The Bold Voice of J&K

People from Chhamb were made refugees by GOI even after 25 years of independence

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dayasagarIt is disturbing that 1965/71 Chhamb refugees (they were made to leave their homes after their lands were given to Pakistan when Indira Gandhi signed Shimla Agreement in 1972 with Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) have started raising questions on the support Government of India (GOI) and J-K Government has been providing to Kashmiri migrants. No such targetted resentments had been shown so far. May be since these refugees feel that they have so far remained uncared for, so they have expressed such opinions.
Surely there existed all justification to bring all these ‘refugees’ even under backward class status right from 1972 itself since otherwise also these uprooted permanent residents of J-K had been from 1947 to 1971 living in continuously disturbed conditions due to Pakistani violations of ceasefire.
Since, no special socio economic support has been given to them their social/ administrative/ educational/ economic backwardness has further grown after 1971. Since 1965 /1971 Chhamb refugees have been made to leave their homes under a policy there exist all justifications for providing sponsored admissions / reservations to their children in private and Government educational institutions , if not more, at least to the levels, Kashmiri migrants of 1990 have been extended.
As per the information available it was decided by government to provide land to rural agriculture families as were made to refugees from Chhamb at a uniform rate of 4 acres Abi (irrigated) land and 6 acres of khuski (un-irrigated ) land. What has been the basis for fixing such scale uniformly was not made publically known. Another question is of one time compensation for the properties left behind by them.
The government has treated the Chhamb refugees under two categories i.e Camp DPs and Non-Camp DPs. It is alleged that this classification in a way has denied even the marginal benefits to some out of even the support that government claims to have given to the Camp DPs 1971.
Government must make public what has been their total number and what one time financial assistance has been provided to them in 1970s / what regular monthly relief has been given to them. Government of India must also make public if any assessment has been made of the properties left behind in Chambby Refugees (Non Camp DPs of 1971 and Camp DPs of 1971 separately ).
In 1999 Government of India did set up a committee head by R.D .Kapoor, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs for looking into the grievances of all categories of refugees/ displaced persons in J&K. Although this committee also appeared to have rushed through the exercise but even the half recommendations made by the Committee in 2000 were not adequately taken care. Some Non Camp DPs (they too had lost their lands/ houses / assets) are said to have objected for their not being taken even at par with camp DPs. It is also said that there were some labour class refugees in 1971/72 and they have been the worst sufferers.
J&K Government did appoint a Cabinet Sub Committee headed by J&K Finance Minister to look into the proposals and demands like enhancement of ex-gratia of Non Camp DPs but such issues are still pending. Some poor 1971/1965 refugees have alleged that they have been allotted bad lands and in some cases in small pieces scattered over different areas .
It has been understood that GOI has asked State Government to submit special package proposals concerning the Chamb DPs of 1965 and 1971. But no such comprehensive proposals have been sent till 2013. Why delays, even when in 1972 GOI on her own surrendered ‘their’ areas in J&K to Pakistan, no one is explaining. (Daya Sagar is a Sr columnist of Kashmir affairs and a social activist and can be reached at [email protected]).

Daya Sagar

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