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Written by: Staff

Srinagar, Sep 14: The Jammu and Kashmir government has paid another Rs 22 lakhs to the kith and kin of 22 students who died in the Navy boat tragedy in Wullar Lake in May this year.

The additional ex-gratia was paid after a judicial inquiry into the tragedy held four Navy officials and the school pricipal responsible for negligence. However, the inquiry officer has asked the government to pay Rs four lakhs (minus the already paid ex-gratia) to the next of the kin of the deceased.

An official spokesman said here that an additional Rs 22 lakhs have been released from the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister's relief fund for distribution among the kith and kin of those who lost their children in the Wullar lake boat tragedy.

An amount of Rs one lakh will be disbursed accordingly to each family who lost their children in the tragedy.

This amount is in additional to the Rs 22 lakh which was disbursed on the day of the tragedy.

The cheque amounting to Rs 22 lakh was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner Kupwara today for immediate disbursement among the affected families, he said.

Accepting the findings of the inquiry committee, the Jammu and Kashmir government has written to the Naval authorities to take action against its personnel found guilty of negligence by the inquiry, an official spokesman said.

He said the government has accepted the findings and recommendations of the inquiry officer and decided to launch criminal proceedings against the Principal of the Burning Candle Public School, Handwara. It also sanctioned an additional ex-gratia relief of Rs one lackh to the next of the kin of each deceased students. The committee also recommended that recognition of the school be withdrawan and suggested measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future.

He said the inquiry officer in his findings, held responsible four navy officials, Lt K S Nehra, Officer Incharge Naval Det, Marcos, Watlab, Krishan Khulvi boat operation, Raj Ram and Ganishan for negligence resutling in the boat tragedy in which 22 students and staff of a school were killed.

The inquiry officer in his report has further recommended that criminal proceedings be launched aganist the four Navy officials and principal of the school for their negligence resulting in the tragedy.

He also said that the government may be pleased to consider the ex-gratia payment of at least Rs four lackhs (minus already paid amount), besides providing government jobs to the next of kin of each of the deceased persons.

The Government appointed Syed Tariq Ahmad Naqashbandi, district and sessions judge to inquire into the navy boat tragedy which occured on May 30.

The tragedy triggered massive protests in the Kashmir valley, particuarly in north Kashmir in which one person was killed after security forces opened fire to disperse the demonstrators.


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