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Manmohan Singh’s pledge to Sikh riot-hit unfulfilled

In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced an enhanced rehabilitation package for survivors of the 1984 riots. “We cannot undo the past, but we have the option of building a better future. Let us help the Sikh community get over the trauma of 1984,’’ he had promised in a speech in Rajya
Sabha in 2005.

Soon after the PM’s announcement, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had issued an order to various riot-affected states to provide jobs to the survivors, in addition to other ex-gratia payment.

It has been six years since the MHA order was issued on January 16, 2006, but the Delhi government is yet to provide a single job despite the fact that Delhi saw the maximum number of killings — 2,733 as per official records.

HS Phoolka, lawyer for the survivors, says, “One Sikh was killed every minute over 48 hours in Delhi, but the survivors are still running around in various government departments.” The Delhi government’s website substantiates the charge. It reads, “1,115 requests received in the office of the divisional commissioner, Delhi, since the announcement of the revised package in January 2006.” But the column for the number of people who have been provided employment, says, “not applicable’’.

An official in the divisional commissioner’s office also confirmed that no jobs have been provided.

So far, the Delhi government has issued offer letters, followed by showcause notices to various candidates. One such candidate Ajeet Singh, whose father was dragged out of his house and burnt alive in ’84, has submitted an affidavit affirming that nobody in his family has a government job (a prerequisite as per the guideline), but he has received no response to his written pleas addressed to the PM, the cabinet secretary and the chief secretary.

Another applicant, Rajvinder Kaur was rejected on the grounds that she had got married. Delhi divisional commissioner Dharam Pal says such cases can be reviewed. Asks Kulbir Singh, president, Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council, an NGO helping the survivors, “Which door should we knock on now? We have sent reminders to everyone.”

News Source: HT

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