Dhule collector proposed no-compensation, CM said no

The district collector of Dhule recommended that no compensation should be given to the six Muslim men who were killed in police firing on January 6 because they had been part of the rioting mob. Collector Prakash Mahajan appeared to have found the victims guilty even though none of the three FIRs registered by the police named the six men as having been part of the mob.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office, however, ignored the collector's recommendation and asked him to hand over Rs 5 lakh to the family of each of the six men.

"The six individuals are not eligible for compensation according to government rules as it has been concluded that the six had taken part in rioting," Collector Mahajan said in a letter written to the CM's office on January 18.

In reply, Vaibhav Rajeghtage, deputy director, Accounts and Funds in the CMO, wrote on January 31: "The approved compensation (of Rs 1.21 crore) should be distributed to the next of kin of the deceased, the injured and those who suffered financial damage after proper verification and adhering to the rules..."

The collector's letter was obtained by activist Nisar Tamboli under the RTI Act.

On February 2, Mahajan wrote to the state home secretary seeking a direction on the matter, arguing that rules did not allow for payment of compensation to rioters. On February 5, the CMO wrote to him saying it had taken cognizance of his letter but he should go ahead with distributing the compensation.

"You have informed us... that the six dead... are not eligible for compensation as they were involved in the riots. On humanitarian grounds a compensation of Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund has been cleared for them. The money should be distributed to the next of kin...," the CMO said.

... contd.

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