November 2017 News

Spl Rep Says Refugees, Migrants, Border Dwellers' Issues Top Priority Of Govt

25 November 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Centre Government's Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma was today reported to have assured various refugees and migrants, putting up in Jammu for decades together including those from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Kashmiri Pandits, Reasi hills and dwellers from the International Border that their issues would be addressed and that the Centre Government was seriously working on them. Click here to watch video During second-day of his six-day visit to the State, Sharma today met 33 delegations including many from West Pakistan and PoK refugees, Kashmiri Pandits and border people and also visited Talwara migrant camp, where number of people from upper reaches of Reasi district were putting up in pitiable condition without any kind of major assistance from the Government. He became the first Interlocutor to take cognizance of 'worst kind of human rights violations' being inflicted upon Talwara migrants by the State Government. People from Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities were among a total of 33 delegations, which met Dineshwar here today. Representatives of the delegations told the Excelsior after meeting the Interlocutor that he assured them of 'very positive outcome' of demands and problems projected by them verbally as well as through memorandums. Dineshwar reportedly told representatives of West Pakistan and PoK refugees, Kashmiri Pandit and Talwara migrants and people living on the International Border that the Centre was committed to address their issues saying he would project their demands before the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Government besides other concerned authorities. Dineshwar reportedly told the delegations that the Centre Government was seized of the problems of refugees, migrants, border dwellers etc in Jammu region, where they have been putting up for years together and was determined for working out permanent solution to them. Sources said at least three to four delegations including the one from Amar Kshtriya Rajput Sabha wanted the Centre's Special Representative to ensure withdrawal of First Information Reports (FIRs) against 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land agitation against the Jammu youth on the lines of amnesty granted to first-time stone pelters of the Kashmir valley. Dineshwar is understood to have sought complete details of the FIRs registered against the youth during 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land agitation, which had lasted two months, from civil and police administration and assured the delegations that he would look into the issue and see what can be done. According to sources, delay in holding of Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies' elections was again taken up with Dineshwar Sharma by two to three delegations, which charged the Government with not only intentionally delaying the two elections to deprive the people of grass-root democracy but making no sincere effort to implement 73rd and 74th amendments in the State despite directions from the Centre Government and some other quarters. All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference also raised the issue of Panchayat elections and some issues, which they said, were required to be settled before holding the elections. They charged that the Panchayat elections would have no meaning if the Government didn't extend the powers to Panchayats, which they enjoyed in other parts of the State. It may be mentioned here that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his four-day visit to the State in September was flooded with complaints for delay by the successive Jammu and Kashmir Governments in holding elections to urban and rural local bodies prompting him to take up matter with the State after which the Government has set the process in motion for holding Panchayat polls after a delay of one and a half years. According to sources, the Special Representative also assured the Kashmiri migrants that the Government was deeply concerned over their problems and that they would be taken into confidence before formulating any kind of 'return and rehabilitation plan' for them. Sources said the border dwellers including Border Action Committee who met the Interlocutor, were confident that their problems like construction of bunkers, compensation for land ahead of fencing etc, damages suffered during ceasefire violations were nearing solution. BJP MLCs-Charanjeet Singh Khalsa and Ramesh Arora met the Interlocutor separately and briefed him on the situation. According to sources, Public Opinion Forum headed by Praveen Sharma presented a unique type of solution for Jammu and Kashmir suggesting separate Assemblies for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions with super structure to deal with matters of common concerns. The delegations of Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities raised number of issues before the Interlocutor and sought that their issues should be addressed in time-bound manner. The Special Representative's response to their demands was reportedly very positive. Sources said at Talwara migrant camp, the representatives of dwellers gave detailed briefing to the Special Representative on their 'complete neglect' by successive Centre and State Governments and denial of virtually no help to them. The migrants unanimously demanded relief and all kind of facilities to them at par with Kashmiri Pandit migrants. The migrants at Talwara hailed from militancy-infested districts of Reasi and Rajouri among others. They have been putting up at Talwara for years together and Dineshwar Sharma was virtually the first Interlocutor, who went to listen to their problems and assured positive response. Sharma, accompanied by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari and Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, Prasanna Ramaswamy, also visited a Government school at Talwara, which was being run in the open and issued directions to the Deputy Commissioner for construction of the school building. Sharma had yesterday met Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and was briefed on the situation by Chief Secretary BB Vyas and Home Secretary RK Goyal. He had visited Jagti migrant camp in Nagrota and met number of Kashmiri migrant delegations. He will leave for Srinagar tomorrow morning. Sources said during his visit to Kashmir from November 26-29, Dineshwar Sharma is keen to meet parents who have appealed to their newly-recruited children to leave militancy and return to the mainstream and details are being worked out, but the meeting will happen only if the parents want. The Centre's Special Representative will meet anyone who wants to address grievances, including parents of misguided youth or the ex-militant(s). 'But it will depend on their desire to meet him,' sources said. Sources said Sharma is open to meet Majid Khan - a footballer-turned-militant who recently surrendered - to understand him.