Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday promised adequate compensation by the state government for the families of 27 men from Punjab who were killed by the ISIS in Iraq.
The CM, however, reiterated his demand for the Centre also to compensate them since the tragedy had occurred overseas.
Amarinder, on compassionate grounds, also ordered immediate release of Rs 20,000 as monthly pension to each of the bereaved families for February and March 2018, waiving the condition of quarterly payouts. He said the deputy commissioners concerned had been asked to disburse the pension amount immediately.
Dismissing the allegation that the families of the victims had not been paid compensation by the state government for the past six months, the CM said payment had been made till January 31, 2018, as on March 21. With the release of the next two months’ pension, the payment was now completely up to date, he added.
Speaking to reporters at the state Assembly, Amarinder clarified that the state government had been paying the monthly pension to 24 families, of which it so far had information.
The CM had earlier informed the House that, as per the information received from the Ministry of External Affairs, there were 27 victims from Punjab, of whom 11 hailed from Majha region and 11 from Doaba, while the remaining were from other parts of the state.
Intervening in a discussion on Leader of the Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s calling attention motion to extend adequate financial assistance to the next of the kin of the bereaved families, the CM told the Assembly that all criteria for compensation in such matters would be duly followed by his government.
He further said his government would not indulge in any politics or arguments with the Centre on grant of compensation, but stressed that it was the Union government’s responsibility also to provide financial assistance since the killings took place outside the country.
In response to questions from members, he said the mortal remains of the victims would take some time to reach India as there were some legal issues, which the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was trying to sort out with the authorities in Mosul.
Amarinder told the members that he was in constant touch with the MEA minister in this regard and had been told that the bodies would land at Amritsar airport once the requisite formalities were completed by the Mosul authorities in Iraq.
He said the coffins with the remains of the deceased would be received at the airport by the state government with full respect and honour, before being handed over to the respective families for the last rites.