West Pakistan Refugees To Go Nationwide With Their Plight

12 November 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Irked over their demands not being addressed in the recently announced economic package for the state, West Pakistani refugees have decided to launch a nationwide awareness campaign to educate the countrymen about their plight. Although the refugee leadership is still hopeful that the BJP will find out 'some ways' to address their long-pending demands, a group within the displaced persons is of the view that instead of solely depending upon the BJP, they should approach other political groups which are known for their 'pro-weaker sections' approach. In an executive committee meeting of the West Pakistani Refugees Action Committee (WPRAC), held at Swankha Morh in Samba district on Tuesday evening, divergent views emerged about the agitation. A group of refugees was of the view that it was high time a final struggle was launched to redress their long-pending demands. This group was of the opinion that instead of solely depending upon the BJP to get their problems solved, refugees should go for other options. As the meeting was held just after the results of the Bihar elections, some refugee leaders suggested that it was better to approach parties known for their 'pro-weaker sections' policies. Refugees have reasons to consider approaching such parties because a majority of the displaced persons are Dalits and some of them belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). 'We are exploring all possibilities to take our struggle to the logical conclusion,' said WPRAC chairman Labha Ram Gandhi. Following BJP state president Jugal Kishore Sharma's assurance after the announcement of the Central economic package, Gandhi hoped that the party leadership would find a solution to their problems. Sharma had stated two days ago that problems of those segments of society which might not have been adequately kept in focus while finalising the package would be solved at any cost. 'On the one hand we have been mounting pressure on the BJP leadership to fulfil its commitment while on the other hand we have decided to launch a nationwide awareness campaign to educate the countrymen about our problems,' Gandhi said, adding that during the coming Parliament session a delegation of West Pakistani refugees would visit Delhi to meet representatives of all political parties. Ignored by the Centre: The official document released about the recently announced economic package stated that Rs 5,263 crore had been sanctioned for the security and welfare of displaced people but there was no mention of West Pakistani refugees. There was a mention of jobs for Kashmiri migrants, rehabilitation of families from Chhamb and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. 'Economic package Kashmir-centric': Rajiv Chuni, a leader of the refugees from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), has termed the Prime Minister's economic package as 'Kashmir-centric'. In a statement issued in Jammu on Thursday, Chuni said that PoJK refugees were disappointed by the package because they were again 'deceived' by the government. He said the genuine demands of the refugees were not incorporated in the package.