MHA to review action taken for redressal of West Pak refugees’ grievances

MHA to review action taken for redressal of West Pak refugees’ grievances

8 October 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Union Ministry of Home Affairs is going to review the action taken by the Jammu and Kashmir Government for redressal of grievances of Western Pakistan refugees and implementation of relief package to the displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) of 1947, 1965 and 1971 in a meeting to be held at New Delhi on October 11, 2012. Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that S K Parida, Under Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, (FFR Division) has intimated to the State Government that Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, Additional Secretary (F), Ministry of Home Affairs is convening meeting on October 11, 2012 at 3 pm in his office at North Block to review the action taken for redressal of grievances of West Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir and implementation of relief package to the displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir of 1947, 1965 and 1971. The State Government would be represented by K B Aggarwal, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), B A Runyal, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Revenue Department, Pradeep Kumar Gupta, Divisional Commissioner Jammu and A M Wani, Provincial Rehabilitation Officer in the meeting, sources informed. This meeting is the follow up of the meeting of high-level Congress delegation led by J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh on August 22, 2012. 'The forthcoming meeting indicates that the initiative taken by the Congress delegation and Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Raman Bhalla, who is the strong votary of the justice to the refugees, has given momentum to the otherwise standstill process towards redressing the grievances of West Pakistan refugees', sources claimed. 'Since most of the demands of the West Pakistan refugees pertain to State Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs had on June 11, 2012 forwarded a petition submitted to Rajya Sabha Secretariat by Member Parliament Avinash Raj Khanna to Secretary (Revenue), seeking J&K Government’s comments on the issues raised in the petition along with action taken by the State Government in pursuance of order dated February 20, 1987 of Supreme Court in a case titled Bachan Lal Kalhotra Versus State of J&K and Others', sources said. On July 12, 2012, the Chief Secretary was asked by MHA to expedite comments of State Government on the issues and furnish information relating to rehabilitation assistance including the Government land- Evacuee property land occupied by the refugees, which have been allowed to be retained by these refugees subject to certain conditions, sources informed. In the October 11, 2012 meeting, the action taken by the State Government for redressal of grievances of the West Pakistan refugees, action taken in pursuance of Supreme Court’s order dated February 20, 1987, rehabilitation assistance provided so far by Central-State Governments to these refugees and justification for further assistance, if any, to be provided to these refugees would be discussed. The implementation of relief package to the displaced persons of 1947, 1965 and 1971 which includes progress of implementation, relief and rehabilitation assistance to the displaced persons from PoK 1947, progress made in the payment of ex-gratia to Chhamb displaced persons (non-camp) of 1971 war and issues relating to grievances of Chhamb displaced persons of 1971 (camp) would also be discussed in the meeting, sources said. The main demands of West Pakistan refugees are-permanent resident rights in Jammu and Kashmir, issuance of domicile certificates to West Pakistan refugees, right to contest in State elections, right to purchase property in Jammu and Kashmir, eligibility for recruitment to Central-State services, right to education in technical- professional institutes in the State, issuance of SC-ST-OBC certificates, extension of benefits under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and those available to BPL families, extension of benefits under Centrally Sponsored Schemes, extension of credit facilities by banks without collateral security and special financial package for rehabilitation.