The extent of the injury can be gauged from the fact that his right arm had to be amputated at the elbow and a finger removed from the left palm, which was severely disfigured. The Northeast Delhi riots in February turned Akram Khan’s (22) life upside down, as an explosion left him permanently incapacitated, entitled to be granted a compensation of Rs 5 lakh from the Delhi government.
But all he received was Rs 20,000 as his inquiry was termed “minor” after medico legal assessment at the Delhi government-run GTB Hospital, which received and treated the largest number of riot victims.
Top officials of the Delhi administration, including Delhi Health Secretary Padmini Singla and the sub-divisional magistrate of Yamuna Vihar, admitted Wednesday that the assessment in Akram’s case was inadequate and should be reviewed, said officials after a meeting of the Delhi Assembly committee on welfare of minorities where the issue came up.
“I was going to an ijtima on February 24. Our bus came to a halt near Mohan Nursing Home at 1 pm as clashes broke out and we deboarded. As I waited with others, something fell on my hand and exploded. The next day, my right arm was amputated at GTB Hospital,” Akram told The Indian Express.
The area in and around Mohan Nursing Home is among the areas which saw the most violence during the riots, which claimed 53 lives.
He remained hospitalised for the next 32 days. Doctors tried to reconstruct his left arm through skin grafting, but Akram, who worked in a jeans manufacturing unit, will be unable to carry out any such task now. “I am getting treated at a private facility now. I don’t understand how they assessed my injuries as minor. I have been rendered jobless. My brother lost over six months of income as he had to take care of me,” Akram, a resident of Mustafabad who hails from UP’s Bulandshahr, said.
The committee, headed by Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, flagged at least six such cases of allegedly wrong medico legal assessments at the meeting, which was also attended by Principal Secretary (Vigilance) Rajeev Verma, acting as link officer of Principal Secretary (Home) B S Bhalla.
As per the Delhi government’s compensation policy, those who suffered minor injuries are entitled to get Rs 20,000, victims of serious injuries are to get Rs 2 lakh, and those who suffered permanent incapacitation are entitled to get Rs 5 lakh.
A senior official of the GTB Hospital told the committee that medico legal cases were carried out and injury assessment reports shared with the revenue department in 285 out of 364 persons treated during the riots.
Singla said cases like that of Akram’s, where errors have been committed in assessment of injuries, can be reassessed on a case to case basis after reviewing the records. The meeting was also told that the Cabinet has approved the revenue department’s proposal to release the relief amount in pending cases.
In terms of false rejections of claims under the head of property damage, also flagged by the House panel, the department has so far identified 25 such cases under the Seelampur subdivision, 74 under Karawal Nagar subdivision and 19 under the Yamuna Vihar subdivision.
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