The Punjab government issued a notification on Monday to prepare a final list of martyrs of the Kuka Namdhari movement of 1871.
The central government had in 2008 declared the movement as part of India's freedom struggle. As per the central notification, the descendants and legal heirs of the martyrs of the movement would be considered on a par with freedom fighters for grant of pension under the union government's Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme of 1980 and the state government pension scheme, along with other facilities payable to freedom fighters.
For the purpose, the department for freedom fighters has established contact with the Indian Council of Historical Research; director general, archives, New Delhi; director, archives, Punjab; vice-chancellors of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, for sharing information to prepare a list of the martyrs.
After the completion of the process of identification of martyrs and subsequent identification of their descendants and legal heirs, a draft policy shall be prepared and submitted to the central government to finalise terms and conditions for eligibility for pension and other facilities which under existing policies may not cover the descendants and legal heirs of martyrs of the Kuka movement.
Further, as per the state government notification, a committee has been formed with state chief secretary as chairman, principal secretary, freedom fighters; financial commissioner, revenue; principal secretary, finance; joint secretary ministry of home affairs; special secretary, freedom fighters; and deputy commissioners of Barnala and Sangrur as members and director, freedom fighters department, as convener. The committee would give its report in three months.