Stirred by the plight of murdered nurse Bhanwari Devi's children who are facing social stigma, the Rajasthan government on Sunday announced a relief package to help them complete their education and lead normal lives. The three children were left with no means to survive after their father's arrest in the infamous case.

Unable to cope with the agony and disgrace following the disappearance and subsequent murder of Bhanwari Devi, Sahil (18), Ashwini (15) and Suhani (7) have been forced to stay indoors in their village, Borunda, near Jodhpur with their 70-year-old grandmother Pooni Devi and have been surviving on the meagre family pension.

Bhanwari Devi's husband, Amar Chand, was arrested on charges of abetting the murder at the behest of some politicians and accepting money for the crime. He is at present in judicial custody.

Job for son

According to official sources here, the matter was reviewed on Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's instructions and a decision taken to “secure the future” of the three children. The relief package involves a job for Sahil and financial assistance from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund to the children.

Sahil is to be appointed as lower division clerk in a government department, while the family would be paid Rs. 2 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund and another Rs. 2 lakh under the provision for compensation on their mother's murder. With this money, fixed deposit accounts will be opened in a bank for the two girls.

The State government will also pay cash assistance of Rs. 50,000 each on the marriage of the two girls. “If the three children wish to stay in hostels run by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, they would be provided with all facilities free of cost along with the post-matric scholarships for higher education,” said the sources.

The two girls have been expelled from school for being absent for four months, while Sahil has stopped going to college following taunts and also because he has to make rounds of courts and police stations after Amar Chand's arrest.

Probe into dismissals

According to the sources, the State government would probe the reports about the school forcibly expelling the children and help them in getting admission to schools and college of their choice. Treating the matter as a ‘special case,' the children would also be covered under the Paalanhaar Yojana, in which Rs. 675 is paid every month to a child's guardian.

The three children will also get an annual financial assistance of Rs. 2,000 each. The sources said the package had been announced under the guidelines of compensation to the dependents of victims, social justice schemes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the norms of the Personnel Department.

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