for Kangla Online (Manipur) on Sept. 9, 2007
IMPHAL: A year after the bloody Janmasthami Day grenade attack at the ISKCON complex at Imphal, Manipur which left seven people dead and scores wounded, there are still people who have not received the financial assistance promised by the government at that time.
Chief minister O Ibobi Singh himself, in the aftermath of the blast, had promised prompt payment of compensation and assistance to the next of kin of the dead as well as the injured. However this appears to have been belied, perhaps because government wheels move exceedingly slow, or more likely, because of skullduggery in the concerned departments.
Ashem Bhakta Singh, 45, hailing from Keisamthong, who is the correspondent for a Guwahati based news agency, was one among those injured in the incident, suffering splinter wounds in the calf that left him immobilised for a month.
Bhakta Singh, speaking to IFP, said he approached the concerned department regarding the payment of compensation about three months after the incident, and found the process for the same had been completed.
The concerned officials, when he queried why payment of assistance was being delayed despite the completion of the required process, fobbed him off with the promise that the payment would be made soon. However, they have not been heard from since then.
Bhakta Singh, who informed that he spent around Rs. 14 to 15 thousand for medical treatment, said it was not about the money as such, but if the government has promised financial assistance, it should pay out the same fairly.
`I can afford to lose the money, but what about those other victims of the incident who were less well off`, he asks, adding that it is a shame that the government cannot fulfil the promises it had made.
It can be recalled, the grenade attack upon Janmasthami celebrants at the ISKCON mandap where a ras-lila performance was taking place, resulted in the death of seven persons, three of them children, and several dozen others, including foreign devotees, being injured.