The next of kin of the victims or those injured in the 2005 Diwali-eve serial blasts are not turning up before the Delhi District Legal Services Authority to seek compensation, putting the body in a peculiar situation. Over a decade after the blasts, the authority, which has prepared a list of over 280 victims, is facing difficulty even to trace many of them, even though there is no dearth of funds.
“Warrants were served through Delhi Police last month but only around 50 have turned up to claim the relief so far. Several addresses are not complete, some victims changed their residences, while some others are unknown,” Delhi District Legal Services Authority (DDLSA) Secretary Shivani Chauhan told PTI in New Delhi.
The blasts had occured at Sarojini Nagar, Paharganj and Kalkaji, almost simultaneously on October 29, 2005, taking a toll of 67 lives and leaving over 225 persons injured. Investigators believed the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attacks. When asked about the proposed budget, Chauhan said “there is no paucity of funds for the purpose”.
She said the authority wants to compensate all those who were injured, or are legal heirs of the persons who had died in the incident, after a Delhi court order in February this year recommended grant of compensation. “Under the victim compensation scheme, we are trying to compensate even those who received the simplest of injuries,” she said.
While some of the victims were Delhi based, many belonged to other states as well. Some of the victims had earlier approached the Delhi High Court seeking compensation after which it had directed the Delhi government to pay the amount.
“However, the directions are yet to be followed by the government. In those cases, DDLSA is also willing to provide legal aid to the victims and, if possible, even help them initiate contempt proceedings against the government for evading the HC orders,” she said. The DDLSA has also started a toll free number — 1516 –for those who want information on the initiative or visit its website — http://www.dslsa.org/ndd, she said.
Last month, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar had also expressed the need to work for the victims of crime and ensure that they get the due compensation. A Delhi court had in February acquitted two persons, accused in the case, saying the prosecution has failed to prove their guilt.
However, the court held the third accused guilty of being a member of a terror outfit and giving support to it, but let him off too, saying he has already undergone more than ten years in jail, which is the maximum punishment prescribed under the law for such offences.