Communalism

Commission Orders Rs 12 Crore Compensation to Haryana Victims of 1984 Anti-Sikh Violence

Sikh minority representatives stand in front of the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva November 1, 2013 after representatives of several NGOs urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to recognize the 1984 killing of Sikhs as genocide. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Sikh activists stand in front of the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva November 1, 2013 after representatives of several NGOs urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to recognize the 1984 killing of Sikhs as genocide. Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

New Delhi: The one-man commission of retired Justice T.P. Garg, comprised to look into violence during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has recommended compensation of Rs 12.07 crore for the families of 36 victims from Gurgaon and Pataudi.

The commission had been created in 2011 by the previous Haryana government to look into the deaths of 32 Sikhs from the village of Hori Chand in Rewari district, and then expanded to include victims from Gurgaon and Pataudi, the Hindustan Times reported. Official records state that at least 47 Sikhs were killed in Gurgaon and 17 others were killed in Pataudi.

Justice Garg’s 300-page report on the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was submitted to the government of Haryana on April 29. The report is still not available for public viewing, but has been accessed by the Indian Express. According to the Indian Express, the commission was appointed to look into cases that had not been investigated by the Nanawati commission in 2000.

According to the Indian Express, the Garg commission report asserts that during the riots, criminals resorted to “nefarious activities”, such as the killing of innocent men, women and children, looting of properties and arson.

“To resolve issues riddled with sensitivity, human misery is difficult to compensate in terms of money,” the report says, adding that victims – for the most part, families that had been uprooted from the homes in Pakistan during the partition – had waited 32 long years for recompense.

Over a course of 109 sittings, the Garg commission examined 150 cases from Gurgaon and 43 from Pataudi, with help from as many as 384 witnesses and 367 documents from the various concerned parties.

The compensation recommended by the commission is split in two – the commission recommends Rs 5.75 crore compensation for those killed and Rs 26 lakh compensation for two cases of injury, as well as Rs 4.8 crore for loss of and damage to property in a total of 96 cases with an additional Rs. 1.21 crore going to 84 cases of loss of commercial property. The commission has also recommended that Rs 5 lakh go to two gurdwaras, one each in Gurgaon and Pataudi.

Justice Garg reiterated the dire need to provide the kin of victims with compensation, saying this was so because “human tragedies of such magnitude are more often than not caused as such by lack of care and caution as by the all-round failure of public authorities, statutory or otherwise, in the due and proper discharge of their functions and duties, especially those concerning enforcement of law and order”.

He also added that the recommendations were subject to “all just exceptions and any decision that the government may take”.