PoK-returned Youth Mull To Move Court

PoK-returned Youth Mull To Move Court

17 October 2012
The Hindustan Times
Ashiq Hussain

Srinagar: Pushed to the wall, Kashmiris who have returned from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are mulling to approach court in a desperate move to seek admission for their children as government is 'ignoring' their call for help. Many of the 117 youth who returned along with their families for the past one year, after chief minister Omar Abdullah's announcement of amnesty under New Delhi's militant surrender and rehabilitation policy, have been struggling to get their children admitted to schools for want of proper documents. The state has not given the wives and children of the returnees, who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the 1990s during the sweep of militancy, the mandatory permanent resident certificates. 'We approached CM Omar Abdullah's office many times but were asked to go back by his staff. We have dropped at least half a dozen applications requesting help from the person who had publicly announced our amnesty, but there has been no response,' said Dawood Ahmad, 37, of central Kashmir, whose 15-year-old son was denied admission to school many a time in the last six months. 'We even tried to meet union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde when he was in Srinagar, but were not allowed by the state officials. We sent letters to him to his Delhi office as well,' he said. 'Our intention of starting life afresh quietly seems remote as the system is totally ignoring us. There is no option left with us but to knock the doors of court,' he said. Although union home ministry had condoned the amnesty policy of Omar Abdullah for the youth stuck in PoK, but maintained that 'unexplained practical issues' were preventing their return. Officials said that the returnees were forced to come home informally through Nepal and then by road to Kashmir, with authorities going soft on the travellers. This informal entry deprived their wives and children the official recognition that comes with the resident certificate. After reporting about the plight of the returnees on October 15, Hindustan Times has been consistently trying to get reaction from Omar Abdullah and the government officials who framed the policy. The CM refused to take calls from HT while minister of state for home, Nasir Aslam Wani's promise of calling back proved false. Director school education Mohammad Shafi Rather stated that there was no communication from government over the issue. Home secretary BR Sharma said that the government had taken due consideration of the families of the youth intending to return. 'The issue of admission of their children, however, was not thought in advance but we will look into it,' said Sharma. 'Since it took a lot of time for things to happen, there is some inertia. These are human issues and will be sorted out soon,' he promised.