Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today urged the Centre to withdraw its appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the award of compensation to those arrested and detained in the Jodhpur prison following the 'Operation Bluestar' in 1984.
Singh appealed to the central government to pay, without further delay, half the compensation amount of Rs 4.5 crore that was awarded by the District and Sessions Court of Amritsar in April last year, according to an official release.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the chief minister said the central government's appeal against the compensation, which the court had held to be jointly payable by the central and state governments, had evoked a strong reaction amongst the Sikh community.
It was further likely to lead to a sense of alienation and perceived injustice among the community, the chief minister said. A total of 375 people were arrested and detained in Jodhpur jail after the 'Operation Bluestar', 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 four lakh each as compensation with six per cent 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 approximately, the chief minister said. The court had held the central 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 said.
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