Bodies of construction workers killed by Isis in Iraq reach Bengal villages, kin demand compensation
Khokan Sikdar’s wife last talked to him over phone on June 13, 2014. He left for Iraq in 2011 to work for the construction firm, ‘Tariq Noor al-Huda,’ on a four-year contract.
Relatives of the two construction workers who were killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq in 2014 staged agitation on Tuesday when the bodies reached the respective villages in Bengal’s Nadia district.
The agitated members of the two families and local people demanded jobs and compensation for the next of kin of the two dead villagers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced an ex-gratia payment of ₹10 lakh for each of the families of 39 workers killed by the Islamic State in Iraq.
The announcement came after Congress MPs from Punjab staged a protest in Parliament demanding compensation for the workers killed in Iraq. The villagers in Nadia were however did not come to know of this till Tuesday evening.
One of the deceased from Bengal, Khokan Sikdar, 52, was from Ilsamari Madhyapara village in Tehatta. His body reached the village at around 11 am.
Gouri Shankar Dutta, the Trinamool MLA of Tehatta, was present at the spot. The villagers started an agitation in front of him, demanding government and monetary compensation for relatives of the victims.
Dutta somehow managed to calm them down by saying that since the model code of conduct was in force because of the coming panchayat elections he was not in a position to make promises.
The villagers claimed that Dutta had earlier said jobs would be provided for members of the affected families. On Tuesday he said that the matter would be decided by the state and the Central government.
On hearing this, the villagers ended the hour-long agitation. Subsequently, the remains of Sikdar’s body was buried outside his home and not cremated following Hindu norms.
Sikdar’s wife, Namita, last talked to him on phone on June 13, 2014. He left for Iraq in 2011 to work for a construction firm, ‘Tariq Noor al-Huda,’ on a four-year contract, said members of this family. He had plans to return to his village permanently before Durga Puja in 2014.
The second victim, Samar Tikadar, 47, was from Mahokhula village in the Chapra police station area in Nadia. He went to Iraq in 2011 with the help of an agent operating in the district. His last rites were performed at the cremation ground in Nabadwip on Tuesday afternoon.