Former Asian Championship medallist, Iqbal Singh Boparai, was arrested in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania for murdering his mother and wife on Sunday. Iqbal Singh, who is now 63-year-old, had won a bronze medal in shot put at the 1983 Asian Athletics Championships in Kuwait.
“I just can’t believe that Iqbal killed his mother and wife as he was such a friendly person. I have gone to his place and stayed at his house in Philadelphia. His wife is such a loving and caring lady and his mother must be in her 90s,” a friend of the former sportsman told TOI.
“I don’t know what went wrong with him but he was under severe mental stress for the last few months and was on medication. His children are well settled and only Iqbal can tell why he did this. He even injured himself and is now in hospital,” he added.
“He worked with Tata Steel and then he joined Punjab Police as an inspector. He was posted in Jalandhar,” Iqbal’s friend said that he migrated to USA after making his name as an athlete in the 1980s.
Iqbal Singh, who features in India’s all-time top-20 list, hailed from Urmar Tanda in Hoshiarpur district. He was one of India’s top shot putters in the 80s with his best being a throw of 18.77m which helped him win the gold at the Permit Meet held in New Delhi in September, 1988.
Iqbal Singh was charged on Monday for “killing his wife and mother”, according to local media reports in the US.
Iqbal Singh’s children called 911 as the athlete himself told the police, once they arrived that he had killed his mother and wife.
A release from the police department read: “Singh advised officers that he had killed his wife and mother and they were inside the residence.”
A report in the delcotimes.com said police found an elderly woman’s body, his mother Nasib Kaur on the first floor bedroom and the second victim’s body, his wife Jaspal Kaur, on the second floor bedroom, with the police noting that both victims had stab wounds.
“An affidavit written by a detective indicates both victims had their throats slit. Police recovered a knife covered in blood from the kitchen counter,” a report in the delcotimes.com read. Though the motive of the killings was unclear.
Neighbours say the now-accused killer was well-known. He was often seen walking and meditating in the quiet Newtown Square neighbourhood. But they say something seemed off a day before the killings.
“He didn’t seem to be his usual self. When he was doing his prayers, I just kind of sensed that he was maybe a little bit off or agitated about something,” neighbour Sue Davison said.