August 2018 News

BJP Demands Granting Jammu And Kashmir Citizenship, Voting Rights To West Pakistan Refugees

9 August 2018
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: The State BJP, which is ur of scrapping special status of Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday demanded granting state subject and voting rights to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) settled in Jammu and Kashmir. 'The state subject rights should be granted to WPRs, who are living in border districts of the State in Jammu province since 1947,' State BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi told reporters in winter capital. He said about onePRs are living in Jammu province since 1947 and they should be given citizenship rights of Jammu and Kashmir. 'Like any other resident of the state, they too should be given state subject rights. They should also be given right to vote in State Assembly elections, government jobs, government scholarships, etc,' Sethi said. About 5,764 families of WPRs settled in Jammu and Kashmir after 1947 and are presently living in border districts of Samba, Kathua and Jammu. The WPRs can vote in parliamentary elections and can get central government jobs but cannot vote for state assembly elections and cannot get state government jobs and scholarships. They also cannot pursue higher technical and professional education in State colleges. Sethi said majority of people in Jammu region favour granting of J&K citizenship to WPRs. 'People of Jammu consider them as their brothers and sisters. They don't have any objection'. On Article 35A, the BJP chief spokesman said the saffron party favours its scrapping. 'The removal of Article 35A can facilitate setting up of industries and factories by outsiders in the State. This can increase employment and jobs in the State as businessmen from outside J&K will invest in the State,' he said. Article 35A grants special privileges to J&K residents and bars outsiders from purchasing property in the State. No outsider can get government job or state scholarship. Stating that scrapping of Article 35A won't change demography of the State, Sethi said, 'J&K will remain Muslim-majority State. 'We will fight for g this Article 35 A,' he said. The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of petitions challenging validity of Article 35A till August 27.