British govt had offered ‘relief’ to massacre victims 2 yrs later - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

British govt had offered ‘relief’ to massacre victims 2 yrs later

British govt had offered ‘relief’ to massacre victims 2 yrs later

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 9

Amid unending wait for an apology from Britain for the most heinous act of the colonial era at the Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919, there is documentary evidence that two years later the then British government had offered “liberal compensation” to the victims of the massacre.

This document under the head, “Payment of compensation on account of persons killed and wounded at Jallianwala Bagh”, lies in the records of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar.

On June 15, 1921, the English government, under the signatures of the then Commissioner of Lahore Divison A Langley, had issued a circular that the families of persons killed, injured and those who suffered loss of property at Jallianwala Bagh and other places in Punjab in 1919 can make a claim before July 20 to the specially constituted compensation committee. Langley was the president of the committee. However, several victims were finally given compensation on the recommendation of the committee, whereas many cases lingered on in dispute.

As per records, the victims were categorised on the basis of the areas they belonged to — Amritsar city, Amritsar tehsil, Ajnala tehsil and Tarn Taran — and the compensation was calculated while evaluating their age, occupation, annual income and property.

The compensation amount recommended by the committee ranged from Rs 50 to Rs 1.1 lakh for victims and their families.

A total of 203 families of martyrs approached for compensation. As many as 142 martyrs’ families belonging to Amritsar city were recommended to be given Rs 12.34 lakh, 30 families from Amritsar tehsil were proposed to be paid Rs 1.19 lakh and 20 from Tarn Taran Rs 76,379. Around 11 families of martyrs also claimed the compensation.

There were around 142 wounded persons, who claimed damages. As many as 42 families from Amritsar tehsil were recommended by the committee to be given Rs 62,470, six from Tarn Taran to be paid Rs 9,882 and five from Ajnala Tehsil Rs 4,950. There were other 89 families from Amritsar city who also approached for compensation.

Record also speaks about nine beneficiaries who suffered loss of property. Their damages were evaluated at Rs 10,717 in total. Mohan Lal, a commission agent based at Phullanwala in Amritsar city, who was 46 when shot dead at the Jallianwala Bagh, was proposed to be given the highest compensation of Rs 1.1 lakh. He had an annual income of Rs 9,000.

The father of deceased Gian Chand, a resident of Chowk Passian who was just 15 then having annual income of Rs 300, was recommended to be paid Rs 786 as compensatory amount.

Similarly, Asa Ram (24 then), resident of Chowk Pasian and a tailor, had got injured as bullet pierced through right forearm leaving him permanent partial disabled. He was proposed to be paid Rs 3,530 as compensation, including Rs 200 for medical treatment. A shoemaker, Saraj, resident of Jandiala, who received bullet injury on his left shoulder, was proposed Rs 70 as compensation.

Vir Nath, a beggar from Bagichi, Patiala, who got a petty injury, was recommended to be paid Rs 60.

Ram Jass (44 then), resident of Katra Dulo, who ran “gota” and “tilla” shop, got permanent injury. The surgery resulted in shortening of his leg. His compensation was recommended at Rs 25,594, including Rs 6,000 as medical aid.

Musammat Jainiti of Katra Ramgarhia, who claimed Rs 100 as price for two calves killed in the Jallianwala Bagh while grazing, was recommended to be paid Rs 50.

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