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Rs 50,000 ex-gratia for Malta Boat Tragedy victms

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, May 1 (UNI) Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Union government and the Punjab government to pay an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 each to those who died in the infamous Malta boat tragedy in which about 300 people a majority of them from Punjab, died when a boat carrying them sunk off the coast of Malta near Greece in December 1996.

The court's division bench comprising Chief Justice Harjit singh Bedi and Justice Ranjit Singh also directed the Centre and the state government to ensure the issuance of death certificates to all the persons who drowned as a result of the sinking of the vessel which was known to be carrying human cargo illegally.

Out of approximately 300 victims of the tragedy which occurred on December 25 1996, a majority of them were from Punjab. A few victims were also from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, led by Mr Balwant Singh Khera, had prepared a list of 141 such victims from Punjab.

The petitioners, who also included the bereaved family members, had also sought directions of the court to check illegal activities of travel agents largely in connivance with the officials of Ministry of External Affairs besides the compensation to next-of-the-kin of the victims.

The petitions had been filed by the families of the victims of the boat tragedy led by co-ordinator Balwant Singh Khera as also by Legal Awareness Society, Chandigarh through its convenor advocate Ujjal Singh Sahni.

UNI XC PS JMK LS VV1932

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