Jammu, December 23
Different reactions have come up from the different political parties regarding the issuance of domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees (WPR) across J&K.
In Jammu, Minister of State (MoS) in Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh on Friday criticized all those who were linking the “issuance of the domicile certificate” to the West Pakistan Refugees (WPF) settled in Jammu and Kashmir to their religion.
He strongly defended the government’s move to grant domicile certificates to West Pakistan refugees. He wetted off charges that the move had a ‘Hindutva’ agenda behind it, asserting that the nation owes it to them to ensure for they get dignified means of livelihood. Jitendra Singh said that the state government in consultation with the Home Ministry devised a mechanism where each of the refugees could be provided a proof of identity, so that he or she could be enabled to apply for government jobs.
“This is a group of refugees who have been languishing without employment, livelihoods for the past 70 years since independence. Whereas their counterparts who chose to settle down in other parts of the country rose to occupy the highest government offices, including that of the Prime Minister of India Sri Gujral and after that Manmohan Singh, both of them were from West Pakistan,” he said.
Asserting that the nation owes it to the refugees to ensure they have a dignified means of livelihood, Singh clarified the charges by separatists and certain faction in the opposition, saying that this move had no connection with religion whatsoever “I think those who are opposing this, would do well to first address themselves to the issues of some of the foreign nationals who have over the last few years, chosen to settle down. This has got nothing to do with Hindu or Muslim. The entire nation owes it to give a dignified life and to given some sort of identity proof so that they can at least get jobs,” the MoS PMO said.
However, several political parties have reacted sharply to the Government’s move saying “it is an attack on State’s special position.”
In Sringar, Regarding this, Kashmir Valley witnessed a complete shutdown against the government move to issue ‘Domicile Certificates’ to West Pakistan Refugees staying in different parts of Jammu. The call for shutdown was forwarded by Resistance leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. All the shops and business establishments remained shut while there was skeletal movement of public and private transport on the roads.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chief Yasin Malik was detained after he tried to stage a protest against the reported move of the government to issue domicile certificates to West Pakistan refugees. Witnesses said that Malik tried to march towards the city centre Lal Chowk along with his supporters when he was detained outside the mosque of Dastgeer Sahab (RA) in Sara-e-Bala area of Srinagar after congregational prayers.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who addressed people outside Jamia Masjid shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers denounced the government move of issuing domicile certificates to refugees. He said that the government move will be resisted with tooth and nail and nobody will be allowed to change the demographic character of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-government slogans, the protesters dubbed the reported government move as “State dictatorship”. Mirwaiz and the protesters were carrying banners with messages “No Domicile for West Pakistan refugees. Stop State Dictatorship’, “we want freedom” and ‘Down with SARFAESI Act”.
IN Srinagar, Even the Langate lawmaker, Er Rasheed Friday started a sit-in protest outside the Srinagar residence of CM Mehbooba Mufti at Gupkar in this regard. The sit-in protest was organized against the issuing of domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees. The protest started at 11:30 pm. The workers of Rasheed’s Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) joined the protest sit-in carrying banners and playcards reading ‘Refugees are Refugees, Deport them back to Pakistan’; ‘Issuing domicile certificates to them unacceptable’.
Rasheed warned Mehboba Mufti of dire consequences and added if she would not stop bulldozing rights of people of state she would have to face worst.
Rasheed said “If forty Lakh Afghan refugees can be sent back to Pakistan, by which logic Govt. of India is trying to mislead the world community and not taking up the issue with Pakistan Government and sending these refugees back to their ancestral places.
MLA Tarigami castigating government over ‘Domicile Certificate’ issue, CPI(M) senior leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami Friday said that nobody will be allowed to violate and erode the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“State is still passing through a difficult phase and it was expected that government will learn some lessons and will take measures to put an end to the uncertainties, however, contrary has been happening and it seems that conspiracies are being hatched to give longevity to uncertain atmosphere of the Valley,” Tarigami said.
He said that refugees matter is a long one and it is the result of India-Pakistan partition. “These refugees have been suffering due to partition. Jammu and Kashmir is a dispute issue and it will be interest of people not to grant them state subject rights because amending and eroding the state laws will have serious ramifications,” he said and added that the present government move to issue domicile certificates to refugees will have a direct bearing on the future of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The successive governments at New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir never issued domicile certificates to refugees, but don’t know why the incumbent State Government is in a hurry and serious on this issue. The government move will create misunderstandings and will only lead to ugly situation,” Tarigami said.
Tarigami said that the need of the hour is to heal the wounds of people of Kashmir and take serious measures to resolve the Kashmir issue. “The Kashmir issue echoed in different countries across globe and even in Indian Parliament this issue was discussed and debated. Despite this a single Assembly session was not convened in Jammu and Kashmir which is ironical,” he said.