It is very unfortunate and sad that a section of society living amongst us is termed as “refugees” and denied basic rights on the plea that they are not the state subjects and have migrated from West Pakistan (WP) at the time of partition. It is tragic that even after 70 years of independence they are being given this treatment in their own country due to the parochial outlook of the majority community in the state.
In a press conference held at the party Headquarters, Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party strongly condemned the attitude of Hurriyat and other political parties opposed to the grant of domicile certificate to the West Pakistan refugees residing in the state. What is more discomforting is that these people belong to economically backward segment of the society and have been denied the growth opportunities due to no fault of theirs. Hartal called by Hurriyat and other separatist groups yesterday to oppose the grant of domicile certificate to WP refugees is very unfortunate, unwarranted and uncalled for. BJP strongly opposes the efforts of these pro-Pakistan elements to politicise a humanitarian issue.
Taking a dig at the stand of NC Brig Gupta said, political parties like NC are misquoting history and trying to mislead the people of Jammu using the name of Late Maharaja Hari Singh. Their contention that State Subject laws were enacted by the Maharaja to safeguard the interest of Dogras is being quoted out of context. The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state. It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the State with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India. All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India. Has the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be abrogated. He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years.
What is more surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past are now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate. The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same, lamented Brig Gupta.
BJP is the only party which treats this as a humanitarian issue and has decided to come to the rescue of these innocent people. Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in CAPF and Army. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K.
Ridiculing the contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography Brig Gupta explained that it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947. In fact,
It is the influx of illegal Bangladeshi and Burmese migrants that has resulted in the demographic change and ironically they do not raise any voice against them but welcome them. This highlights their communal outlook.
Our Party will continue to support the WP refugees and ensure that justice is delivered to them, assured the spokesperson.
BJP State Spokesperson Balbir Ram Rattan was also present in the press conference.