If Centre fails, Punjab Govt will pay full compensation for Jodhpur detenus
Chandigarh (Punjab) , June 25 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said that his government will fully compensate the Jodhpur detenus if the Centre fails to come out with its share.
According to a release from the Chief Minister's office, Singh made the announcement after a telephonic conversation with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, whom he called to urge for an early resolution of the matter.
He highlighted the prolonged suffering of the detainees, who were arrested and held in the Jodhpur prison following 'Operation Blue Star' in June 1984.
The Chief Minister expressed hopes that the Centre would be forthcoming with its share of the compensation (50 per cent) awarded by the court to the detenus. He further said in case the Union Government failed to pay its share, the State Government would assume responsibility and ensure that the detainees were served justice.
With Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh travelling overseas, the Chief Minister called upon the Home Secretary for immediate steps by the central government to release the compensation awarded by the Amritsar district court.
He also stated that the Centre should immediately withdraw its appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the compensation, adding that if the central government fails to come to the rescue of the detenus, then the state government will pay the full amount of the compensation.
Around 300 individuals 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.
224 of them 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 appealed to the District and Sessions Court, Amritsar, and were awarded Rs. 4 lakh each as compensation with six percent interest (from the date of filing of the appeal to the payment of compensation) in April last year. The total compensation, including interest, worked out to Rs. 4.5 crore rupees approximately, the Chief Minister mentioned.
The court had held the Union and the State Governments as jointly liable for the payment, and although the Punjab government had given an undertaking to the court to pay half the amount, the Union Government had moved an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order.
The Chief Minister, who has been pursuing the Centre to retract its appeal and contribute its 50 per cent share towards compensation, had been approached by a delegation of the detainees two days ago, whom he assured of his government's efforts to ensure justice for them.