February 2000 News

NHRC pulls up J&K Govt over migrants

2 February 2000
The Hindustan Times
By Anil Anand

NEW DELHI: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has censured the Jammu and Kashmir Government for its tardy handling of the issue of Kashmiri Pandit migrants who have been struggling for their rehabilitation ever since they had to flee the terrorism-infested Valley.

A three-member bench of the NHRC has expressed its displeasure on the manner in which a special committee appointed by the State Government on the Commission's directives to tackle the migrants' problem, has been conducting itself. "The manner in which the committee is carrying out the work to formulate the policies and principles in respect of the migrants, gives an impression that serious attention is not being paid by the authorities concerned in this regard", the Commission observed while hearing a petition filed by Kashmir Samiti, Delhi and Indo-Canadian Kashmir Forum. The Commission expressed serious concern on irregular functioning of the committee as it has met only twice ever since it came into being last year. This is despite a proposal put forth by the committee itself before the Commission that it will hold a meeting every fortnight. "The Committee met only twice uptil now. Even the notice for the meeting is casually sent to the Special Rapporteur of the Commission which confirm the grievances expressed by the complainants", it further observed.

Accepting the plea of Kashmir Samiti president Mr C.L.Gadoo and its counsel Ashok Bhan that the cut-off date for fresh registration of displaced persons be extended for the benefit of those who left the Valley after 1990 in view of continued migration, the Commission ruled that Mr Gadoo could send the list of Kashmiri Pandits who migrated subsequent to 1990 and settled in Delhi, to Delhi Government.

"Delhi Government should coordinate with J&K Government to ascertain the correctness of the list following which same procedure should be followed regarding grant of relief to them as is being done in the case of already identified displaced persons", the Commission further stated. In response to Mr Gadoo's plea that similar facilities should be extended to the migrants living in Delhi on the lines of those camping in Jammu, the Commission directed him to send the relevant details to Mr Amar Nath Vaishnavi---a member of the committee--to place it before the committee. "The committee in turn is expected to get an inquiry done through the Relief Commissioner and take an appropriate decision", it observed.

Significantly, the Commission concurred with the Union Home Ministry's claim that all problems faced by the migrants be dealt with by the committee. The Ministry took this stand in the light of a memorandum referred by President K.R.Narayanan to it, which was submitted, to him by a delegation of Kashmir Samiti on January 20.


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