Shun dichotomy                                      

Farooq Wani
February 7, 2017 OPINION 356 Views
Shun dichotomy                                      
Amid talk of `composite colonies’ for Kashmiri migrant Pandits and rehabilitation of West Pakistan Refugees, people, it appears, have forgotten the 1947 Muslim migrants.  There is no denying the fact that the migrant pundits have suffered and so have the refugees from West Pakistan. But the people who were forced to migrate from various parts of Jammu region in 1947 and those who were exiled for political reasons have also suffered. They desperately want to come back. While package after package is given to the pundits and the refugees, the Muhajireen cannot even talk to their relatives in this part of Kashmir on telephone.
New Delhi does not seem interested in restoring the tele-ties between the state and Pakistan administered Jammu Kashmir. And when the state government tried to facilitate their return through legislation, the government of India and the communal forces in Jammu opposed it.  Sher-e-Kashmir introduced legislation in the assembly in 1980 which was later passed. The legislation came to be known as Re-settlement Act. Sensing the gravity of the legislation, the government of India referred it to the Supreme Court for opinion which returned it after twenty-years without any changes or comments. However, the communal forces expressed serious reservations and one among them approached the Supreme Court.
The apex court stayed the implementation of the Act. The petition has not come up for hearing for the past seven years and the state government, which is duty bound to defend the legislation is watching like a mute spectator. When the Supreme Court returned the legislation in 2002, people holding evacuee property in Jammu came out on the streets.
The government had to assure them of their comfortable stay in the property which they hold but do not own. The legislation has far reaching political consequences. As per the provisions of the Delhi Agreement of 1952  all those people who, prior to partition, were permanent residents of the state and migrated to areas which come under Pakistan will be considered state subjects, if they want to return. Different yardsticks should to be applied to measure the sufferings of different migrants.
The Muhajireen do not need doles but want a political package for homecoming.  The government of India should shun this dichotomy. If there is a package for Kashmiri Pandits and the West Pakistan Refugees, there has to be a package for the 1947 migrants. Will it happen during Modi rule?

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