PoK refugees seek abolition of Acts
18 December 2005
Jammu: Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees have demanded the abolition of the Evacuees Property Act and Resettlement Act to end their sense of insecurity over the past five decades. They had to flee their ancestral land during the India-Pakistan wars and are scattered in different parts of the country. No compensation has been paid to them. The Kisan Mazdoor Refugees Dal and PoK refugees from the State have demanded compensation for the property they left behind in Pakistan. They have also sought reservation in Government services and in Parliament. Among their other demands are grant of State subject status to the 1947 West Pakistan refugees, a special financial package and scrapping of the Resettlement Act and SRO 215 pertaining to the Evacuees Property Act. Captain Yudvir Singh, the president of the Refugees Dal, said there was a lack of sensitivity about PoK refugees. 'The least the authorities can do is rehabilitate the refugees thrown out of their homes. Our basic human rights have been violated,' he said in a statement. Unlike refugees from West Punjab (now in Pakistan) or East Bengal (now Bangladesh), those from PoK received no compensation for the land they left behind on the premise that Pakistan had illegally occupied it. Under the Evacuees Property Act, PoK refugees were given State Government land on rent. These refugees include people from Chamb on the India-Pakistan border, which was handed over to Pakistan after the 1971 war for delineation of the ceasefire line, later termed as the Line of Control.