Delhi govt rejects compensation claims of 12 cops who died on Covid duty | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi govt rejects compensation claims of 12 cops who died on Covid duty

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Dec 26, 2020 01:06 AM IST

Since the first case of the disease was reported in the national capital on March 2, 31 police personnel have died of the infection, according to police and state government records seen by HT.

The Delhi government has rejected compensation claims filed by families of 12 out of 15 police personnel who were verified to have died of Covid-19 in the national capital, according to documents reviewed by HT. In rejection letters sent to the families, the city-state’s government argued that the officers hadn’t been “deployed on Covid-19 duty” when they were infected by the coronavirus.

A police official checks the passengers waiting in line to give samples for coronavirus rapid antigen test after arriving at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, in New Delhi.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
A police official checks the passengers waiting in line to give samples for coronavirus rapid antigen test after arriving at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, in New Delhi.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Since the first case of the disease was reported in the national capital on March 2, 31 police personnel have died of the infection, according to police and state government records seen by HT. Of the 31,Delhi police officers have so far confirmed that 15 officers were on Covid-19 duty at the time they were infected and subsequently died.

Three claims are pending with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. Senior police officers are verifying he other 15 deaths before the compensation claims are forwarded to the government.

The Delhi government had, in April, announced 1 crore in ex gratia (Latin “by favour”) for families of frontline workers who are infected by the virus on duty and die of the viral disease. From guarding containment zones to enforcing the lockdown, managing law and order to feeding the homeless across the city, Delhi Police have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.

“We analysed every case carefully and sent them to the government. These were also cases in which the government had promised to award the 1 crore compensation after the deaths were reported by the press,” a mid-level Delhi Police officer, who coordinates with the government’s home and revenue departments, said. “Delhi was a red zone and has around 6,000 containment zones even now. The people who died were on field duty and travelling across the city. Informing their families that the compensation has been rejected is difficult.”

Constable Yogender Prashad Yadav’s family in west Delhi is one of the 12 who received letters from the government rejecting their claim. Yadav, who was posted at the Paschim Vihar police station in outer Delhi, died of the disease on July 7. His father Jagdish Yadav said: “ My son was among those who enforced lockdown norms. He went to different places to ensure that residents follow social distancing norms. He was even guarding containment zones. I want to ask the Delhi government the definition of Covid-19 duty.”

The father added: “When police personnel died on duty of Covid-19, the chief minister had tweeted, promising that the state government would pay their families 1 crore as compensation. We request him to honour that promise.”

In all the 12 claims rejection letters, the government wrote back to the police that “the deceased was performing his routine duty assigned to him and was not deployed for Covid-19 duty, which is a mandatory condition to become eligible for grant of ex gratia of Rs 1 crore.”.

As on Thursday evening, 7,387 Delhi Police personnel were infected with Covid-19, of whom 554 are currently battling the disease.

HT contacted the Delhi government to find out why the claims had been rejected, but there had been no response from the administration as of Friday evening. The state government did not also share details of compensation claims it had accepted and against which it had paid families of frontline workers who have died of Covid-19 till date..

The state government had on April 19,2020 — in the third week of the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 — issued a notification promising 1 crore compensation for the families of frontline workers who die of the disease.

“Any person including Doctor, Nurse, Para-Medical Staff, Security/Sanitation Staff, or any other Government Officer/Official including Police Officer/Official, whether temporary or permanent employee or contractual, in Government or Private Sector, deployed for COVID-19 duties by Government of NCT of Delhi, if expires by contracting the disease. During discharge of his/her duty, his/her family shall be compensated with ex-gratia amount of Rupees one Crore, posthumously,” read the notification. NCT is short for national capital territory.

The national capital on Friday added 758 new cases of the infection, and 30 more deaths.

Aruna Sharma, wife of police inspector Sanjay Sharma, who died of the disease on August 18, said the government’s announcement and subsequent rejection of the family’s claim worsened their condition.

Sharma was posted with a police control room van. “Everybody thinks we will be paid 1 crore as compensation so they do not offer to help. Had the government not made the announcement, our friends and family would have come together to help us through these times. When the lockdown was imposed, the police did not have the liberty to work from home,” Aruna Sharma said.

She said the government’s decision had left them in shock. “Delhi had the most cases across the country at one point. My husband was on field duty. The papers show he even conducted checking on the roads. It was in the police vehicles that accused persons were transported or the food to the homeless was collected for distribution. Currently, we are clueless what to do,” she said.

Police expert Prakash Singh, former chief of the Uttar Pradesh and Assam police forces, as well as the Border Security Force (BSF), said: “If it is true that the policemen died of Covid-19 on duty and yet the cases were rejected, then it is very shocking. When people stayed at home, some essential service providers like doctors, police, chemists were on duty.... The police have to go to a containment zone if duty calls. The police functioning did not stop during the lockdown. They were more visible then. Any cop who was on field duty on the roads then deserve the claim much like the paramedic staff.”

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