Exercise to establish identity of 657 'unclaimed' dead bodies

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Amritsar, Oct 8 (UNI) Acting on the directions of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Punjab Government has begun the exercise of establishing the identity of 657 alleged militants whose 'unclaimed' bodies were cremated at the Sitala Mandir crematorium here and at the cremation grounds in Patti and Tarn Taran between June 1984 and end of 1994.

The directions in this context were issued to the state government by NHRC on September 30. In its order NHRC has asked the government to complete the identification exercise within six weeks so that the necessary compensation could be disbursed to the next of kin of identified 'militants'.

Confirming the reception of the order, Deputy Commissioner K S Pannu said here today that directions had been issued inviting claims by November 14. The performa for the claims can be collected from the Deputy Commissioners office here.

Mr Pannu said that after verify the identity of the 'unclaimed' and 'unidentified' bodies which were cremated by the police, the compensation claims would be disbursed by the administration. He said that the case of 2059 'unclaimed' and 'unidentified' bodies was listed before NHRC and now 657 bodies remained to be identified.

On the directions of the NHRC issued on June 17 this year, the state government had formed a four member committee to verify the identity of the 2059 'unclaimed' bodies of 'militants' who were killed in alleged ancounters in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Majitha police districts and to disburse the compensation to their next of kin. The committee consists of N S Kang, a Principal Secretary level officer, retired district and sessions judge, K K Garg, DIG border range and the Amritsar DC, who is the convenor of the committee.

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