Even as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the Delhi government to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family of Karan Pandey — killed in police firing in July last year — his mother said “financial compensation cannot be a substitute for justice”.
Nineteen-year-old Karan was shot in Central Delhi on the night of July 28-29 last year when police opened fire to stop a group of motorcyclists, who were allegedly performing stunts in the high-security area.
According to police, the shots had been fired in the air after the bikers pelted stones at police personnel. Police claimed Karan, who was riding pillion on a bike driven by his friend Puneet, had been hit accidentally. Police claimed that Puneet and Karan were among hundreds of bikers performing stunts that night.
In a statement, the rights body said, “The incident of heavy stone-pelting on police party is highly doubtful given the CCTV footage and statements of witnesses…”
“That there was negligence and error of judgment on the part of an inspector to open fire at the rear tyre of the bike, which resulted in the death of Karan Pandey, who was riding pillion on the bike driven by one Puneet Sharma,” the NHRC statement said.
But the order, which comes nearly a year after Karan’s death, has brought little hope for his aggrieved mother, Manju Pandey, who alleged that her quest for justice has been repeatedly thwarted by the Delhi government. “It has been a year and I still want justice. I want those responsible for my son’s death to be punished,” she said.
“Financial compensation cannot be a substitute for justice. Why has no action been taken against police officers responsible for killing my son,” she added. The NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary to submit the action taken report on the departmental proceedings initiated against police officers, along with the proof of payment, within six weeks.