March 2017 News

2,200 Muslim Families From Valley Seek Migrant Status

9 March 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu: Citing threat from terrorists, nearly 2,200 Muslim families from the Kashmir valley have applied for registration as migrants in the Relief Organisation in Jammu since the government reopened the registration in October last year after it was suspended nine years ago. Official sources disclosed that following outrage in Jammu over the decision, which is seen as a move by the state government to change the demography of the Hindu-majority districts, there is still no word from the PDP-BJP coalition on 'who these people are and what threat they are facing in Kashmir'. A senior official in the Relief Organisation said if each family which has applied for migrant status has four members then nearly 10,000 people are trying to shift and settle down in Jammu, which already has lakhs of refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and West Pakistan and militancy victims from Kashmir and hilly districts of the Jammu region. 'At present, close to 128 files have been taken up for verification and others will be taken on priority basis. There are directions to go slow for the time being but applications are being accepted,' said a senior official in the relief department. The decision has also disappointed hundreds of employees under the Prime Minister's package, mostly Kashmiri Hindus who returned to the Valley in 2010-11, as no effort has been made by the successive governments to provide them with basic facilities. Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Abdul Rehman Veeri said the issue was being blown out of proportion. 'I have already told you that the issue is being raised unnecessarily. We have a clear policy to prevent any new migration. The issue is being looked into,' Veeri said. Meanwhile, displaced Kashmiri Pandits today organised a protest against fresh registration of Valley migrants, alleging that the PDP-BJP coalition wanted to dilute their concerns.