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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Post-Vienna violence: HC seeks record on 'untraced' rioters, facilities to claims panel

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, January 24, 2013
First Published: 21:18 IST(24/1/2013) | Last Updated: 21:20 IST(24/1/2013)

The high court here on Thursday directed the Punjab government to place on record all the 30 reports in which it claimed to have not been able to trace people allegedly involved in the violence of May 2009 in Doaba region. The violence had erupted following the fatal attack on Dera Sachkhand Ballan's Sant Ramanand in Vienna, Austria.

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Besides seeking the 'untraced' reports filed by the state government in various courts, the HC division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain also sought to know on the next date of hearing as to what facilities the government had provided to the claims commission appointed on the HC's directions in June last year to assess the destruction of public and private property.

The directions came during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by NGO General Samaj Manch, whose advocate Hitesh Kaplish asserted that the state government had done nothing concrete in the case except for filing the same affidavits in the court time and again "which is just an eyewash". He said that as per his information, the justice Bali commission had not been provided infrastructure for proper functioning till date.

While former chief justice of the Kerala high court, VK Bali, is the head of the claims commission, former Punjab district and sessions judge CR Goel was appointed as assessor-cum-registrar to estimate the damages that occurred during the violence from May 24 to 26, 2009.

Sant Ramanand, preacher at the Guru Ravi Dass gurudwara on the Jalandhar-Pathankot national highway, was injured in an attack in a Vienna gurdwara during a congregation on May 24, 2009, and later succumbed to injuries. After getting the news, his followers set ablaze a total of 170 vehicles including 32 state-run buses, 23 private buses, seven mini-buses, 17 trucks and 56 jeeps and cars in Jalandhar and some other districts. Eighteen bogies of the Madurai Express were also set afire at the Jalandhar station. The total damage was calculated to be Rs. 7-8 crore.

The case would now come up for hearing on March 20.

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