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Iraq victims’ kin not getting Rs 20,000 monthly aid for 6 months

The families’ financial condition is not good as most of them have lost their sole breadwinners.

punjab Updated: Mar 21, 2018 22:07 IST
Jatinder Mahal
Jatinder Mahal
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Indians killed in Iraq,ISIS,Iraq victims
Wife Amarjeet Kaur and other family members of Gobinder Singh, a native of Murar village of Kapurthala district, mourn his death following confirmation by Sushma Swaraj that he had been killed in Iraq, on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The families of ISIS hostages in Iraq, who were declared dead by the external affairs minister on Tuesday, have not been getting financial assistance of Rs 20,000 each since October last year, belying the Punjab government’s claims of providing them the sum on a regular basis.

The 39 men, most of whom hailed from Punjab, were abducted by the ISIS in June 2014. The Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government in July 2014 had announced to provide Rs 20,000 a month to the distressed families of Punjabis stuck in conflict-affected Mosul town in Iraq.

The families’ financial condition is not good as most of them have lost their sole breadwinners.

“This is a difficult phase of our life and the government has only worsened it. We are penniless and have not received even the promised aid for last six months,” said Amarjeet Kaur, the widow of Gobinder Singh of Murar village in Kapurthala.

She said the family is yet to repay over Rs 2 lakh they had borrowed for sending her husband to Iraq besides meeting domestic expenses.

“Due to poverty, my elder son Amandeep Singh (now 19) had to drop out of school and he started working in a factory. I am working as a household help to make the family’s ends meet. My younger daughter Karandeep (17) is studying in a government school. They (government) should provide a government job to my son,” Amarjeet said.

Harbans Kaur, the mother of victim Surjit Singh Mainka (30) of Jalandhar, said they sent him (Surjit) to Iraq after borrowing Rs 2.5 lakh, which is yet to be repaid.

“We are three members in the family and his father is working to make the ends meet. The government aid of ₹20, 000 helped us to an extent but we are not receiving that anymore,” she said.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged the central government to announce an ex gratia relief to the families of the Indian nationals killed in Iraq.

“The government should immediately provide a government job to a member from every victim’s family on compassionate grounds,” said Manjeet Kaur, widow of Dawinder Singh from Chak Desh Raj in Jalandhar.

Kaur, works as a housemaid, has three minor children.

Admitting delay in disbursing the relief, Kapurthala deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab said, “We have received the sum of three months and it will be disbursed among the families. I do not know the exact reason behind the delay as the assistance is being given from the chief minister’s relief fund.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 21:04 IST