After waiting for around 18 years, slain Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan Ramesh Kumar’s wife, Pramila Devi, recently received a compensation of Rs 20 lakh from the Election Commission (EC). Kumar died while he was on duty during the Jammu and Kashmir elections in 2002. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora transferred the amount into Devi’s bank account after she reached out to him about the pending payment last month.

As per Hindustan Times, Kumar played an important role in ensuring that the 2002 J&K elections were carried out safely. The same elections have been termed one of the fairest electoral exercises in the state’s history.

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What You Should Know: 

  • Slain Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper Ramesh Kumar’s wife, Pramila Devi, recently received her compensation after 18 years. 
  • The Election Commission transferred 20 lakh into her account. 
  • Kumar played an important role in ensuring that the 2002 J&K elections were carried out safely and died in the line of duty. 
  • Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora, compensated Devi after she reached out to him about the pending payment last month.

Long Wait Comes To An End

Devi reportedly intimated Arora about her problem in an email dated Aug. 10. She informed him about not receiving any response from J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer, despite repeated reminders regarding the compensation for over 18 years. On Aug. 26, Commissioner Arora replied to Devi’s mail after processing the compensation. He apologised to Devi for the delay and thanked her for her husband’s sacrifice for the state.

In 2002, Devi was originally entitled to 5 lakh. However, based on the “extenuating circumstances” of the case, Arora transferred 20 lakh to her account in 2020. Currently, the families of CRPF jawans slain in similar cases receive a compensation of 10 lakh (through cheques).

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Righting Similar Wrongs

As per reports, Arora also wrote to other state election commissions, recommending them to investigate if they have similar pending cases. Reportedly, he wrote, “A stern view has been taken of the institutional failure and lack of sensitivity, bordering on apathy, on part of the administrative machinery, which failed to respect the memory of the departed.” He also asked other electoral officers to generate a digital database for keeping track of all such claims.

So far, two other similar cases have emerged in Jammu and Kashmir. The Election Commission said that it was working out the modalities to ensure timely payment in both cases. “The idea is that once a death on duty is confirmed, the ECI [Election Commission of India] will directly transfer the compensation into the bank account of the next of kin if available,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

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Tarini Gandhiok is an intern with SheThePeople.TV



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