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Files on Bhagalpur riot victims missing


Patna : Hundreds of files on victims of the 1989 Bhagalpur riots in Bihar are said to be missing from the office of the district administration, in a lapse that could deprive many of the compensation announced by the centre this year.

Official sources said Friday that 2,440 files regarding the compensation claims of victims are missing. Till date 11,415 victims have been enlisted for having suffered a loss or damage to property in the communal riots. Over 1,000 people, mostly Muslim, were killed in the month-long violence.

The central government had sanctioned Rs.298 million in June this year for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of communal riots that had erupted in Bhagalpur town.
The ex-gratia payment to the victims of communal riots in Bhagalpur would be at par with the package announced for victims of anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

Mustaque Ahmad Khan, additional district magistrate, Bhagalpur, who was dealing with the compensation claims, confirmed that the files of many victims were missing or could not be traced. But he said efforts were on to locate them.

“The missing files came to light when a search began for the individual files of victims to study the staus of their compensation claims for preparing the list to be forwarded to central government through the state government,” an official source said.

Under the relief package for the Bhagalpur riot victims, an ex-gratia payment of Rs.350,000 will be paid to the next of kin of each of the 844 people killed in the 1989 communal violence.

The 22 people injured in the riots will be paid Rs.125,000 each, which will be reduced by the amount already paid by the state government.

The riots erupted after a Hindu religious procession was stoned, allegedly by Muslims. Over 1,000 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed in the riots in Bhagalpur city in October 1989.

The state government had earlier provided compensation of Rs.100,000 to over 600 of the 853 people identified as riot victims. Official sources said over 150 victims were not provided compensation due to lack of documents.

Till date, 325 of the accused have been found guilty and sentenced by the courts. “Nearly 125 accused have been awarded life imprisonment till date,” said Salahuddin Khan, a senior lawyer associated with the riot cases.