Hoshiarpur(Punjab)/Paris: Tales of heroism generally don't find place in French newspapers but the case of Rajinder Singh has been met with exceptional passion amid prevailing public anger over pick-pocketing, snatching and eve-teasing.
Indian immigrant Rajinder Singh alias Babbu, 33, died after some miscreants threw him out from a running metro train while defending a French woman.
"This is the first time I've seen such a strong reaction to the story of a death in our pages," said Antoine Barret, editor of the Daily Le Parisien.
Rajinder Singh was killed after he intervened to stop some Arab men molesting a French woman in city metro train.
An article describing Singh's simple life on Tuesday, titled "Babu, hero of the metro" drew more than 700 comments, with many readers offering to raise the 5,000 euros it would cost to send his body back home to India.
French ministers Marani and Frederick Mintra arrived at the metro station to pay homage to slain Babbu. Transport minister Marani told media that Babbu was a hero and Paris Transport Authority will pay the flight fare for his family to transport his body to India. Culture minister Mintra said that Babbu truly represented the Indian culture.
It's worth mentioning here that Babbu came to France seven years back. He worked as a delivery boy who didn't know any language except Punjabi. He had to simultaneously work at two places as he had to arrange money for her sister's marriage back home as well as for his Paris expenses.
Paris police had recently arrested an accused in connection with the death of Babbu who intervened to stop him harassing a young woman on the metro.
When Singh, who came to France seven years ago from his native Punjab and was known to family and friends as “Babu”, tried to intervene, the attacker pulled him off the train, fought with him and then shoved him off the platform onto the tracks where he was electrocuted by the live rail.
Before the fatal incident that took his life, Babbu had shifted to a new house with his girlfriend Vimla.