Independent MLA-elect Sheikh Abdul Rashid on Friday opposed any proposed attempts of the BJP-led Centre to provide residency and voting rights to West Pakistan refugees in Jammu and Kashmir.
"We will never allow the nefarious designs of the Central government to give state subject (residency) and voting rights to them (West Pakistan refugees) as that will change the whole demography of the state.
They want to change the majority character here. There is no justification to provide them eight seats (in assembly)," Rashid told reporters after leading a protest rally against the decision.
Rashid, elected to the state legislature for the second consecutive term from north Kashmir's Langate constituency, said the Centre should send such refugees back and allow the Muslims who were "forcibly sent" to Pakistan in 1947 to return.
"If Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka can go back, refugees from Bengal, Burma can return and 40 lakh Afghan refugees in Pakistan can go back, then they should also return. Then the five lakh Muslims, which were forcibly sent to Pakistan in 1947, should be allowed to return to their homes. We will not allow it to happen and the whole of Kashmir is united against this," he said.
Commenting on the impasse over government formation in the state, Rashid said he wanted National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join hands.
"We have been saying this (NC and PDP coalition) since the first day but they (both the parties) are the slaves of Delhi and take directions from Delhi. I want to tell Omar (Abdullah) and (Mufti Mohammad) Sayeed that their conscience is dead. We pray to God to awaken their conscience," he said.
During Assembly poll campaigns in J&K last month, BJP had said West Pakistan refugees were not granted their citizenship and voting rights over the last 66 years and the party would follow up the issue if it comes to power in the state.