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Missing, plan of action

New Delhi, Aug. 13: Forming committees is the easy part, but the government does not know how to proceed against those indicted by the Nanavati Commission.

Home secretary V.K. Duggal said “action will be on the basis of the adverse inference” drawn by the commission, the government’s action taken report and assurances the Prime Minister and home minister gave in Parliament. “But we are yet to take a view about how the investigations will be pursued,” he told reporters.

The comment came on a day the Centre set up two committees to look into relief, compensation and rehabilitation of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that claimed nearly 4,000 lives ' 2,733 by government estimate.

Duggal did not specify when the action would be initiated. “It will be very soon after consulting the law ministry,” he said. Asked which agency would conduct the probe, he said it could be the “CBI or the riot cell of Delhi police”.

On the possibility of legal proceedings against police and other government officials indicted by the commission, Duggal said the government was examining guidelines as retired government servants cannot be prosecuted after a gap of four years.

“We are having a re-look at all those cases in which the Nanavati Commission has made adverse comments against police personnel. Action, if any, will be taken after consultations with the law ministry,” he said.

Duggal said the two panels will be headed by K.P. Singh, special secretary in the home ministry; and D.K. Shankaran, secretary, border management. While the committee under Singh will go into the adequacy and uniformity of compensation given to surviving family members of those killed during the riots in various states, the other will deal with relief and rehabilitation and additional livelihood support, including possibility of employment in central paramilitary forces.

“Both the committees will have to give time-bound recommendations by October 15 which we will start implementing immediately. The committees will not be granted any extension,” Duggal said.

Besides Singh, the first committee includes secretaries in charge of relief in Delhi, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Himachal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and representatives of the finance ministry.

The second panel that Shankaran heads will include home secretaries of states where Sikhs were killed as well as Punjab.

 

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