If Centre doesn’t, Punjab will pay compensation to Jodhpur detenues: CM

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Chandigarh, June 26 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday announced that his government will pay full compensation amount of Rs 4.5 crore to the Jodhpur detenues if the Centre fails to give its share.

The Chief Minister made this clear after a telephonic conversation with Union Home Secretary RajIv Gauba, whom he had called up to urge for early resolution of the matter in view of the prolonged suffering of the detainees.

Expressing hope that the Centre would be forthcoming with its 50 per cent share of the compensation awarded by the court to the detenues, the Chief Minister said if the Central government fails to pay its share, then the Punjab government would take over the entire liability and ensure that the detenues get the much-delayed justice.

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“The Centre should immediately withdraw its appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the compensation,” Amarinder said.

The Chief Minister, who met the deteneus here on Saturday, told them that the state government was pursuing the matter with the Central government, which had moved the high court against the compensation awarded by the District and Sessions Court of Amritsar in April last year.

The deteneus were arrested and detained in the Jodhpur prison following Operation Blue Star in June 1984. Some of them languished there for years. Amarinder Singh said that he had already written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard.

He appealed to the Central government to pay, without further delay, half the compensation amount of Rs 4.5 crore that was awarded by the Amritsar court.

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In his communication to Rajnath Singh, the Chief Minister had said the Central government’s appeal against the compensation, which the court had held to be jointly payable by the union and state governments, had evoked a strong reaction among the Sikh community.

A total of 375 persons were arrested and detained in Jodhpur jail in the wake of Operation Blue Star and were later released in three batches, between March 1989 and July 1991.

Of these, 224 detainees had appealed for compensation in the lower court, alleging “wrongful detention and torture” but they failed to get any relief in 2011.

However, 40 of the detainees went in appeal to the District and Sessions Court, Amritsar, and were awarded Rs 4 lakh each as compensation with 6 per cent interest (from the date of filing of the appeal to payment of compensation) in April last year.

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The total compensation, including interest, worked out to Rs. 4.5 crore approximately, the Chief Minister pointed out.

While the Punjab government had given an undertaking to the court to pay half the amount, the Union government had moved an appeal in the high court against the order.

–IANS

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