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Dineshwar Sharma reaches out to Jammu migrants

Talwara camp has over 2200 families from Reasi, Udhampur, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch . The migrants say they live in inhuman conditions with meagre government dole.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2017 19:34 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Jammu and kashmir,Jammu migrants,Militancy
The Centre's special representative for Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, during his visit, in Jammu, on Saturday.(HT Photo)

After visiting displaced Kashmiri Pandits at Jagti township near Nagrota on Friday, the Centre’s special representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma reached out to another group of victims of militancy at Talwara migrant camp in Reasi district on Saturday.

Talwara camp has over 2200 families, who had fled their homes in Reasi, Udhampur, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch districts following selective killings during the height of militancy in Jammu region in the 1990s.

They continue to live in pathetic conditions at Talwara camp in absence of basic amenities with successive state governments not providing them relief on a par with Kashmiri Pandits despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2004.

The apex court had directed the state government that it cannot have two different yardsticks for the same set of people and must treat Jammu migrants on a par with Kashmiri migrants in terms of ration, relief and cash assistance.

Sources privy to the Sharma’s closed door talks with Balwan Singh, president of Talwara migrant camp divulged that the latter flagged inhuman treatment to the Jammu migrants in the camp.

“He divulged that in absence of adequate help from the government, the victims of militancy are forced to live inhuman lives. He sought a proper township and other facilities akin to Kashmiri Pandits,” they added.

Sharma also sought to know status of basic amenities being given to the families.

Panthers Party leader Prof Bhim Singh has demanded that the Jammu migrants should be provided all their arrears from 2004 to 2017 amounting to Rs 21 crores.

“All the Jammu migrants should be provided relief both in cash, kind and for the resettlement in their native villages at par with the Kashmiri migrants without delay,” he said.

Read more: Meeting Kashmiri students top of Dineshwar Sharma’s agenda, unions wary

Cash and kind relief was being provided to the Jammu migrants from 2001 but for the past nine months it has been erratic.

Jammu migrants get Rs 1600 per family a month, 9 kg atta (flour), 2 kg rice, 10 liters of kerosene oil and Rs 300 for cattle a month.

In contrast, Kashmiri Pandit migrants get Rs 2500 per individual a month up to a maximum ceiling of Rs 10,000 a family. For children up to 4 years of age, there is a payment of Rs 400 a month.

They also get 9 kg rice per individual a month, 2 kg atta per individual a month, 1 kg sugar a month per family.

The cash and kind relief to Pandits was applicable to only employees in private sector. There are 17000 families out of which 3000 are Muslim and Sikh families, who had also migrated in 1990.

Later, Sharma returned to Jammu here where he met various delegations.

Prominent among them All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)—an umbrella organization of Panches and Sarpanches, led by its president Anil Sharma stated before Sharma that only solution to establish long lasting peace in the state was empowered Panchayati Raj institutes in the state.

They also demanded that union government must ensure that scheduled Panchayat and municipal elections are held without any interruption irrespective of political dispensation.

Their demand also includes implementation of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Indian Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir.

The delegation also regretted that families of over 20 Panchayat members, who were killed by militants, have not been given any monetary help or permanent government jobs.

Before leaving for the Kashmir Valley on Sunday, Sharma will visit villages along the Line of Control and International Border to take stock of their issues.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 19:34 IST