Compensation, relief and rehabilitation of victims of 1984, Anti-Sikh riots
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Dated: April 20, 2010
TO S. Prakash Singh Badal,
As we are aware the victims of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots have been running from pillar to post for justice since more than last 25 years. There are certain promises pending since long, that need to be implemented at the state level, to which you have only offered lip service.
You and your party have been in the forefront when it comes to criticizing the Govt. of India for its failure to deliver justice. The SAD has reaped rich dividends politically by arousing the sentiments of the Sikhs over this emotional issue but unfortunately when it comes to redressal at your level, you have always shirked responsibility. I have myself seen widows of 1984 riot victims being paraded in specially prepared vehicles with emotional slogans under the ‘Danga Peedat’ welfare society banner during the elections in Punjab. Once the elections are gone so are your promises.
You are on record of making a special political statement on 8th June, 1984 calling upon army men to desert their barracks and march towards Amritsar, upon which thousands of Sikh army personnel deserted their barracks. Thereafter army deserters are languishing in jails till date but you never visited even one deserter in jail neither your party offered any legal help or compensation to them. Similarly the widows and other destitutes of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots were offered no legal help or assistance either by the SAD or the SGPC, they were left at the mercy of crusaders of justice like Advocate Mr. Phoolka and others.
You have had the opportunity to head the Punjab Govt. second time post 1984 events first in 1997-2002 and now since 2007. During you earlier stint as CM your political ally NDA headed the Govt. of India from 1999-2004, did you ever ask the then PM Sh. Vajpayee to ensure justice to victims of riots? Did you ever ask the PM for an apology to the Sikh community in the Parliament then? Did your son not share the same benches in parliament with Sajjan Kumar and Tytler then? Posterity would definitely throw light on your performance as a Sikh leader.
Even now the ‘Danga-Peedat’ Welfare Society has been waiting in vain for their share of relief and rehabilitation. They are awaiting allotment of 1700 flats in Ludhiana, 237 in Mohali, 200 in Patiala, besides commercial booths, stamp vendor licenses and reservation in Govt. jobs, but to no avail, who is responsible the centre or the State Govt.? The ‘Danga-Peedat’ society claims that more than 3000 riot victims are awaiting issuance of red cards to avail Rs. 2 lac as compensation by Govt. of India. Being a member of the State advisory committee on rehabilitation, I was told that the Govt. of India has compensated more than 15000 families with a Rs. 2 lac grant, what has the State Govt. done on its part?
Although the Govt. of India and the judicial system cannot absolve themselves of this large scale human carnage that left thousands dead in 1984 but at the same time, you cannot escape responsibility for exploiting the sensitive issue of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots to your advantage politically. Therefore, I feel it is high time that the state Govt. must honour all promises made to victims without any further delay.