The Union Cabinet has finally approved the decision to give additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The issue had generated a lot of controversy when it was reported on October 31 that the Union home ministry has decided to give additional compensation Rs 5 lakh to 3,325 victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
However, later, when questioned by the Election Commission, as the model code of conduct was in force due to bypolls to three assembly seats in Delhi, the ministry denied taking any such decision.
But the EC pulled up the ministry, saying that if no decision had been taken why did it fail to issue any statement denying media reports.
The earlier decision was reported on the 30th death anniversary of Indira Gandhi, whose assassination by her Sikh bodyguards triggered the riots. Of the 3,325 victims, 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone and the rest in states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Delhi is headed for fresh assembly polls to be likely held in January end or early February next year.
Earlier in 2006, the UPA government under Manmohan Singh had announced a package of Rs 717 crore for the 1984 riot victims, which included Rs 3.5 lakh for the families of the dead and financial assistance for the injured and those who lost their property.
This package could not be fully disbursed due to disputes among claimants and around R200 crore of it remains unutilised.
The fresh compensation - which came after the home minister received numerous petitions from Sikh outfits - is likely to cost the exchequer Rs 166 crore and will be in addition to whatever the families have received earlier.