Pak should retrain from raise height of Mangla dam: PoK refugees
13 September 2001
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
JAMMU: Thousands of families migrated from Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK) in 1947 and presently located in J&K and adjoining states have expressed serious concern over the decision of Pakistani Government to raise the height of Mangla Dam in Mirpur district of POK and sought the immediate intervention of Indian Government into the matter. Addressing a press conference here today, president of SOS, an international organisation for the welfare of PoK refugees Mr Rajiv Chunni and Yash Paul Gupta vice-president, supported various Refugee leaders disclosed that with the increase in height of the dam on river Jhelum in POK, over 27,000 families will be affected. They said most of the houses and the land belongs to the refugees who escaped for their life during attack by raiders and could not go thereafter. These families will be deprived of the compensation for their land and property. While the J&K Government has set up a different Department as Custodian- Evacuees Property to keep the record of the land and houses of those Muslims families which migrated to Pak but there is no record of the Hindus who left their properties on that side. The J&K Government never bothered to form such a department for the same. They pointed out that what is the fate of their properties and even large number of families have been deprived of their right to vote in elections. The SOS leaders demanded that Government of India should pressurise Pakistani Government not to raise the height of Mangla Dam till the fate of the POK refugees and their properties is decided. They said the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre must take a strong stand on this issue, which will directly affect thousands of families languishing on this side. Mr Chunni in a surprising move, today pointed out that from some old Bank records it has been established that refugees of Mirpur and Kotli had deposited their money in the Bank branches there. The record was also available in the Main head office. A large number of families escaped overnight during raid and most of them could not carry even passbooks and and other valuables. Some of the people who carried pass books after long struggle managed to get the record traced and got the money. He demanded that Chairman cum Managing Director of the Bank Mr M Y Khan should taken initiative to trace the old record of such families putting up here now so that they can get back their hard earned money. Referring to terrorist attacks on USA, the refugees said that first attack of Islamic fundamentalists was in Kotli and Mirpur areas in September 1947 and it is again September when fanatics, fundamentalist terrorists apparently supported by Bin Laden attacked USA with full might and claimed thousands of innocent lives. The USA and other peace loving countries in the world should take lesson from and and should wage a war against such forces unitedly. He said Pakistan is openly running terrorist training camps along LOC and Afghan border for the last one decade. The entire world today knows that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the encouraging terrorist activities and running training camps in their territory which are needed to be smashed. The refugees further pointed out that 24 seats in the J&K Assembly are still kept reserved for the people of the areas now in the Pak occupation. The State should give representation to those now residing in this part of J&K. Criticising the 75th report of Central Standing Committee released recently, the refugees outrightly rejected the same and maintained that it is not based on facts. It only indicates that only Sikh families migrated and not the Hindu families. the contents of the report are untrue and fabricated. It is breach of privilege and the right of thousands of Hindu families. They said that we have already written to the President and the Prime Minister of the country expressing strong resentment over the report. They suggested that a fact finding committee be constituted which may be impartial and genuine.