Families of Slain BJP Workers in J&K Allege No Compensation, Differential Treatment by Govt

The wife of Fida Hussain Yatoo, 29, the slain BJP youth leader from Kulgam in Jammu and Kashmir, has alleged official apathy and discrimination as her request for the government compensation is being delayed for the last one year.

Shagufta Sayeed, 30, whose husband was killed along with his two colleagues by militants in Kulgam last October, has so far received Rs 1 lakh as relief from Red Cross, but has been awaiting ex gratia as per government rehabilitation rules.

Sayeed claimed that officials at Anantnag deputy commissioner’s office, where the case is put up for compensation, were delaying her request.

“One day we are told that one verification is pending and next day, some other formalities are needed to be done. For the last seven months, this is what we have been facing,” she says.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said he would look into the issue. “Now that you have brought this up, we will work into such cases,” Sinha said on Wednesday.

Piyush Singla, deputy commissioner, Anantnag, told News 18 that he has forwarded the case to higher authorities. “I will update you after going through the records,” he said.

Yatoo’s killing was carried out by militants of The Resistance Front (TRF), which continues to target BJP and has attacked four party functionaries last month, according to the J&K Police. Altaf Thakur, BJP spokesperson for Kashmir, said 23 party workers have been killed in militant attacks in the last two years.

A homemaker till Yatoo’s death, Sayeed has taken up a job at a private school to take care of her daughter Rahiba, who will turn two in October. “I would prefer a government job as a compensation to raise my daughter but somehow we are finding it hard to push the case. We are being tossed around from one table to another,” Sayeed said.

Although other families of slain BJP workers have been doled out as much as Rs 40 lakh in compensation, Yatoo’s family is yet to receive relief from the government.

Yatoo’s father, Master Gul Mohammad, 58, said, “I fail to understand why there is so much of a disparity. One victim’s family is given Rs 40 lakh and others have not even given peanuts,” he said. “Why this discrimination? Was my son’s sacrifice less than others?”

In June, Rakesh Pandita, a BJP leader and municipal councillor for Tral area, was killed in a militant attack. Within few days, the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant visited his home and handed over a cheque of Rs 40 lakh to the next of his kin.

Gul Mohammad said he was happy that Pandita’s family was given the compensation they deserved but questioned why his family has been neglected. “I am retiring in February. I have to take care of a big family that comprises my wife, our six daughters, Fida’s wife and the kid. How can the government deprive us of the compensation?” he said. “On what basis are we being discriminated?”

Yatoo joined BJP in 2018 and within two years he rose to the rank of general secretary of the party’s youth wing for Kulgam district. Gul Mohammad recalled that hundreds turned up to offer prayers and share their grief at his son’s funeral. “BJP leaders from Ravinder Raina to others visited our home and paid condolences.”

Even PM Narendra Modi, he said, tweeted about his sacrifices and condolences to the family. “I was devastated but then I was proud too that Prime Minister sahib recognised his sacrifice,” Gul Mohammad said.

Families of the other slain BJP youth wing workers, Omar and Haroon, have a similar story. Sajjad Ahmad Khanday, 57, a BJP sarpanch, was killed by militants outside his home in Vessu in Anantnag on August 6 last year. The family claimed that they have received only Rs 5 lakh as compensation. They are bitter over the differential treatment meted out by the government in doling out relief. “Why is the government selective. Was my father’s blood cheaper than other workers?” Sahil, Khanday’s son, told News 18.

He said after his father’s death he had to abandon his studies and drive a passenger vehicle to earn a living for his family. “Even my younger brother who studied in Srinagar had to leave his college because we could not afford his studies,” he said.

When the issue about the selective release of ex gratia was raised with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Sinha, he said, “Some unfortunate incidents have happened. The administration has taken a decision that the elected representative would get money under an insurance cover and in other incidents the government would provide help to them. The issue that has been raised would be looked into.”

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