Relief okay, but give justice to riot victims: Sikh leaders

Amritsar, Punjab: The NDA government’s move to announce Rs 5 lakh aid to the kin of each of those killed in 1984 Sikh genocide has been largely hailed in Sikh circles, but there is a strong feeling that only delivering justice will apply balm on the wounds of the community.

Talking to The Tribune, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh welcomed the move while stating that the government finally thought about the plight of 1984 genocide victims after 30 years. He, however, said that merely announcing compensation will not be enough and the government must expedite legal procedure to punish the guilty.

Bibi Jagdish Kaur, who lost her husband, son and three brothers in the 1984 genocide, said, “Though the monetary aid will help the victims who are still reeling under poverty, no amount of money could compensate the loss of lives of our near and dear ones. If the government really wants to apply balm on our wounds then it must act tough against the culprits who are roaming free in front of our eyes and put them behind bars. The government should set up a special investigating team (SIT) with a time-bound probe.”

Former National Commission for Minorities Chairman Tarlochan Singh said, “It is a bold move on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fact that it has been announced unilaterally makes it all the more commendable. The credit also goes to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.”

All India Sikh Students Federation chief Karnail Singh Peermohammed said though it was a good step the government must also focus on delivering justice to the riot victims.

“These things are important but they don’t matter when you have been denied justice over the last three decades. The government must constitute a special investigating team and set up fast track courts so that the victims see a hope for justice,” he said.

The purview of the compensation should also be widened and those who suffered loss of property should also be included, he said.

Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh termed it a “lollipop” from the Modi government. “The BJP is trying to play double game with the Sikhs, courtesy directionless politics of the Badals. The timing shows that there is a BJP design in it. Sikh community doesn’t need compensation but punishment to the guilty. The question is not of compensation but rights and justice,” he added.

Source: The Tribune

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