1947 Refugees Oppose Job Quotas For Kashmiri Pandits

2 January 2010

Jammu: The first voices of protest against the Omar Abdullah government's decision to reserve jobs in government services for Kashmiri Pandits came on Saturday from the refugees who fled those parts of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan in 1947. SOS International, an organisation of refugees from what is now Pakistan-administered Kashmir, has strongly condemned the decision for launching a special recruitment drive for 3,000 jobs for Kashmiri Pandits. Its chairman, Rajiv Chuni, in a statement issued here, condemned the central and state governments' decision to treat the refugees differently from the Kashmiri Pandits. 'PoK refugees have suffered the worst holocaust in 1947 and sacrificed more than 50,000 lives but have not been paid any package,' he said, alleging the the government 'is trying to create a class within a class and category within a category by treating the displaced population of the state in different manners'. 'The government's prime responsibility is to treat the population equally and not create a wedge among different sections of the society,' he said. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday announced that 3,000 jobs would be given to Kashmiri Pandit youth whose parents had migrated from the Kashmir Valley in 1990 fearing persecution by Islamic militants. The move has generated a lot of resentment against the government, especially among the unemployed youth of the state. Chuni contended that the package violates the spirit of the Indian constitution and various Supreme Court judgements that speak of equal treatment of all citizens. 'But the reservation package for Kashmiri Pandits only has violated the spirit of the basics of the constitutional provisions of equality,' he said, adding the government should tell the people whether any such employment package has ever been announced for the unemployed of Jammu, either displaced or locals. He said that Kashmiri Pandit community is already enjoying the patronage of central and state governments while all other groups and communities in the state are being discriminated against. Chuni demanded that the government issue a white paper on the number of Kashmiri Pandits in the state and central government services, besides the expenditure incurred on their relief and rehabilitation during the past 20 years.

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