Twenty-three years after the anti-Sikh riots broke out in the city in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Delhi government has finally worked out a complete compensation package for the victims and their families.
This came after repeated reminders from the Union Home Ministry to work out a new package keeping in view all aspects of the riots. In March this year, the Home Ministry had severely indicted the state government for poor rehabilitation of the victims and their families.
Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan on Monday said a budget of Rs 57 crore has been earmarked for the victims and their families and it covers all aspects. “Those who went missing in the riots and are still untraceable would be treated as dead and their family would be entitled for pension,” said Chauhan.
A Cabinet note on the issue has already been prepared and is likely to be passed around October 31, the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi, whose assassination triggered one of the worst communal pogrom post partition.
According to the Cabinet note, the wives of those who suffered 70 per cent disability or more or are missing since 1984 would get a compensation of Rs 2,500 per month. This amount would be given from the date it is notified and not since 1984 when the incidents took place.
Other widows, who are getting a pension of Rs 1,000 per month would now get Rs 2,500 per month.
In addition, there would be a rehabilitation grant of Rs two lakh each to the families who migrated to Punjab and other states and did not return to Delhi.
These categories were not dealt with earlier.
Compensation would also be paid in proportional terms to 923 commercial property owners whose property was damaged and 454 owners of residential property.
However, the Delhi government is yet to address other issues raised by B.A. Coutinho, Joint Secretary (UT) in the MHA to the Delhi government in March this year. This pertained to employment of the children of riot victims.
Committees headed by D.K. Sankaran and K.P. Singh had recommended that preference be given to the children of the riot victims in the recruitment of the police forces and the Public Sector Undertakings. In addition, the state government was supposed to launch special recruitment drive for the dependants of the victims. This is yet to be done.