West Pakistan Refugees meet Rajnath, submit charter of demands

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 23 (ANI): A delegation of West Pakistani Refugees (WPRs) led by its president Labha Ram Gandhi on Friday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and submitted a charter of demands. Their demands included Citizenship right in Jammu and Kashmir, special package for rehabilitation in J-K, right to vote/ contest in the state elections, allotment of land, special recruitment, right to education in technical/ professional institutions, issuance of SC/OBC certificates. The delegation further demanded for the appointment of a relief commissioner for West Pakistani Refugees to look into and redress their grievances. While appreciating the sentiments of the members of delegation, Singh assured them that he would look into the matter and take necessary action. He said the MHA has appointed a nodal officer to exclusively coordinate with the refugee community for redressal of their day to day issues. The minister also said the MHA is working out a suitable provision to overcome the problems faced by the West Pakistani Refugees in terms of non-issuance of SC/ST/ OBC certificates by the state government. The West Pakistani Refugees settled in J-K are citizens of India and they have the right to vote in Parliamentary Elections, however, they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of J-K Constitution. They do not enjoy voting rights to the state assembly and local bodies. The conferment of Permanent Resident Status to the West Pakistani refugees settled in J-K falls within the purview of J-K Constitution, which will enable them for jobs under state government, for admission into the state technical/ professional institutions and the right to purchase/ acquire land/ immovable properties in J-K. No separate proposal is under consideration of the government to recruit the children of West Pakistani Refugees in paramilitary forces. However, these children were allowed to be recruited in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) without the condition of having domicile certificate from the designated authority of the J-K government. Other proof such as names in the parliamentary voter list are to be taken as proof of their being refugees from West Pakistan and the certificate issued by the village numberdar/ sarpanch can be accepted and taken into account for the purpose of recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles against the quota of J-K. The children of these refugees are eligible to apply against the vacancies in paramilitary forces earmarked for J-K. In the wake of the Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, about 5,764 families who migrated from the then West Pakistan are residing mainly in Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu Division. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh and the Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi were also present. (ANI)