Punjabi Finance Traders in Manila: Risking Lives for Livelihood

by Antariksh Singh

The recent tragic murder of 45-year-old Jagdish Singh Chauhan, a native of Bhandal Buta village in Nurmahal, has once again shone a harsh light on the perilous reality faced by Punjabi finance traders in Manila. Chauhan’s abduction and subsequent murder while on his way to work have left his family shattered, highlighting the persistent dangers that loom over those engaged in financial activities in the Philippines.

According to chilling statistics, on average, one Punjabi involved in finance business meets a gruesome fate every two months in Manila. These figures paint a grim picture of the risks faced by individuals who have chosen this path to sustain their livelihoods. For Chauhan, who had been operating in the financial sector in Manila for over eight years, the dream turned into a nightmare when he was abducted, his body later discovered in a state of decomposition.

Heartbreakingly, Chauhan’s case is not an isolated incident. His cousin Jaswant Singh recounted the similar fate suffered by his younger brother, Balwinder Singh, in 2015. The pattern of violence is chillingly familiar, with numerous cases remaining unsolved, leaving families bereft of closure and justice.

Despite the alarming frequency of such tragedies, the allure of economic opportunities in Manila continues to draw Punjabi men into its fold. Lakhvir Singh, hailing from Mehsampur village in Jalandhar, revealed that despite losing his brother and sister-in-law to violence in Manila, he, too, has relocated there to pursue financial endeavors.

The situation is not limited to individuals seeking fortune alone; families are increasingly joining their loved ones in Manila, driven by a mixture of economic necessity and familial ties. The case of Kulwant Singh and Charanjit Kaur, a couple engaged in finance business, serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced by entire families in pursuit of a better life abroad.

The timeline of killings over the past year paints a harrowing picture of the ongoing violence:

  • Avtar Singh (35) of Ramgarh Sivia village in Ludhiana, March 20, 2024
  • Sukhchain Singh, son of former panch of Lande village in Moga, December 13, 2023
  • Jaspreet Singh (28) of Rode village in Moga, November 28, 2023
  • Gurdev Singh (58) of Khanna in Ludhiana, November 26, 2023
  • Nishan Singh of Randhawa village at Bholath in Kapurthala, August 11, 2023
  • Sukhwinder Singh (41) and his wife Kirandeep Kaur of Mehsampur village at Goraya in Jalandhar, March 28, 2023

These tragic incidents underscore the urgent need for greater attention to the safety and security of Punjabi finance traders in Manila. Families torn apart by violence and communities left mourning their loved ones demand more than just statistics; they demand action to address the root causes of this ongoing crisis.

As the debate rages on regarding the continued influx of Punjabis into Manila’s financial landscape, one thing remains abundantly clear: until concrete steps are taken to ensure the safety of those seeking their fortunes abroad, the cycle of violence and tragedy will persist, leaving behind shattered lives and unanswered questions.

Antariksh Singh

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