Describing the “killing of innocent Sikhs” in the riots that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi as “an act of gravest brutality”, the one-man commission headed by retired Justice T P Garg has recommended Rs 12.07 crore in compensation for the kin of victims in Gurgaon and Pataudi and damage to their properties.
As many as 36 people died in the riots in the two places.
The 300-page report of the commission of inquiry, constituted to probe incidents of violence during the 1984 riots in Pataudi and Gurgaon, was submitted to the Haryana government on April 29. It has not yet been made public.
Justice Garg, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, did not probe cases already investigated by the G T Nanavati Commission which was appointed by the central government in 2000. The Garg commission report, accessed by The Indian Express, underlines that during the riots, criminals resorted to “nefarious activities”, acts of brutality without any parallel in history.
“To resolve issues riddled with sensitivity, human misery is difficult to compensate in terms of money,” it stated, adding that victims had waited 32 years for “just and fair compensation”.
Many of the Sikh victims in Gurgaon and Pataudi were those who had been “uprooted in 1947 from Pakistan”. The report states that rioters killed “innocent” men, women and children, looted houses and even set ablaze properties.
The Haryana government constituted the Garg commission on March 5, 2011 to probe the killings of 32 Sikhs in Hond-Chilhar village of Rewari district. But on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it extended the scope of the commission on July 12, 2012 to also probe incidents in Gurgaon and Pataudi.
The report on the probe into the Hond-Chilhar incident was submitted in March 2015. Accepting the report, Haryana decided to pay an additional amount of Rs 20 lakh to next of kin of victims — in December 2014, the central government had approved Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those killed in the 1984-riots in additio to amounts they had already received from the government.
The Garg commission examined cases of 24 deaths in Gurgaon and 12 in Pataudi, and two cases of injuries in Gurgaon.
A total of 150 claims by Gurgaon victims and 43 by Pataudi victims were examined by the commission during 109 sittings. As many as 384 witnesses were examined and 367 documents were produced by different parties. The entire evidence is spread over 1,882 pages.
The commission has recommended a total compensation of Rs 5.75 crore for 36 deaths in Gurgaon and Pataudi and Rs 26 lakh for the two cases of injuries in Gurgaon.
Total compensation for loss and damage of residential properties in Gurgaon and Pataudi has been fixed at Rs 4.80 crore in 96 cases. Another Rs 1.21 crore has been recommended for loss of commercial property in 84 cases. The commission has also recommended Rs 5 lakh in damages to two gurdwaras — one each in Gurgaon and Pataudi.
“Before concluding, the commission would again, at the cost of repetition, like to record its strong feeling and to say that payment of compensation to those who survived or the next of kin of those who did not may never heal their wounds completely, nor make any material difference in the ground realities unless all those concerned do some introspection to identify the causes for such tragedies and take corrective steps to prevent their recurrence in future,” the report states.
“That is 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.”
The recommendations, Justice Garg said, are “subject to all just exceptions and any decision that the government may take keeping in view the orders of the Hon’ble High Court and the notification of the state government with regard to the eligibility of the petitioners”.