M A I N   N E W S

Punjab mass cremations: Commissioner to identify victims
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today appointed Justice K.S. Bhalla, a retired Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, as Commissioner to identify 814 of the total 2097 bodies that were secretly cremated by the police at the peak of militancy in Punjab.

In its order today, the Full Commission said that the Commissioner will hold an inquiry in Amritsar with the assistance of the claimants, state authorities and the petitioners to fix the identity of as many bodies out of the 814. The aim of the inquiry is to award monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased, as solace. The Commissioner has been given eight months to complete the inquiry.

Referring to its own inquiry, the NHRC said that the 1051 bodies were unceremoniously cremated by the state authorities in violation of the rules framed for cremation of unidentified bodies.

For violation of the dignity of the dead and the right of next of kin of the deceased to give an honourable farewell to the departed soul, the Commission has awarded Rs 1.75 lakh each to the next of kin of the 1051 deceased.

The Commission has directed the Punjab Government to deposit within three months Rs 18,39,25,000 for disbursement to the next of kin of the deceased.

The NHRC took up the inquiry into the cremation of 2097 (on reexamination 2059) dead bodies in three crematorium in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Majitha during 1984-94 from human rights’ perspective on the remit from the Supreme Court.

During the inquiry, the CBI submitted three lists- List ‘A’ showing 582 out of those 2097 deceased as fully identified, 278 as partially identified and 1237 as unidentified bodies.



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