Mangalore air crash victims for more compensation

An association of Mangalore air crash victims` families said it will struggle for higher compensation to the families.

Kochi: An association of Mangalore air
crash victims` families on Thursday said it will struggle for higher
compensation to the families of the 158 persons who perished
in the air disaster last year.

As per international judgements, the compensation will
be more than Rs 75 lakh which would be decided through
negotiations, Mangalore Air Crash victims Family Association
President Mohammed Beari, said.

The association has engaged a Swedish law firm to
negotiate with the insurance underwriters company and the two
sides will hold a sitting on July 28 in London, he said.

"The fight is not yet over," Beari, who lost four
family members - elder brother`s wife Zulekha (45) and three
women relatives, en route to Mangalore to attend a marriage,
said.

Yesterday, the Kerala High Court, acting on a petition
by the parents of B Mohamed Rafi (24) had directed AI to pay
Rs 75 lakh each to families of those killed. This is the
highest compensation awarded in an air accident in India.

As per Montreal Convention, one lakh SDR (Rs 75 lakh)
should be paid under fault or no fault liability. But if pilot
error is proved, then quantum of compensation will be more, he
said.

Abdul Salam says the attitude of legal officials
engaged by AI forced him to wage a legal battle for higher
compensation.

"I was told I can claim compensation only between Rs
25-35 lakh and the airline was prepared to give Rs 35 lakh,"
Salam, who lives in northern Kasaragod district said.

The Court had yesterday held the petitioners are not
liable to be discriminated by AI, restricting compensation
with reference to age, income or dependence of family members.

Salam said former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had
announced Rs 76 lakh compensation after the crash to each of
the victims families. "However, later we heard that the
national carrier was giving different compensation for
different people," he said.

Salam says AI had offered compensation ranging between Rs
20 lakh to Rs 99 lakh. Some took it while others refused. His
family was called to Mangalore and `insulted` by the counsel,
he alleged.

`I am a fisherman and all my hopes were on my son Rafi`.
Rafi, who could not attend his sister`s wedding, was coming
home to meet relatives a month after the marriage when
tragedy struck.

At least 65 of those killed are from Kasargod, bordering
Mangalore.

Salam says he was happy that his fight would bring relief
to all those who had lost their dear ones in the tragedy.

Habeeb Rehaman, who lost five family members -- brothers
Mohammed Ashraf (36), Ahamed Naushad (30), Ashraf`s wife
Maimuna (32), and their two young children aged two and five,
his relatives were coming to attend the marriage of Naushad
fixed on June 13.

Rehaman said his family was happy with the verdict. Civil
Aviation minister Vayalar Ravi has also welcomed the verdict,
he said.

The Mangalore crash was the first major plane accident in
the country on an international route since ratification of
the Montreal Convention by India in 1999, which lays down
guidelines and compensation standards for passengers in an
International air accident that became effective for India
from June 30, 2009.

PTI

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