Chandigarh, Punjab: She spoke out for the daughters of Punjab who remain neglected and for whose welfare the Punjab government claims to be working day and night. At an international forum in Geneva, she countered falsehoods peddled by an Indian officer that Punjab has high literacy and that all girls have access to education.
She is the daughter of one of Punjab’s most extra-ordinary scholars, Prof Pritam Singh, and also a sister of Vice Chancellor Dr Jairup Singh of Central University, Bathinda. But more than that, she is a Sikh woman who knows her mind.
Posted as a pediatrician at Rajindra Government Medical College and Hospital at Patiala, Harshinder Kaur told the UN human rights council gathering in Geneva in June that literacy rate in Punjab was dismal 65 per cent and that global agencies like the UNICEF should be sending money directly to NGOs working in the field. Clearly, the government was ill equipped to spend the money and much is siphoned off, but an Indian official, P Srivastava, complained to the External Affairs Ministry that despite being a government servant, she has criticized India at an international forum.
Now, she stands unceremoniously relieved of her charge has been asked to report to Chandigarh to explain ‘why she spoke against the government during her address in Geneva’.
While a number of Sikh bodies across the world have backed Dr Harshinder Kaur’s stance and have hailed her for telling it the way it is, Dr Kaur has also refused to take it lying down. She has now moved the High Court, challenging her transfer and plans to fight it out.