West Pak Refugees Want Omar To Address Their Problems

West Pak Refugees Want Omar To Address Their Problems

14 June 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Jammu: West Pakistan refugees, who are Indians but not permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, sulk over Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s “affections” towards Kashmiri militants returning via Nepal. While the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently ordered the State Education Department to relax norms to ensure admissions of Kashmiri militants’ children in various government schools, West Pakistan refugees rue the raw deal being meted out to their children. President of the West Pakistan Refugees’ Action Committee, Labha Ram Gandhi said, “Despite an announcement of the Prime Minister in 2009 to keep one per cent special quota, 10 per cent relaxation on cut-off list and 30 days extra time after the closure of admission dates in technical education institutes of Jammu and Kashmir for our wards, the state government refused to entertain our children.” It may be stated here that 23,012 families, called West Pakistan refugees in the state, can exercise their franchise in Lok Sabha elections but do not cast votes in Assembly elections. “Just see our hard luck?. We are Indians but not residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The CM has all the concern for the Kashmiri militants who are returning with their PoK wives and children, but he has not honoured even the PM’s announcement,” said Gandhi. “Sixty five years on, we still remain refugees in this state. We have not been given permanent residents’ certificates (PRCs) and our children continue to suffer because of the apathetic attitude of the government,” he said. Gandhi regretted that on one hand, the state government had all the concern and affection for the children of Kashmiri militants born to their wives from PoK, but has no concern for the families from West Pakistan who migrated to the state during Partition. “We rue the day we migrated to this state,” he added. Gandhi said their children do manage their studies till matriculation, opting for private schools, but problems crop up when they have to pursue higher and technical education in the state. “Without state subjects (PRCs), scheduled caste and OBC certificates, our children shuttle from pillar to post, but it seems there is no one willing to hear our grievances,” said Gandhi. He said the state government also turned a deaf ear to the letters from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. Nearly 270 Kashmiri militants - 117 with their Pakistani wives and children, returned from PoK via Nepal in the past one year under the state government’s rehabilitation policy.