Refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who are now settled in Jammu and Kashmir, have welcomed the Central Government’s decision to sanction a Rs 2,000-crore package for them.
Although the refugees, who are relentlessly fighting for their rights “denied” to them by successive governments, welcomed the decision, they refused to give an affidavit purportedly having a declaration that the amount given to them out of the Rs. 2,000 crores will be the “first and the last instalment”.
The refugees said each family was promised Rs. 25 lakh, reservation to their wards in professional and technical colleges across the country and government jobs to unemployed youth, and thus, they would not give any affidavit and protest.
Billoo Chaudhary of Dag Channi village said, “First of all, we are not refugee. We are displaced people. We have shifted from one part of the state to the other part. But, the word ‘refugee’ has been tagged on us.”
“We are happy that this government has announced a package of Rs 2000 crores for refugees of 47, 65 and 71. We are happy with the Centre’s this step. Our demand is that the proposal passed by the state government and was sent to the Centre, envisaging Rs. 25 lakhs for each family to the refuses of 65. In addition, a central team, which had visited here and toured the entire border area, had asked for Rs. 5 lakhs,” said Chaudhary.
“A government committee has already passed Rs. 30 lakhs. We are ready to accept our share of Rs. 2000 crores, but we are not ready to give an affidavit saying it was the first and the last instalment; we will neither give the affidavit nor accept Rs 5 lakhs. If the government wants to give money in instalments, we are happy as we don’t want to burden the government, but we will protest against the affidavit,” Chaudhary added.
Another resident of the same village, Om Prakash, said, “We are happy that the government announced Rs. 2,000 crores package. Last government had sent a proposal of Rs. 25 lakhs and a Central team that had come here had approved Rs. 5 lakhs. The government can give those amounts in instalment, but the condition of ‘first and last instalment’ laid down in the affidavit is not good. Otherwise, we are happy with this government.”
Refuses living in Dag Channi, Nandpur, Abtal and other villages in the district have hailed the announcement, saying many governments have come gone but the present dispensation both in the state and at the Centre is raising their issues seriously.
However, they are demanding land ownership rights and a compensation for their land that was converted into the Line of Control (LoC), saying the land was only means for them to earn bread and butter for their family.