Over 31 years after the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar had many Sikh soldiers deserting the Army, the Punjab cabinet decided Thursday to double the monthly allowance to the deserters and their dependents, and announced fee grant for their wards in schools and medical colleges.
The cabinet approved the proposal to enhance the monthly maintenance grant of “Operation Blue Star-affected soldiers”, referred to as “dharmi faujis”, from Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000. It cleared increase in allowance for their widows and dependents from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.
Proposals for Rs 10,000 a year as fee for their children and grandchildren in classes up to Class 12 and Rs 20,000 a year for students pursuing MBBS/BDS were also approved. Fee already paid will be reimbursed by District Sainik Welfare Officers after verification.
In June 1984, the Army conducted Operation Blue Star to flush out militants holed up inside the Golden Temple. This led to desertions by Sikhs in units of the Army. The cabinet also cleared summoning of the 11th session of the 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from September 18 to 24.