Government has decided to give Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of 3,325 victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots triggered after assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The compensation to the families of the anti-Sikh riot victims will be given in addition to what they have so far received from the government and other agencies from time to time, a senior government official told PTI.
Of the 3,325 victims, 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone while rest of the victims were from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states.
The Narendra Modi Government had received several petitions from various Sikh organisations in last three months and a decision came on the eve of 30th death anniversary of Gandhi.
The fresh compensation, which will cost exchequer Rs 166 crore, will be disbursed “as early as possible” and hopefully in the next few weeks, the official said.
The anti-Sikhs riots were triggered following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
In 2006, the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a package of Rs 717 crore which included monetary compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh to each killed in the riots besides financial assistance to injured and those who had lost their property.
Out of this only Rs 517 crore had been spent and the remaining Rs 200 crore could not be distributed because of dispute over claimants.
The most affected regions were the Sikh neighbourhoods in Delhi.
Some of the anti-Sikh riot cases are still continuing in courts and many Sikh organisations have alleged that the key conspirators of the violence were at large and victims have not yet got justice.
In 2005, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had apologised for the 1984 anti-Sikh violence saying Gandhi’s assassination was a “great national tragedy” and what happened subsequently was “equally shameful”.
“I have no hesitation in apologising to the Sikh community. I apologise not only to the Sikh community, but to the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.
During an interview, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had admitted that some Congress members were probably involved in the 1984 riots, in which innocent people had died.
“Some Congressmen were probably involved…There is a legal process through which they have gone through…Some Congressmen have been punished for it,” he had said.
Supreme Court lawyer H S Phoolka, who has been fighting anti-Sikh riot cases, welcomed the decision of the government.