Violence Has 15320 Civilian Lives
25 March 2005
The Times of India
Jammu: In Jammu and Kashmir, 15, 320 civilians have lost their lives in militancy-related violence and the government is still 'in process' of increasing the ex gratia amount to Rs 2 lakh. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed admitted in the Legislative Assembly today that since the government is not able to provide jobs to the families who have lost a member to militancy-related attacks, it had recommended to the Central government to increase the amount of ex gratia from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. However, the demand is still under consideration with the Centre and no decision has come forward yet. CM was answering while replying to a supplementary raised by NC's Ali Mohammed Sagar during a question raised by NC's Kalakote MLA, Rashpal Singh, who had demanded that the government should increase the ex gratia relief for SPOs killed while on duty from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, citing the threat perception under which the SPOs work. Although, Abdul Rehman Veeri, MoS Home, refused to commit anything on enhancement of ex gratia to SPOs, he informed the House that government had enhanced the monthly salary of 500 SPOs to Rs 2500 and would increase it further while cases of 500 other SPOs are under consideration for the same. Besides, Veeri also stated, 'In order to encourage the SPOs who show outstanding performance, they are given a chance to join the police force, too.' However, replying to another of the supplementaries, Veeri said, 'Village Defence Committee is a voluntary force, therefore, there is no honorarium involved.' Expressing concern over poor wages of SPOs, a number of MLAs demanded enhancement of wages as well as increasing other benefits to the police force. M.Y. Tarigami of CPI (M), demanded, 'SPOs should be brought under the Minimum Wages Act and government should increase the ration money being paid to the police personnel.' Ashwani Kumar, Bishnah MLA, charged, 'VDC members in far- flung and border areas have not been paid regular salaries for the past four years.' NC's Ali Mohammed Sagar also asked the government to furnish details of the civilians, who are victims of militancy- related violence and who had been paid the ex gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh. The government reply, to this question, informed that 22, 054 SPOs have been engaged for all the districts of the state and while 4, 782 SPOs have been attached with VDCs in Jammu division, in Kashmir division, the figure is 101. Remaining SPOs are deployed with various security agencies, police stations and police posts for operational purpose. In Jammu division, there are total of 3,411 VDCs while in Kashmir division, only 20 VDCs have been constituted in Kargil district. According to the government reply, 313 SPOs were killed and 299 injured till date while on the other hand, 24 VDC members were killed and 10 injured.