Seminar and candle march in Delhi by Jammu-Kashmir People’s Forum on World Human Rights Day to highlight the plight of Displaced Persons living in Jammu & Kashmir
With two third population as refugees, Jammu is today known as the capital of refugees in Asia. New flow of the refugees comes and the people as well as the authorities forget the old one. This is how these ill-fated people are languishing here for the last 65 years with nothing to claim their own—no voting right, no permission to own land, no right to contest even a Panchayat election and even no right for their children to get higher education or get any government job. People and NGOs in the country are seen everyday raising voice for the human rights of terrorists, who bleed the nation everyday but none has the time to raise a voice for the human rights of these most tortured people.
To attract the attention of the nation towards the human rights of these people, Jammu-Kashmir People’s Forum organised a seminar in Delhi on December 10, the International Human Rights Day. Representatives of many displaced communities from various regions of J&K also shared their views and experiences.
Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, chairman of Petition Committee, BJP MP Shri Avinash Rai Khanna, BJP general secretary Shri JP Nadha and many other dignitaries were also present on the occasion. After the seminar, a candlelight march was organised at India Gate to attract the attention of the government towards the plight of the migrants. BJP MP Smriti Irani also joined the candle march.
Introducing the topic, J&K Study Centre chairman and senior journalist Shri Jawaharlal Kaul stressed the need for a united fight against the injustice being meted out to displaced persons for the last 65 years. He said the time has come when the problems of displaced persons should be discussed and raised in totality and not in pieces. “These people need not only the government sympathy but also the total support of the entire country, as they are also our own brothers and have hugely been discriminated by our own governments. The people coming from the same regions of Pakistan have been granted all facilities including the citizenship in other areas of the country, but those who stayed in J&K are still languishing for basic rights for 65 years. Every ruler from Sheikh Abudllah to Omar Abdullah and from Nehru to Manmohan Singh promised their resettlement but nothing happened so far,” Shri Kaul added.
Senior journalist Shri Vijay Kranti said his parents were displaced thrice in 65 years and today it is the fourth generation of migrants which is waiting for justice. He said Kashmir Valley constitutes hardly 9 per cent of the total geographical area of the State, but all resources are being consumed by this small portion of people. He narrated the plight of his grandfather who migrated from PoK and how his family was displaced thrice. “About ten lakh migrants like me live in different parts of the country even without a certificate of J&K citizen. This is the reason that the new generation of the migrants has lost affection not only to the J&K but also to their identity, dress, food, language, etc as Kashmiri. Today 24 seats are kept vacant in J&K Assembly for the people of PoK. Why these seats are not filled with the representatives of these migrants till we get back the PoK,” asked Shri Kranti.
Shri Joginder Singh, a refugee from West Pakistan, pointed out that Sheikh Abdullah had settled them in the border areas with the promise of granting all facilities and privileges that any other Kashmiri gets. But even after 65 years they cannot even teach their children in the schools and seek any job for them. “If we had then come to Punjab, we must have got all the facilities. Perhaps we have committed a blunder by staying in the border areas then,” he said praising the support they got from BJP Rajya Sabha MP Shri Avinash Rai Khanna.
Shri Rashpal Singh Chhib representing migrants from Chhamba area of PoK stressed the need of a joint fight by all the migrants. He demanded at least 5 per cent reservation to the migrants in the State.
Mohammad Aslam Kohli raised the issue of discrimination against Ladakh, Kargil and Jammu regions of the State. He said the people living in border areas are the most sufferers. He alleged that neither the State governments nor the Central governments have been serious towards the rehabilitation of the migrants whether from Pakistan or from Kashmir Valley.
Sardar Hardev Singh raised another important point of discrimination against the migrants. He said the people living near LoC in Kashmir are granted 4 per cent reservation, while the people living in the border areas of Sambha, Kathua and Jammu regions of the State are not granted any such benefit.
BJP MP Shri Balbir Punj said the elites of Delhi did not even regard these refugees as human beings. He said nothing could be achieved without unity. He also raised the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh. —Pramod Kumar
Bharat Parikrama Yatra enters J&K
The Bharat Parikrama Yatra led by former RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh and senior Pracharak Shri Sitaram Kedilaya reached Jammu on December 11. The Yatra entered Jammu & Kashmir after its successful journey in Punjab till December 10 for which it had entered Punjab on October 27. Prior to it, the Yatra had entered Haryana on September 24 and travelled in different villages of the State till October 26 for a period of 33 days.