No Govt gave priority to return of migrants to Valley
Over 2.5 to 3 lakh people were affected directly or indirectly due to militancy and if local Kashmiri migrant leaders are to be believed the total displaced population is between 3,00,000 to 7,00,000. It is not out of place to mention here that as per figures quoted by official sources at present 60,452 families of Kashmiri migrants were registered in the country out of which 38,119 were in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 families in other states.
In addition to local Kashmiri Hindu (mostly Kashmiri Brahmins), some other families comprising of Hindus, Muslims and others who did not have status of Permanent Resident of J&K too migrated from Kashmir valley after 1989. So strangely they (non-J&K permanent residents of J&K) have been denied relief as migrants by State Government. Central Government too has not taken due notice of this till date.
Of course the non-permanent resident (non-state subject) migrants of Kashmir Valley have not been compensated and attended to properly so far for relief purposes. Many of them had been staying in Kashmir Valley for over three decades before migration. Presently government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, too, provides cash relief of Rs 1,650 per head per month (maximum Rs 6,600 per family per month) from its own budget. but for that only 3,385 local Kashmiri Migrant families have been held eligible.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has very plainly advised Union Government something like suggesting that the solution to what is happening in Kashmir valley does not lie in goodwill gestures like sanction of infrastructure projects or employment generation but in ‘political solutions’. Of course he did not clearly spelled out what “political solution” within Indian constitution would satisfy the separatists and the ‘new generation youth’ whom he cannot stop from identifying with the ‘person’ like that of Afzal Guru.
So as regards the honourable return of Kashmiri Migrants and assured social security it is not the infrastructural projects or increase in summer Kashmir Valley tourism that need be given priority. The need is for checking the growing ideological pollution and check those who have been cultivating , even after 1990 , doubts and anti -opinions in Kashmir Valley. There is utmost need to draw a very clear line between the anti-India nation (not anti-India Government) ideologies / demands and the Kashmiri aspirations with in constitutional frame work. At occasions, the way some mainstream party leaders question India Government and even Indian Nation, it becomes very difficult to draw a line between the separatists and mainstream parties.
The result has been that many innocent youth often gets cought in the web of ‘some unanswered quotes and questions’.Unless the questions are answered in an unbiased manner it will also be unfair to accuse the Kashmiri valley youth who may be getting carried away with those who question India. And the environment would not be till then congenial socially and it will be unfair to ask Kashmiri migrants to return to Kashmir valley just for taking employment or make use of some financial help for house construction. The Kashmiri Migrants have to have a home on their return and not simply a house built of bricks and cement .
The plight of the migrants belonging to Kashmir valley who were made to run for life in 1989 added a new chapter in the agony of displaced people of Jammu and Kashmir (Displaced persons from PoJK and West Pakistan Refugees were already waiting for justice and fair rehabilitation. They are out of their homes for over 23 years. Return of the Hindu migrant to Kashmir Valley with honor and safety has not been given the first priority by either government, where as it should have been kept above all other project proposals. BJP lead NDA Government has shown some particular intentions for setting prioritie, let us wait and see before some observations are made.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told Rajya Sabha in a written reply on 9th July that only one Kashmiri Pandit family has returned to the Kashmir Valley since a comprehensive package for the displaced community was announced in 2008.
He did inform that government will review the package to remove bottlenecks and shortcomings, if any.
One would ask does he still mean to say that there are no identified bottlenecks in the implementation of ‘Comprehensive package for the return and rehabilitation of migrant Kashmiri families /displaced community’ worth Rs 1,618.40 crore announced by the Centre six years back (in 2008) as financial assistance for purchase or construction of houses, renovation of damaged or dilapidated houses, construction of transit. Rajya Sabha was also informed that 1,474 state government jobs have been provided to migrant youths who have been kept in newly constructed 1,010 transit accommodations in the Kashmir Valley – 505 at Vessu in Kulgam, 130 at Hawal in Pulwama of South Kashmir, 250 at Khanpur in Baramulla, and remaining 125 in Kupwara and other places of North Kashmir under the package. This shows that even those who have taken up jobs in the valley could not find the local environment socially worth returning to valley / their homes with their families .
Rajya Sabha was informed on 7th July that besides the 2008 package, earlier also Prime Minister’s package for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was announced in 2004 under which 5,242 two room tenements were constructed in Jammu and 200 at Sheikhpora in Budgam District of the Valley (of these 200 flats, 31 had been allotted to local migrants who migrated within the Valley).
Construction of permanent multistory pucca colonies for Kashmiri migrants in Jammu (Jagti) or transit camp colonies (Migrant transit camp at Vesu in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district ) in Kashmir valley has not so far done any good to the ‘ project return of Kashmiri Migrants to Kashmir Valley , instead such programmes have so far sent wrong signals to the new generation of Kashmiries back home in Kashmir Valley and international community suggesting that India has lost control over Kashmir valley and it is only the writ of separatists that prevails there. Such impressions need to be wiped off.
(Daya Sagar is a Sr coloumnist on Kashmir affairs and a social activist, can be contacted at [email protected]).