The Railways may be quick to announce a fat compensation every time any calamity strikes its passengers, but when it comes to actually paying up, it still remains as bad as any other sarkari department-never mind the celebrated turnaround- as Mohammad Zakir from UP and Jawaid from Bihar have learnt.
Two years after the Samjhauta Express carnage killed their family members, these two men are yet to get the compensation of Rs 10 lakh per victim as had been promised.
This day in 2007 serial blasts had killed 68 on board the Attari Special Samjhauta Express on way to Pakistan. Jawaid (22) had lost his elder brother, sister in-law and their four children, while Zakir (32) had lost his parents besides getting severely burnt himself.
The compensation for Zakir’s mother and Jawaid’s nieces and sister-in-law has not been paid even though all official procedures have been done. “My mother, my three sisters and me have given DNA samples to match that of the dead to establish the kinship. But that’s it,” said Jawaid.
In the last two years, this family from Gaya has travelled to Panipat where the tragedy occurred, to give their DNA samples three times. “They say the DNA did not match. When I ask for a written result of the tests they refuse,” he said.
For Zakir, the tragedy took away his parents and his source of income. “I cannot work with my right hand anymore,” he said. His DNA with his deceased mother had matched but not with that of his father, Mohammad Saddiq.
It has become a yearly ritual for them to travel to Delhi every year on the eve of the anniversary of the tragedy (the blasts took place on February 19) and plead with whoever matters.
Northern Railway officials refused to comment saying the matter was pending before the Railway Claims Tribunal.
Meanwhile, Pakistan government has paid full compensation to all its citizens affected in the blasts.
“I sometimes think it would have been better if they had not promised us anything,” said Jawaid, who said he will not come back next year.