On a hazy Sunday evening during the Jat quota protests, a scene from an 80s Amitabh Bachchan flick unfolded, with a lone brave man fending off a bunch of goons who tried to loot a bank.
The hero, Hawa Singh Yadav, an ex-armyman in his early 50s, was on guard duty at the Jhajjar branch of the State Bank of Patiala on February 21.
A mob of hundreds of rioters broke down the gates of the locked bank and set Singh’s bike on fire. Singh, who retired from the army in 1999, armed himself with a rifle.
He told the mob he had 25 shots in his rifle and he wouldn’t allow them to break into the vaults.
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Representational image. Source: Rob Pongsajapan, Flickr
Undeterred, the mob tried to break open the shutters of the bank, which prompted Singh to shoot three rounds, injuring a few rioters and infuriating them.
While they set about redoubling their efforts to to break in, armed with crude bombs and swords, Singh desperately tried to reach out to the police and firefighters on his phone. But no one responded. He then called his family.
The mob threw bombs that triggered a fire inside the bank premises, where Singh was holding strong. But on seeing the fire and that there was no way they could get into the bank now, the mob moved out.
The smoke from the fire rendered Singh unconscious as he awaited help from his family. He was soon rushed to the hospital, where he is now recovering.
He saved Rs 137 crores worth of valuables and cash from getting into the hands of the rioters.
After visiting him in the hospital, Minister of State for Defence, Rao Inderjit Singh, applauded his efforts and promised to recommend the highest civilian bravery award for him.