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Posted at: Feb 11, 2019, 7:37 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2019, 10:29 AM (IST)

Demands unmet, PoK refugees threaten to contest against BJP

To launch door-to-door campaign against party for providing ‘meagre relief’
Demands unmet, PoK refugees threaten to contest against BJP
PoK refugees protest in Jammu. File photo

Amit Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 10

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the plight of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have said that the Centre continued to adopt a selective approach towards victims of the Kashmir conflict.

In an interview to The Tribune, Rajiv Chuni, chairman, SOS International, an organisation of displaced PoK people, said the refugees had always been ignored by the previous governments and the present dispensation at the Centre was also taking them for granted.

During a rally at Vijaypur on February 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “India will not forget the circumstances in which Pandits had to leave their homes.”

But the Prime minister did not mention about the plight of PoK and West Pakistani refugees who migrated to this side of the Line of Control in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Chuni said.

There are 36,819 families of PoK refugees which migrated to different parts of the Jammu region and have been demanding a rehabilitation package for the last 70 years, but even after the recommendations of the state Cabinet in October 2014 for providing Rs 9,096 crore (Rs 25 lakh per family), the Centre only announced Rs 2,000 crore for them on November 7, 2015. While the refugee leader claimed the Centre had disbursed Rs 500 crore in the last three years, official figures of the Union Home Ministry revealed that about Rs 930 crore was disbursed among PoK refugees till November 30 last year. Chuni said PoK refugees had approximately six lakh votes in the state and could play a decisive role in the Assembly or parliamentary elections. “We are going to launch a door-to-door campaign against the BJP for not fulfilling the promises made to refugees. If required, we may also field our own candidates to cut the vote share of the BJP in Jammu. We want to give it a message that if you ignore the plight of people, we will never let you sit on the chair,” Chuni said.

The POK refugees are demanding Rs 25 lakh per family and benefits on the pattern of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, eight seats for PoK refugees in the state legislative Assembly, permission to visit religious places at PoK and return of cash deposited at the Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Mirpur with interest.


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