Punjab govt to pay full compensation to Jodhpur detenus, if Centre fails to pay its share: Amarinder
- TEAM PT
Punjab govt to pay full compensation to Jodhpur detenus, if Centre fails to pay its share: Amarinder



CHANDIGARH, JUNE 25: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday announced his government’s decision to pay the full compensation amount of Rs. 4.5 crore to the Jodhpur detenus if the Centre fails to come out with 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, who were arrested and detained in the Jodhpur prison following ‘Operation Blue Star’ in June 1984.
         
Expressing the hope that the Centre would be forthcoming with its 50% share of the compensation awarded by the court to the detenus, Amarinder said that if, for any reason, the Union Government fails to pay its share then the State Government would take over the entire liability and ensure that the detainees get the much-delayed justice.
         
In the absence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was travelling overseas the Chief Minister decided to take up the issue with the Home Secretary, and demanded immediate steps by the central government to release the compensation awarded by the Amritsar district court. These detainees had been suffering for the past several years for no fault of theirs, he pointed out, calling for a standardized policy to deal with such cases.
         
The Centre should immediately withdraw its appeal in the Punjab & Haryana High Court against the compensation, said Captain, 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.
         
He had last week written a D.O. letter to the Union Home Minister, pointing out that 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 amongst the Sikh community. It was further likely to lead to an avoidable sense of alienation and perceived injustice among the community, the Chief Minister warned.
         
Around 300 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 from the court in 2011.
         
However, 40 of the detainees went in appeal to the District & Sessions Court, Amritsar, and were awarded Rs. 4 lakh each as compensation with 6% interest (from the date of filing of the appeal to payment of compensation) in April last year. The total compensation, including interest, worked out to Rs. 4.5 crore rupees approximately, the Chief Minister pointed out.
         
The court had held the Union and the State Governments as jointly liable for payment of the compensation, 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% share towards compensation, had been approached by a delegation of the detainees two days ago. He had assured the detenus of his government’s all-out efforts to ensure justice for them.
 

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