May 8, 2018 5:59:43 pm
The Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to provide financial assistance and employment, on compassionate grounds, to the next of kin of the people from the state killed in war-torn Iraq.
The state government had decided to provide employment to one family member of each of the victims, according to their educational qualification and government’s policy, besides ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh, an official release said. The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at Chandigarh, it said, adding it was also decided that the monthly pension of Rs 20,000 being paid to the family members from the CM’s Relief Fund will continue till jobs are provided.
In March, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had told the Rajya Sabha that the 39 Indians abducted in Iraq in 2014 were killed by Islamic State terrorists and buried in a mass grave in Badush. As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the ISIS from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh. Out of the 39 killed, 27 hailed from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, six from Bihar and two from West Bengal.
On the directive of the Punjab chief minister, an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to 26 dependent family members amounting to Rs 1.30 crore has already been disbursed from the CM’s Relief Fund, a spokesperson said, adding that according to records, one victim had no legal heir. Providing jobs to dependent family members of the 27 deceased Indians from Punjab on compassionate grounds does not fall within the purview of state policy. Therefore, relaxation in the policy was required for this purpose.
An official spokesperson said keeping in view the hardships faced by the victims families, the Cabinet decided to relax the existing policy of the state government as notified on November 21, 2002. However, the remaining conditions of the policy would remain applicable, the spokesperson said.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh brought back the mortal remains of the 38 Indians from Iraq in a special aircraft last month.
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