Thursday saw the first hearing in Amritsar by the committee set up by the National Human Rights Commission to establish the identities of 657 persons allegedly killed in fake police encounters and cremated during militancy in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s. The committee is headed by Punjab’s Home Secretary D.S. Bains.
Amritsar’s Deputy Commissioner KS Pannu, who is the convener of the committee, said a told of 2,057 unidentified bodies were cremated in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Majitha from 1984 to 1994. Out of these, 1388 were identified by the Bhalla Commission.
This committee had been set up by the NHRC as a last-ditch effort to identify the remaining 657 bodies. In all, 60 cases are to be heard by the committee on Thursday and Friday and the entire process has to be completed by August.
A monetary relief of Rs 1.75 lakh each is being given to the next of kin of the deceased.
Lawyer Sudhir Walia, who is representing Punjab Police in the case, said only those people have been called for hearing the names of whose missing relatives figure in the CBI list.
Meanwhile, though crestfallen, the relatives of the those allegedly killed in fake police encounters said they were hopeful of justice finally after years and years.
It’s been a quarter of a century now but for some families, there is still no closure to the harrowing days of terrorism in Punjab.
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