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Govt mulls law on martyr kin jobs

Sonitpur SP Sanjukta Parasor pays her last respects to Gulzar Hussain. File picture

Guwahati, Aug. 5: The Assam government will formulate a new law to provide jobs to family members of those who sacrifice their lives in the line of duty.

Cabinet minister Rakibul Hussain told the Assembly on the second day of the budget session today that formulation of a fresh law had become necessary in view of a Supreme Court verdict that the death of a government employee in harness did not entitle the family to claim compassionate employment and the person seeking appointment must possess eligibility for the post.

The apex court’s verdict, delivered last year, said a competent authority has to examine the financial condition of the family of the deceased employee. If it is satisfied that without providing employment the family will not be able to meet the crisis, then a person having the requisite qualifications will be given a job.

Hussain, a spokesperson for the state government, made his statement after former health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accused the government of practising double standards in giving a job to the wife of Gulzar Hussain, a young Assam police officer killed in an ambush by militants in Sonitpur district in January. The minister had yesterday informed the Assembly that the state government was constrained by the Supreme Court verdict in providing a gazetted office post as demanded by the police officer’s widow. He said the government had decided to give only grade III or IV jobs to her.

“But since the officer’s widow has demanded a gazetted officer’s post, the government is considering the same and has sought opinions from the legal department in view of the Supreme Court verdict,” Hussain said.

Sarma, who resigned from the Tarun Gogoi cabinet last month and publicly announced that he would play the role of a constructive opposition in the House, questioned the government on why it could not give the post of a gazette officer to the police officer’s widow.

“In the recent past, the government had given jobs of gazetted rank to widows of an IPS and an IAS officer. While IPS officer P.K. Lohia was killed in a bomb blast, IAS officer A.K. Sachan died of sickness while in service. I have nothing against giving jobs to the widows of Lohia and Sachan. But the government is discriminating in giving the same job to Hussain’s widow. A lobby, led by an influential IPS officer in the home department, is obstructing her appointment. This officer has a fat ego and is not in favour of giving gazetted job to Hussain’s widow,” Sarma, who was once the most influential minister in the Gogoi cabinet, said.

Sarma said there was a difference between giving jobs to kin of officers who get killed while fighting militants and anti-socials and those who die because of ailment.

“The morale of many Assam police officials engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Assam will be adversely affected if Gulzar Hussain’s wife is not given a respectable job. There might be many more Gulzar Hussains in Assam in the days to come,” Sarma said.

Rakibul Hussain said the chief minister had already agreed to formulate a new law to give jobs to the family of those who sacrifice their lives fighting militants and anti-socials.