A Look through the mist: Will Modi Govt bring out special packages for 1965/1971 Chhamb refugees?
Election season has come. Vote seekers will be visiting the Chamb refugess as well. Even PDP and NC will express concern for them.
All most all people from about 12 to 14 villages of Chhamb Distt Jammu were uprooted in 1965. And not only that, the people of all the villages of Chhamb (about 46 to 48villages) were asked by Government of India to vacate their homes/lands in 1972 after Shimla agreement was signed by India with Pakistan. As per rough estimate nearly 6,500 to 7,000 families were affected in 1971/1972 (no doubt the affected people say that numbers are much more).
Of these around 4,600 families comprising of nearly 19,000 souls were accommodated in relief camps and nearly 1,600 to 2,000 families were treated as non-camp DPs of 1971. It is not out of place to mention here that the same Union Government had not approved the request of 1947 POJK DPs and proposals of the J&K Government to atleast register the properties left behind by the people displaced from areas occupied by Pakistan in 1947-48 through aggression pleading that the areas are Indian lands and in case the POJK displaced persons are given claims of properties left behind it would give an impression that India has in a way surrendered the claims on the areas of Indian State of J&K occupied by Pakistan.
On the one hand right since 1947 India Government was professing that the occupied areas will be got vacated and hence POJK DPs were not given claims for the properties left behind as were given to refugees who had come from Pakistan as a result of 1947 Partition. A Rajya Sabha Committee on petitions that was examining the petition filed by the J&K Sharnarthi Action Committee in 1978/1980 should have better questioned the government that how was the Ministry of Defence/ Foreign Affairs pleading that the PO areas of Indian State are yet to be vacated when the Government of India had in 1972 surrendered even some additional areas (Chhamb) to Pakistan. What to talk of the committee on petitions, unfortunately no other men who mattered have questioned those who had been in power in Delhi.
So, more families were made refugees in their own country 25 years after independence in view of the policy decision of Government of India (GoI) asking them to vacate their homes / lands in 1972. These unfortunate people deserved special rehabilitation, employment and education packages but no such steps were taken neither by GOI nor by J&K Government. More than 42 years have passed since then. One can imagine the loss these people might have suffered over the last four decades.
Yes, these people do attract the attention of the politicians but only when there are elections to state legislature or the Parliament. It is now time for J&K Assembly elections and may it be Congress or even PDP or NC all have started expressing concern for them. So far BJP had never any workable hold on the local governments and hence can lay some excuses. But, BJP did rule for about six years at center and their government too did not do something special for these people at all India level. Why could be a question?
Government must on priority once again draw out data on the number of families and population in 1971 and 2014 so that there are no confusions.
What to talk of special rehabilitation, employment, education and economic packages for these people, even the issues as regards the land allotment to agricultural families and making good the less allotment by additional lands / cash compensations as well as the local demands of the urban families have not been yet disposed to the satisfaction of these families by GOI/ State Government.
Parties like National Conference and JK PDP must in simple words spell out what they will do for them before they seek their vote for 2014 Assembly Elections.
BJP has been in power in Center since May this year, what has stopped GOI from giving priority to announcing special socio-economic packages for these people who had been made refugees in their own country by GOI by signing an agreement with Pakistan in 1972?
(Daya Sagar is a senior columnist on Kashmir affairs and a social activist and can be reached at [email protected]).