Terming Government’s compensation as a “cruel joke”, the families of Kashmiri drivers who were burnt by a mob in Udhampur last week rejected the compensation that was paid to them by the PDP-BJP government. The families also returned the amount of Rs 20, 000 which was provided to them by the state as compensation to the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during a function in Anantnag on Tuesday. While addressing a press conference, the families of both the injured youth Wednesday said that government’s compensation was “cruel joke.” “We will not take any help or any sort of compensation from the government. We need justice which will be delivered to us only after those who assaulted our children are sternly punished,” parents of the injured youth said. “How can Rs.10, 000 be enough to treat our sons who have sustained severe burn injuries? Yesterday, during Mufti Sahab’s visit to Anantnag we both returned him a cheque of Rs.20, 000 and cash which he took shamelessly and left without saying anything,” said Ghulam Rasool Bhat father of one of the victim, Zahid Ahmad Bhat. The families said that authorities were making baseless claims of providing Rs 1 lakh compensation to each family and called it a “blatant lie”. “We were shocked to learn that government had informed people through media that Rs. 1, 20,000 was given to the family of each victim. The Deputy Commissioner Anantnag has given us just Rs. 10,000 and air ticket to New Delhi. Not a single official has visited to our homes to console us. We are ready to bear expenses of our own as the government has failed completely to save our children,” he added. The families of the victims also accused Deputy Commissioner and Tehsildar of Anantnag district for threatening them to book them under PSA if they “highlight” the issue. “After returning the money to the CM, DC and Tehsildar called us and threatened that they will book us under PSA if we don’t remain silent and try to highlight the issue of our children,” he said. “I couldn’t see the condition of my son who the doctors said was 70 percent burnt. After returning from New Delhi the local Tehsildar threatened me that he will arrest me and charge me under PSA. Later in the evening the DC and Tehsildar called me on phone and said that he will give me Rs.50,000 for my son’s treatment,” Ghulam Muhammad Dar father of another victim, Showkat Ahmad Dar, said. The families demanded that the culprits should be identified and punished sternly. “The culprits are roaming freely while the authorities are failing to nab them. Now that our sons have suffered but we don’t want other Kashmiris to suffer in future as people here move to the others states for business. We don’t need any compensation but the culprits should be identified as soon as possible and should be punished severely,” Dar added. MLA Langate, Engineer Abdul Rashid, who had arranged the press conference of the families, claimed that he will bear the cost of treatment for the victims and had given Rs.2 lakh for their medical treatment in New Delhi. “I want to tell Mufti sahib that Rs.10, 000 is not enough to treat the injured youth who are battling for their lives.We Kashmiris are not beggars who will be dependent on government even for the treatment. The government has given them just Rs.10,000 and defamed them from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. So today we are announcing that we will bear the expenses for the treatment of these victims as some of our friends are ready to donate money,” he said. Er. Rashid said that government has failed to safeguard Kashmiri youth residing outside valley. “This incident is quite shameful as a day after the incident another youth Sayar Ahmad was injured who is being treated in SMHS hospital. Ironically, the government is denying that any such incident has occurred. We fail to understand why the government is failing to trace the culprits when it often claims to have traced and killed upper ground militants by using technology,” he added. Er Rashid claimed that economic blockade won’t impact valley, adding that the natural routes are enough to sustain people here. “Let they do economic blockade but we are asking them (government) to open the natural routes. We can live without importing potatoes and other vegetables from India,” he said.
2015 Kashmir Despatch