Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, of has written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to give adequate compensation to the families of children who were killed in the communal violence in north east Delhi in February 2020.
Karat had recently met the family members of the two victims, and was told that thwere was discrimination being shown in the compensation given for the death of a minor as announced in the Government’s “compensation package” scheme. Five lakh rupees is the allocated compensation for a minor who was killed, and for an adult who was killed, it is ten lakh rupees.
The families of two victims, Nitin Paswan the 15-year-old son of Ram Sugarak, and Amin, the 17 year old son of Shahabuddin, will therefore get only that small amount. Karat wrote to Kejriwal that it is presumed that an adult victim is an earning member whose death “deprives the family of an income”, and thus more compensation is required for them. However this understanding is “devoid of compassion itself is flawed”, stated Karat. According to her the “usual definition used of an “earning member” is not sensitive to the reality in poor self employed families”. She pointed out that in such families, the “children even while attending school, take on adult responsibilities as far as assisting in family enterprises is concerned.”
Both Nitin and Amin helped add to their family earnings. After school and on holidays, Nitin often helped his father who sells goods from a handcart. Amin was an apprentice at a motorbike repair shop and assisted his family. “Therefore if the ground for compensation is the income loss to surviving members of the family of the victim then in both cases the victims’ families are eligible for the full compensation of ten lakh rupees,” wrote Karat, hoping that the Delhi Chief Minister would do so before the children’s first death anniversary is observed next month.
The full text of her powerful letter may be read here:
Dear Shri Arvind Kejriwal,
I recently re-met the family members of two victims, both minors, who were killed in the communal violence in north east Delhi. They informed me of the discrimination in the compensation given for the killing of a minor in the Government’s “compensation package” scheme. The compensation for an adult who was killed is ten lakh rupees whereas the compensation for a minor is put at five lakh rupees.
There were two such victims, Nitin Paswan the 15 year old son of Ram Sugarak, and Amin, the 17 year old son of Shahabuddin.
Presumably, the difference in compensation is because an adult is an earning member and the death of an earning member deprives the family of an income, thus more compensation is required. This understanding devoid of compassion itself is flawed but even within this framework, unfortunately, the usual definition used of an “earning member” is not sensitive to the reality in poor self employed families where children even while attending school, take on adult responsibilities as far as assisting in family enterprises is concerned.
Even on these grounds, both Nitin and Amin helped in the family earnings. Nitin’s father is an owner of a goods carrying handcart and Nitin often helped him during his during his free time after school and on school holidays. Amin was an apprentice in a motorbike repair shop and from time to time assisted his family. Therefore if the ground for compensation is the income loss to surviving members of the family of the victim then in both cases the victims’ families are eligible for the full compensation of ten lakh rupees.
But in addition, I believe the Delhi Government must take into consideration the huge emotional loss, injury and trauma suffered by the parents of a minor, killed in the terrible violence. This as we all know is incalculable. It is only appropriate that a family suffering the loss of a child should be compensated a fair amount as an expression of the sympathy of the Government and society. In both the cases given the socio-economic profile of the families when both the earning members are without a fixed income, it would be in the interests of justice to extend the compensation to the ten lakhs rupees which victims of the families have received from the Delhi Government.
As you know the first death anniversary of their children will fall next month, at the end of February. It will be an important message of justice from your Government that both these families receive the remaining five lakh rupees on such a sad occasion.
Hoping for a positive response,