The stalemate over settlement of various types of refugees in J&K state still persists despite making tall claims by successive governments. As part of celebration of International Refugee Day, several refugee organisations, associations and forms of J&K state, expressed their resentment over prolong discriminatory attitude of successive government in state and central governments.
After partition of India, it would not be exaggerated to say that Jammu became haven of various types of refugees. It may be POJK refugees of 1947, 1965 and 1971 Indo Pak war, West Pakistani Refugee and Kashmir migrants, all of them took shelter at Jammu wherein they felt some relief from the pain of wounds inflicted on them by the perpetrators.
The main hurdle in settlement of all these refugees is due discriminatory attitude shown by Kashmir based centric parties as Refugee Act passed by Government of India does not apply under the umbrella of Article 370. The settlement of refugees of Jammu is nowhere in the agenda of Valley centric parties, a grievances some time justify demand of separate state.
Though present NDA government led by Prime Minister Narender Modi has sanctioned rupees 2000 crores as one time settlement for POJK refugees as part of 80,000 crores finance package announced by Prime Minister Narender Modi while addressing a public rally at Srinagar but due to apathetic and dilly-dallying attitude of administrative machinery of state government, it seems a distant dream when they would be given this relief.
All these refugees by forming several organizations have been raking up their issue for last 69 years but due to lack of political will on the part of both state and central governments their issue continue to hang in balance, thereby a prolong delay further multiplying their woes. From all refugees, worst suffers are West Pakistani refugees, who after living in J&K for last 69 years, are deprived from legitimate right of citizenship.
Though they are citizen of India but they are not citizens of J&K. Their wards cannot apply for government job, entry in professional college and even cannot exercise their right of franchise in assembly and Panchayat election due to not having state subject. Above all, they are also unable to purchase land in any part of the state without requisite state subject.
All refugees including Kashmiri migrants have very high expectation from present central and state government. The present dispensation of PDP-BJP have in their agenda of alliance have included settlement of refugee but seeing its rule of more than one and half years, it seems that government is not sensitive as required for the refugees.
Like successive government, this government also incline to focus on Valley and least concerned about problems of other region of the state like Jammu and Ladakh, which would adversely affect BJP, which received unprecedented mandate from Jammu. In order to come up to the expectation of the people, BJP needs to pressurize the government to resolve all problems of the people of Jammu particularly refugee issue.
P R Mahotra