Govt urged to invite PoK refugees in next roundtable meeting
2 March 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Regretting non-participation of PoK refugees in the recently held roundtable conference on Kashmir, All Jammu and Kashmir State Akali Dal has urged the Prime Minister to extend an invitation to all the refugee organisation for the next meeting at Srinagar. 'We hail the effort of Prime Minister Dr Mannmohan Singh for bringing peace in Jammu and Kashmir but the representatives of PoK refugees were not invited to participate in the roundtable meeting despite the fact that there are 12 lakh PoK refugees living here,' said Jagdev Singh, president of All J&K State Akali Dal, while addressing a press conference, here today. Stressing that only refugee representatives can highlight the cause of displaced people before the Central Government since they have the complete knowledge of the issue, he said, 'Head of any Gurdwara Prabhandak Board or Bar Association can discuss the problems of Gurdwara affairs or the Bar but they can't plead the case of refugees effectively,' he said. Dr Isher Singh, chairman of PoK Refugees Welfare Forum, who was also present in the press conference, highlighted the plights of displaced people and demanded reservation of 6 Assembly seats and 1 Parliament seat for PoK refugees, 12 percent reservation in Government jobs for their wards, compensation in lieu of properties left behind in 1947 in PoK, proprietary rights on EP property implementation of HC and SC directions pertaining to PoK refugees for their settlement. He also appealed all the refugee organisations to come on a common platform. The Sikh leader also lambasted National Conference and People's Democratic Party for raising the demand of 'greater autonomy' and 'self rule' during the round table discussion and alleged that both the parties were trying to befool Kashmiri masses. Referring to the strong protests by National Conference both inside and outside the Legislative Assembly, the Akali leader asked why did not these people raise similar voice when Sikhs were massacred in Chatti Singhpora, Mehjoor Nagar and Jammu. He demanded CBI probe into these three incidents.