- Officials ‘warn’ them after they return compensation money to CM
- We don’t want money, but justice, say fathers of victims
Srinagar: The families of Kashmiri truckers who were set ablaze by Hindutva extremists in Udhampur on Wednesday have alleged the district administration has threatened to slap the Public Safety Act (PSA) against them after they returned the compensation amount to CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
“On Tuesday evening, we were threatened by the deputy commissioner and tehsildar Anantnag that we will be arrested and booked under the PSA if we highlight the issue before media,” said Ghulam Mohammad Dar, father of one of the victims, Showkat Ahmad Dar. According to Dar, both the officials called him on the phone — of which he claimed to have proof – asking for his bank details so that Rs 50,000 could be deposited in his accounts. Echoing the story, Ghulam Rasool Bhat, the father of another victim, Zahid Ahmad, said they returned Rs 40,000 (Rs 20,000 compensation amount and Rs 20,000 for air tickets) to Mufti during an event at Anantnag on Tuesday.
“The CM received the amount without inquiring about why we were returning it. We gave him Rs 20,000 in cash and a cheque. I don’t want money. I want justice,” Bhat said. He added that the paltry compensation given to them for treatment of their sons, who have received severe burn injuries, was akin to rubbing salt on their wounds.
“The government is misleading the public by spreading false information that compensation of over one lakh rupees was given to us. We were given only Rs 10,000 and air tickets to New Delhi. No official visited our homes,” he added.
Bhat says he will bear the cost of treatment for his son himself, but would like the culprits be punished and justice be done in the case.
“If Hindus would have been attacked here, what would the government’s reaction have been,” he asked.
The duo was flanked by Independent MLA Engineer Rashid, who offered to bear the expenses of the treatment, while handing over Rs 2 lakh in cash to them. “The government is yet to arrest the culprits. When militants are being tracked through social media, why are they unable to catch the accused? The government should hold lectures on communal harmony and brotherhood in Jammu rather than here,” Rashid said.
According to him, a day after the duo was set ablaze, another Kashmiri trucker, Sayaar Ahmad, was also attacked by “Hindu terrorists” on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. But the government refuses to admit it.
“We will bear the expenses for the treatment of these victims because some of our friends are ready to donate money,” Rashid said, while demanding that the “natural” routes to the Valley should be re-opened so that any economic blockade is prevented.