Moderate Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday held emergency meeting over the West Pakistan (WP) refugees’ issue in Srinagar and alleged that the BJP “was planning to change demographics in J-K to subvert referendum on Kashmir problem”.
“The Hurriyat is concerned over the meddling with the demographics of J-K, aimed at subverting people’s right of self-determination,” said a joint statement issued by Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on behalf of its around thirteen constituents.
All members of the Hurriyat’s executive, General Council and Working Committee met at Rajbagh office in the wake of recommendation of more rights to West Pakistan refugees by Union home ministry. These rights include job rights in and outside the state, particularly in military and para-military forces.
The Hurriyat joint statement said it opposed the recommendation made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs to grant Jammu & Kashmir “Permanent Resident (State Subject) Status” to refugees from erstwhile West Pakistan.
“We also oppose similar proposals spelled out in the BJP’s ‘Vision Document’ for J-K. It included granting of citizenship rights, including right to vote in assembly and local-bodies elections, abolishing of custodian department and allotment of the evacuee property to the occupants,” said Hurriyat spokesman.
Describing the refugees, who came to J-K from erstwhile West Pakistan, as “non-permanent residents”, Farooq said, “These refugees have no right to permanent residence the same way the thousands of Tibetan Muslim refugees, living in Kashmir since 1960, don't have.”
Warning against painting the issue as communal, the Mirwaiz said, “This is not a communal issue nor is it a so-called Jammu versus Kashmir but the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Parties should desist from pursuing such dangerous agendas.”
The moderate Hurriyat’s warning comes in the backdrop mounting opposition from hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, mainstream parties like National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Such a move is also illegal and would be a violation of the Right of Return of those Kashmiris who were forced to migrate to the other side of the ceasefire line. Nobody has the right to confiscate the property and dispossess any permanent resident (state subject) of Jammu & Kashmir, currently under the custodian department,” said the Hurriyat statement.
The Hurriyat said it plans to approach other separatist groups, members of civil society and the legal fraternity “to mount a united, effective and sustained effort for the defence of Jammu & Kashmir”.
“We will also reach out to civil society in Jammu and Ladakh,” he added.
Meanwhile, PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar has also cautioned the Union government against “hasty decision.”
“It is a legacy of the partition and a very complicated and complex issue. No decision on such a sensitive matter should be taken arbitrarily as it could have repercussions. The Government of India must desist from any unilateral decision,” he said.
NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar has also opposed the recommendations.
“They are unacceptable and is a wicked conspiracy to temper the special status of Jammu And Kashmir State. Anti-Jammu and Kashmir elements are employing tactics to change the demography of the state,” he added.