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Gateway to Sikhism

Ahooja Committee Report


I N T R O D U C T I O N

 

The Administrator, Delhi vide his order No. F. /PS/HS/87/1226-1237 to 1243 dated 23rd February, 1987 appointed a one man Committee consisting of Home Secretary, Delhi Administration with the following terms and conditions: -

“Where a number of deaths occurred and a number of grave offence were committed in various incidents of rioting following the assassination of the late Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi on 31-10-1984;

And whereas it is necessary to determine the exact number, names and other particulars of persons who were killed during these riots with a view to grant ex-gratia payments and / or other benefits to the next of kin.

Now, therefore, the Administrator of Delhi is pleased to direct that the Home Secretary, Delhi Administration will determine, after calling for claims within a specified period, the final figures of death and the names and other particulars of persons who were killed with in the Union Territory of Delhi during the period of riot from 31-10-84 to 7-11-84, and also will make suitable recommendations regarding ex-gratia payments and / or other benefits to the next of kin.

The Administrator is also pleased to direct that the Home Secretary, Delhi Administration will submit his report within three months from the date of issue of this order.”

The above orders of the Administrator were made as a direct sequel to the report of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry which was set up to enquire into the allegations in regard to the incidents of organized violence which took place in Delhi following the assassination of the late Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi.

The Commission in its report had examined the question of the number of deaths which occurred in the riots in Delhi, in the context of the submissions and affidavits made before it by the Citizens Justice Committee (CJC) and the Delhi Administration and had come to the conclusion that for various reasons it was not easy to ascertain the definite number of people who had died. The Commission had observed that the list supplied by the CJC contained 3949 names. After correcting it for duplication and additions and arthmetical (sic) errors, the total number in this list came to 3874. On the other hand, the Delhi Administration had filed a statement before the Commission admitting the number of deaths during the riots to be 2307. The Commission then went on to observe as follows: -

“The number had, however, to be somewhere between 3870 (arithmetically corrected to be 3874) and 2307 the higher figure coming from the Committee and the lower figure having been admitted by the Delhi Administration. Placed in this situation, the Commission has not endeavored to ascertain the exact number of people who died during the riots. Simultaneously, it is a fact that the matter cannot be taken as concluded until the exact number is ascertained by a further inquiry. Death gives rise to definite consequences and brings in certain considerations. As already found the next of kin become entitled to a compensation of Rs.20,000/- the recommendations of the Commission may bring about certain other benefits and if there be a widow or dependent relations left behind, she is or they are entitled to certain advantages. It is quite likely that in some cases the next of kin may not have come forward to raise a claim on the basis of death. The manner in which the Delhi Administration has been changing the gifure by conceding the claims leads the Commission to accept the position that if there be a further probe and of a close type, it is quite likely that the number may increase

Keeping these aspects in view the Commission recommends that instead of accepting a definite number as a final list, the matter should be kept open for further examination where the number shall not go below 2307 and may not go beyond 3874. But in between the exact number should be ascertained. The modality for ascertaining his should be by the appointment of an officer with full powers to go into the matter and he should give public notice to invite claims of death within the Union Territory of Delhi during the period of riots (October 31 to November 7, 1984) by fixing a time for raising of claims and also a date for finalizing the same in accordance with a procedure behaving the rules of natural justice and figures should be determined. As and when any new name is added to the already accepted list of 2307 by the Delhi Administration, the benefits contemplated in respect of the dead people should be extended to the next of kin. Since delay might make the inquiry not beneficial and modality proposed in the recommendation may be implemented without delay and a time frame should be prescribed.”

It is on the basis of the above recommendations of the Commission, which were accepted by the Government of India, that the task of ascertaining the correct numbers was assigned to the Home Secretary of the Delhi Administration.

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