3 families, one demand: Hang Afzal Guru | delhi | Hindustan Times
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3 families, one demand: Hang Afzal Guru

A decade after the attack on Parliament, the families of martyrs are yet to come to terms with their loss. Shaswati Das reports. Afzal’s fate sealed | Nation remembers Parliament attack victims | Watch video| Tribute to martyrsvideo

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2011 14:16 IST
Shaswati Das

A decade after the attack on Parliament, the families of martyrs are yet to come to terms with their loss.

One of the martyrs, Matbar Singh Negi — a security man of the watch and ward department of Parliament — who was stationed at Parliament's Gate number 11, succumbed to his injuries at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital three days after the incident.

Today, his family is left with a half-hearted compensation given by the government.

"The government responded quickly to the incident, and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the deceased. Of this, Rs 6 lakh had to be awarded by the Centre and Rs 4 lakh by the state. But, a senior officer refused to sanction Rs 4 lakh as ex-gratia. It was only after a long wait that the chief minister's office disbursed the amount," said a relative of Matbar Singh Negi, requesting anonymity.

Negi was among the nine victims of the 2001 attack.

"The manner in which the compensation was given, shows that the government wasn't really bothered about us," he added.

The families of martyrs were also allotment a petrol pump each. This, ironically, added to their misery.

"The government was supposed to allot land to martyrs' families for setting up a petrol pump. The DDA, however, told us they did not have any land. It was only after running from pillar to post for seven years that the DDA finally decided to grant us the land," he said.

Negi was awarded the Ashok Chakra in 2002.

His family, however, returned the award in 2007, protesting the impasse on Afzal Guru's death sentence.

"It was shocking to see that the mastermind behind the attack could not be taken to task. We decided to return the award as a mark of protest. But to date, the President's office has not even written to us regarding the move. It is impossible for us to fight a system that does not respect the people who have laid down their lives for the country," added Negi's relative.

The only real compensation that the family received was in the form of an assured job for Negi's son, who today serves as a security official at the Parliament House.