A 60 minutes segment I watched recently profiles men that were wrongfully convicted by Dallas District Attorney office over years. Now, many of these inmates are being released from prison with some help from the same DA office which is re-examining their cases. One man spent 27 years in prison even though he was innocent all those years and was released recently after a DNA test confirmed his innocence. The judge while releasing him said that this is not justice but just an end to the injustice meted out over all these years.
Indian government took one step in that direction for the victims of Gujarat violence today by announcing a $ 77 million compensation package for them. Rs. 3.5 lakhs will be given to the next of kin for each of the 1169 Indians killed in the violence. The 2548 Indians injured in the violence will each receive Rs. 1.25 lakh and an additional of Rs. 262 crore have been allocated to compensate for the damage caused to businesses. This compensation is similar to what was offered to the Sikh victims of 1984 violence.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government think that this is such a bad idea. Health minister and government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas:
“I would further say this package is discriminatory. Between the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and 2002 Godhra riots, many riots have taken place in the country. Why such kind of compensation have not been given to the other riot victims,” Vyas asked.
“Does the nation have a policy to compensate family of those killed in terrorist attacks,” Vays asked.
The UPA government should declare the compensation to the family of victims of all the terrorist attacks, he demanded.
“Why are Akshardham victim not included in the riot compensation package as the attack had direct relation to the 2002 riots. Same type of package should also be given to the family of victims of recent Jaipur serial blasts,” Vyas said.Ã‚Â [Indian Express]
Gujarat government runs one of those rare administrations that has no qualms looking the other way while hundreds of its citizens were being mercilessly murdered. It then proceeded to rub salt to wounds by trying to dismantle the camps where thousands of riot victims took refuge. And then it came up with a compensation package that offered to give Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation to those killed in Sabarmati violence but only Rs. 1 lakh to those killed in subsequent violence. Now, its spokesperson is coming up with such ludicrous pronouncements. As if one man’s injustice should be used as an excuse to serve injustice to another man.
It is indeed laudable that the government of India is providing relief to the victims. However, compensation has been provided by the state government earlier too albeit discriminatorily. It is impossible to fix a price on a life lost and the justice will be served when the perpetuators of violence are prosecuted and convicted of their crimes. We deserve an India where people like Babu Bajrangi can’t live free gloating how they slit open pregnant women. Till then it is just one more step towards the end of injustice.