1984 anti-Sikh riots victims hope to get justice in 2021

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Many of the victims are hopeful that promises made by the Central government will be fulfilled in 2021. …writes Mohammed Suaib Khan

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots was much politicised but even after the completion of 37 years of the incident, the victims are awaiting justice and compensation.

Many of the victims are hopeful that promises made by the Central government will be fulfilled in 2021.

The victims will once again meet National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Chairman Iqbal Singh Lalpura and submit files of 150 such affected who are yet to get a home.

Earlier, the victims had submitted a memorandum to the Commission which sought fulfilment of the promises made by the government.

Taking cognisance of the issue, the Commission had issued notices to seven states.

Sonu Singh, resident of Delhi’s Tilak Vihar and also a victim of the riots said: “At that time we used to reside in Trilok Puri and my father and grandfather were killed by the rioters. At that time I was five-years-old. I have two brothers and we have been given temporary allotment of the house. We still do not have owner’s right. We stayed in a camp for one year after 1984, post which we were moved to Tilak Vihar. The government took Rs 1,000 from us and alotted the house. We have been requesting the governments to give us owner’s right.”

Meanwhile, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi had also promised jobs, free electricity and owner’s right of the houses but nothing was fulfilled.

Talking about the issue, NCM Chairman Lalpura said, “Our aim is to provide speedy justice to the victims. We have issued notices to seven states and will be successful in our endeavour.”

Besides, the Commission has sought information on delay in granting compensation to the victims, and cases submitted against accused and further proceedings.

Sonu said: “The Central and state governments had announced several packages for the victims but there are many people who have not got any compensation. “

Various schemes, including giving freehold of temporary allotments, were promised but not implemented, Sonu claimed.

He also demanded that Rs 2,500 pension given to the elderly should be revised.

Compensation announced by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in August this year should also be given, Sonu said.

Naqvi said: “The government has been blaming the victims. An SIT was formed post which the accused were brought to book. Even process for providing compensation also started.”

However, the Minister did not respond when asked as to how many victims have received compensation.

In August, the Minister had informed the Lok Sabha that the Central government has announced a relief and rehabilitation package, under which families of the deceased will be given Rs 3.5 lakhs, while the injured will get Rs 1.25 lakhs.

The scheme also has a provision of Rs 2,500 monthly pension to the wives and parents of the riot victims.

The expenditure on the pension amount has to be borne by the state governments, Naqvi said.

In 2014 too, the Central government had announced enhancement of the ex-gratia of the riots victim to Rs 5 lakhs.

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs had said for increased relief amount to victims, a provision of Rs 4.5 crore was made in the 2021-22 Budget.

As many as 944 temporary allotments were made to some of the victims, while many are still waiting for it.

The Kejriwal government has been sending electricity bill of Rs 2.5 lakh, while the previous government have not even demanded the power charge, the victims said.

Fifty-year-old victim Balbir Singh said: “I was only 12 when my family was killed. I was thrashed due to which I fell unconscious. I suffered a head injury and my head was tonsured. Till date, I cannot wear a turban. Many of the injured got compensation. I got Rs 2,000 and later Rs 1.25 by the Manmohan Singh government.”

On October 31, 1984, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, after which around 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi. During the period, anti-Sikh riots erupted in various parts of the country.

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