Britain’s move to compensate African colonial victims

Amritsar, Punjab:Jallianwala Bagh martyrs’ kin hope to get relief too The British Government’s recent decision to compensate victims of colonial episode in Africa has revived the hopes of Jallianwala Bagh victims’ kin of getting relief on compassionate grounds.

They, however, expressed resentment that even after 65 years of India’s independence, the Centre never pursued the matter firmly and always discouraged them.

Referring to the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Jallianwala Bagh on February 20, Bhusan Behl (65), whose grandfather Lala Hari Ram Behl, then 36, was killed at the entrance of the Jallianwala Bagh, claimed he had got an appointment with Cameron from the British High Commission.

“I kept waiting for four hours at a hotel to meet officials of the British High Commission, but the local administration did not let it happen. Some of us were detained in our houses till the British PM left the city. Now, we hope our case might find a place on the British agenda as has been done in case of Kenyan victims,” he said

Sunil Kapoor (37), whose great grandfather Vasu Mal Kapoor had died three days after sustaining bullet injuries in 1919, had managed to hand over a list of 501 martyrs to the British High Commission officials who were accompanying Cameron.

“The British PM’s visit was meaningless for us because it ended up as a politically motivated tour. On the instance of the state government, the local administration desisted us from expressing our cause before them. But I had managed to hand over a joint representation to British officials,” he said.

“My father, Jagdish Lal Kapoor, was just two years old at the time of the incident. We did not get a single penny as compensation. We can hope for justice only if our government pursues the matter with the British government,” he narrated.

After the British PM’s visit, the state government had formed a committee to make an “authentic” list of martyrs’ kin. Directions were also issued to the district administration, but the panel has failed to yield any result till date. “Most of the people submitted affidavits of their authenticity with the district administration three months ago, but the authorities have no clue about their case,” said Kapoor.

The Jallianwala Bagh martyrs were conferred upon the freedom fighter status in 2008, but their kin were denied any privileges usually bestowed upon the families of freedom fighters.

      New Trust members

New Delhi: Union Minister Ambika Soni, and former PPCC chiefs Virendra Kataria and HS Hanspal have been nominated by the Centre to serve on the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust. The trust, which is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the site, has the Prime Minister, Punjab Chief Minister, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Culture Minister as its members. The three nominees will serve on the trust for a period of five years. — TNS

The British PM’s visit was meaningless for us because it ended up as a politically motivated tour…My father was just two years old at the time of the massacre. We did not get a single penny as compensation.
— Sunil Kapoor, kin of martyr Vasu Mal Kapoor

Source: The Tribune

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