Providing justice to the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims has been one of the important issues discussed during every election in the Capital.
However, it seems the lives of the victims continue to remain largely unchanged over the last three decades as they are still fighting for compensation, jobs and power subsidy.
“As per the government’s own admission, compensation to families of over 900 families is still pending as per the rehabilitation package announced by the Central Government in 2006. In the first week of March, we had once again petitioned before the Lieutenant-Governor to provide relief to the victims,” said Atma Singh Labana, president of Anti-Sikh Riots Society, Tilak Vihar, the DDA colony inhabited by anti-Sikh riot victims.
The residents complained they are also being overburdened by mounting electricity bills. Till September 2013, electricity bills for around 950 families living in A, B and C blocks were waived off by the government.
Providing power subsidy, the residents said, is one of the major issues they have been raising before the candidates of all political parties. “We are ready to pay the bills, but the government needs to provide subsidy to those dependent on meagre monthly pensions. We have been telling the candidates that we are ready to pay at the rate of Re. 1 per unit,” said Surjeet Singh.
The residents said they even tried to meet Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal when he was the Chief Minister, but before the appointment could be fixed he quit as CM.
While the residents appreciated the decision of the AAP Government to initiate an SIT probe into the 1984 riots cases, “but having seen the outcome of other inquiry commissions constituted in the past” they expressed apprehension “whether the SIT would bring any closure for the victims”.
Mr. Labana said the residents are also planning to file a writ petition in the Delhi High Court “praying for jobs to at least one member of each affected family and allotment of houses to other victims who are still yet to be compensated”.
While around 10 per cent of the houses have new occupants as the original allottees sold off their properties, a majority of the second and third generation residents in the colony earn their living by driving auto-rickshaws, while some have found jobs in call centres.
This time round, the residents seemed to be divided between the BJP and the AAP.