June 23, 2018 09:55 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday assured a delegation of Jodhpur detenues, who met him here, of all efforts by his government to persuade the Centre to withdraw its appeal against the court order granting compensation to them.

The Chief Minister gave a sympathetic and patient hearing to the detainees, who were arrested and detained in the Jodhpur prison following ‘Operation Blue Star’ in June 1984. He told them that the state government was pursuing the matter with the Government of India, which had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the compensation awarded by the District and Sessions Court of Amritsar in April last year.

He had already written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard, the Chief Minister told the delegation.

Captain Amarinder Singh said he had appealed to the central government to pay, without further delay, half the compensation amount of Rs. 4.5 crores that was awarded by the District court.

In a D.O letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the Chief Minister had on Wednesday said 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.

A total of 375 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 further stated, seeking immediate steps by the Union Home Minister to retract the appeal and contribute the 50% share which the central government had been held liable by the court to pay as compensation.

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