Won't consider relief package unless West Pak refugees included: Centre

  • Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2015 23:25 IST

The Centre has said it would not consider any relief package for the refugees unless the state government also includes proposal for the West Pakistan refugees. The Centre citing this reason has rejected `9,096 core package sent by the state government for the displaced persons (refugees), excluding the West Pakistan refugees.

"The state government is advised not to send the proposal for refugees in a piecemeal manner. It should send a comprehensive and consolidated package. The Government of India would not be able to consider any package unless it includes the West Pakistani refugees as well," the Centre had written to the state government.

The information was given by relief and rehabilitation minister in a written reply to a question by MLA Engineer Rashid. The
communication by the Centre could affect the relief package, including one-time financial settlement, sought by the BJP-PDP government for the people who had migrated to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and also because of 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. This package doesn't include relief for the West Pakistan refugees.

The government in its reply had said that 31,619 families of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) migrated in 1947, 4,061 in 1965 and 9,442 in 1971 besides 9,823 West Pakistani refugees migrated to this side during the period.

The BJP, when in opposition, had been demanding the settlement of West Pakistan refugees. But the agenda of alliance, is silent on giving them the status of the permanent resident, and merely mentions that the state government will provide means for their livelihood.

The parliamentary standing committee had in its report tabled in December 2014 had recommended one time measure in granting permanent resident

certificates of the state. The state government had, though, in its reply said there is no proposal to grant them this status of permanent residents.

The financial package was sent by the outgoing NC-Congress government. It includes financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh to each family.

The separatists are opposed to the grant of the permanent resident status to the West Pakistan refugees. CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had in a reply in the Council had said the government could hold round-table conference taking all stakeholders along for the settlement of this issue.

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