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The family members of Peru Lal, the home guard who died under the wheels of Sanjeev Nanda's BMW car in 1999, were glued to the television set in their two-room house in South Delhi's Madangir on Friday.
When the news flash showed the Supreme Court judgment, Lal's younger son Naveen Kumar said he was not shocked by the verdict. "I was barely five years old, but vividly remember the day when one of my father's colleague came running to our house and told us about his death. I remember my mother leaving for AIIMS. Since then, life has been difficult. My father was the sole breadwinner in our family.
In the months after the accident, "many advocates came to our house to take up our case", he said. "Today, we don't know where they are. We lost touch with the other victims," Naveen said.
Lal's widow, Phoola Devi, had requested the government for a job — instead of a compensation. But the government, Naveen said, has not responded.
Naveen said they wanted to meet Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, but could never manage to.
"We read in the newspapers that the government has promised us a job. We got a reference letter from our MLA and went to meet the Chief Minister. We were stopped. The government should have looked into our case, but they chose not to. We have now come to terms with our fate," he said.
Fending for herself and the three young children, Phoola Devi had managed to make ends meet selling vegetables in the locality. Rent from an ancestral property finances Naveen — a BCom student in Delhi University — and his sister's education. Elder brother Pawan works in a fast food joint.