Compassionate words of regret put forth in the Parliament by Dr Manmohan Singh during his previous stint as Prime Minister and a resolution of condemnation of operation Blue Star passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha a few years ago, are meaningless for all those, who lost their innocent kin in the Army attack on Harmandar Sahib way back in June 1984.
After elapse of 28 years the kin of innocent victims the number of whom is stated to be around 500, are still waiting for the compensation. Except a meager compensation of Rs 10,000 per casualty provided by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee SGPC, kin of innocents have got nothing during all these years.
The white paper released by the central government to justify the operation Blue Star puts the number of casualties of civilians at 552 including 493 at Harmandar Sahib and remaining 59 at other peripheral Gurdwaras. But, it gives no count for innocents among them.
In contrast the SGPC white paper on the infamous operation puts the number of civilians casualties at 1,500. It also does not segregate the innocents and militants among them.
Army had attacked the holy shrine when a large number of devotees had joined in the holy shrine to commemorate the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev. Although using public address system repeated warnings were made by the Army, but plenty of the innocents, who had reportedly trapped in the stand off between militants hiding inside the shrine and the Army laying seize all around, had failed to come out.
Neither the centre nor the state government ever took an initiative to identify the innocents killed during the operation for the purpose of awarding compensation to their families. On its part SGPC has imparted compensation of Rs 10,000 each to the more than 700 civilian victims including 60 from outside Punjab on the basis of own identification exercise.
A legal expert and Khalsa College Principal Dr Daljit Singh said that the union government’s role in this particular case had proven to be worst than that of colonial rule.
As per records accessed by Jago Punjab Jago India, each of the 487 victims of Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 timely got compensation between Rs 4,000 and Rs 20,000 each depending upon victim’s age and income group. Going by an official memo the compensation amount imparted then if linked to the price of gold, comes out to be between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore in the current price index.
Countered with the query that why his mentor and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal had not taken up the case for compensation to innocent victims of operation Blue Star, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar had no satisfactory answer. He said that the SGPC would shortly write to the Punjab government to urgently take up this case with the PM.
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