September 2016 News

West Pakistan Refugees Seek Domicile Right In J&K

23 September 2016
Kashmir Observer

New Delhi: West Pakistani refugees Friday urged the Centre to grant them domicile right in Jammu and Kashmir, and sought a special package for rehabilitation in the state besides a host of other benefits. The demands were placed by a delegation of West Pakistani Refugees during their meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh here. The charter of demands included citizenship right in Jammu and Kashmir, special package for rehabilitation in the state, right to vote and contest state Assembly elections, among others. Allotment of land, special recruitment, right to education in technical-professional institutions, issuance of SC-OBC certificates are the other key demands of the team, an official release said. The delegation also sought 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 the delegation, the Home Minister assured them that he will look into the matter and take necessary action. Singh said the Home Ministry has appointed a nodal officer to exclusively coordinate with the refugee community for redressal of their day to day issues. The Home Ministry is working on 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, he said. The West Pakistani refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir 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 Jammu and Kashmir 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 Jammu and Kashmir falls within the purview of the state 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 the state, the release said.