Pay Rs 3 lakh more to families of Kandhamal riot victims, SC asks Odisha

New Delhi: In its final verdict on the 2008 Kandhamal riots, the Supreme Court today asked the Odisha government to pay an additional Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the families of each deceased.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit asked the State government to bear the additional compensation to the families of the deceased.

Earlier, compensation worth Rs 5 lakh was given to the families of the victims of the Kandhamal riots of which Rs 2 lakh was paid by the State govt and Rs 3 lakh by the Centre.

Two days back, the apex court had directed the State government to pay additional compensation to the victims of the 2008 anti-Christian violence. The SC had said the victims of the communal strife should be given additional compensation as the earlier compensation was inadequate.

Today’s SC verdict also asked the State government to provide compensation to those injured in the riot. Rs 30,000 should be given to the severely injured in the riot and Rs 10,000 to the partially injured, the SC order said. Earlier, no compensation was given to the injured.

The apex court also asked both the Centre and the Odisha governments to pay Rs 70,000 as additional compensation to people who had their houses completely damaged house in the riot. Out of the Rs 70, 000, the State government will pay Rs 50,000 and the Centre Rs 20,000, the verdict said.

People with partially damaged houses will be given Rs 20,000 each by the State government, it added.

The apex court, however, order did not say anything on compensation to religious places damaged in the riots. A demand for a CBI probe into the incident was also rejected by the Supreme Court.

The verdict came on a petition filed by Archbishop Rachel Chennath relating to the violence in Kandhamal district and other areas of the State. Several districts, including Kandhamal, had witnessed violence in 2008 after Hindu religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed by unidentified assailants on August 23, 2008.

At least 38 people, a majority of them Christians, were killed in the month-long riot that followed the killing of Saraswati.