SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the state government to deposit Rs 15 lakh for payment of compensation to a man who was injured in cross-fire between militants and government forces at Lal Chowk twenty six years ago.
A division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ali Mohammad Magrey directed Commissioner Secretary GAD to deposit the amount within a week. In case of failure, the commissioner secretary has been directed to appear in person before the court.
The direction followed submissions by deputy commissioner Srinagar, who was present in court, that the amount has not been released by the government.
The victim, Ashiq Hussain Farash of Theed, Harwan, was only nine years old when he was caught in a fire fight between militants and Indian forces on December 17, 1990. Ashiq suffered bullet injuries on the right side of his chest, right collar bone and had nerve damage on his right wrist. Critically injured, Ashiq was rushed to SKIMS Soura, where he was treated for about three days. Later doctors advised him to go to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for specialised treatment.
Ashiq comes from a poor family and his parents could not afford the treatment in New Delhi. Lack of proper treatment adversely affected his health. Ashiq was rendered physically challenged as he could no longer move his right arm. In 2011, two decades after the incident, Ashiq was provided a paltry amount of Rs 20,000 as ex-gratia relief by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar. Ashiq challenged the order of the DC before the High Court and sought compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a class-IV job.
“In a society like ours, governed by rule of law, more particularly when basic human rights are recognised by the constitution, it becomes the duty of the state to protect life, liberty and property of its citizens,” the court said, adding that due to injuries Ashiq has been deprived of practicing any profession, trade or business as guaranteed by the constitution.
“It’s because of the action of the state, the guarantee contained in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, has been infringed, in as much as he is not in a position to lead his life as a normal human being, which status Almighty had given to him as he was born as an able-bodied person and was working as a labourer for making ends meet,” the court said and disposed of his petition with a direction to the state government to pay Rs15 lakh to the victim.