We are not going to accept the Rs 2 lakh compensation and the job of a home guard that the chief minister has offered, Onkarnath Dolui, the father of Uri martyr Gangadhar Dolui, told HT on Thursday.
He spoke while performing the religious last rites of his son, for which he had to borrow Rs 10,000 from his neighbours. The Dolui’s are residents of Jamunabalia village of Howrah district, about 30 km from Kolkata.
Dolui, 64, and was a daily labourer till his son got a job in the armed forces two years ago.
“The compensation amounts to sheer humiliation. The government has offered us Rs 2 lakh, the amount that it offers to the families of persons who die after consuming hooch. We will reject the money as well as the offer for a home guard’s job that will be offered to my younger son,” said Dolui breaking down during the conversation.
The chief minister announced the compensation on Tuesday. Incidentally, the UP and Rajasthan governments are offering Rs 20 lakh and other facilities to the next of kin of the Uri martyrs. Bihar is also offering Rs 11 lakh, and Jharkhand Rs 10 lakh.
Ranjit Ghorai, the elder brother of Biswajit Ghorai, the other Uri martyr from Bengal, however told HT on Thursday that they were in no mood to talk about compensation right now. “We are in such a frame of mind that we cannot discuss these issues. But we have seen the amount of compensation on TV,” said Ghorai.
Howrah Trinamool leader and a member of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, Arup Roy, sounded helpless. “I don’t decide on compensation amount. But you see, the government is also offering the family a job,” Roy said.
In Bengal home guards get paid about Rs 375 a day. But they are ‘laid off’ usually for a day after 90 days of service, so that there is no continuity and they have no claim to a permanent job.
The Dolui’s are a poor lot. The 64-year old told HT that he earned a meagre Rs 170 on the days when he could manage to get some work. At home he had four mouths to feed till his son got the job.
“From tomorrow I shall go out again in search of work. But I have a recurrent problem of hernia and have no vision in my left eye,” said Dolui.
He is still lamenting why he did not speak to his son Gangadhar when he telephoned his mother on September 15. Three days later his son fell silent forever.
Both Gangadhar Dolui and Biswajit Ghorai, who is a resident of Sagar of South 24 Parganas district, were killed when Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck at the army installation in Uri sector of Kashmir. Both were the only earning members of their families.
Both came from poor families, and the members eagerly looked forward to their jobs to gradually climb out of the rut.
Gangadhar promised his father that he will gradually try to turn their thatched house in a pucca one. “The house has tiles on the roof and covered in the rear by plastic sheets. My nephew started negotiating with the mason to start the construction after the pujas,” Thakurlal, uncle of Gangadhar Dolui told HT.