IDP status for Kashmiri Hindu exiles on World Refugee Day

Hindu refugees from Pakistan are not getting their recognition in J and K

Is Pak meddling in Jammu to create a refugee crisis?
Is Pak meddling in Jammu to create a refugee crisis?

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]t would have been fitting for the Government of India to designate the miniscule Hindu community that was brutally driven out of Kashmir valley in 1990 as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on the occasion of the United Nations-sponsored World Refugee Day.

Instead, Hindus who fled West Pakistan after the war of 1947-48 have to this day not received any recognition, rights and rehabilitation at the hands of the State government. Sadly, despite India’s pristine civilisational reputation as a refuge for the persecuted over the centuries, it seems that the occasion is being studiously ignored by the Government of India.

Anti-refugee forces are currently on the ascendant in Jammu & Kashmir, with the Centre turning a blind eye towards growing resentment in Jammu province at perceived discrimination against the region, and the colossal failure, despite explicit promises in the 2014 parliamentary election and 2015 Assembly election, to secure the status and right of refugees from Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir, West Pakistan Refugees, and the IDPs.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]G[/dropcap]rowing demoralisation compelled Panun Kashmir, the foremost body fighting for the rights of exiled Kashmiri Pandits, to organise a seminar (June 19) where representatives of the various refugee groups came together on a common platform for the first time and resolved to fight unitedly for the cause of the nearly 15 lakh Hindu refugees in Jammu city. A resolution was passed, which inter alia stated, “the participants resolved that organizations of Hindu Refugees of 1947 to 1990, including Panun Kashmir, should close ranks and work out a strategy to get justice.”

It further stated that, “The participants also concluded that they are the victims of an ideological movement, which seeks the destruction of the “other”, the “non-believer” and his permanent inferiorization.

“The participants strongly felt that the Hindu Refugees shall have to use all such means and instrumentalities which put their case in a perspective and in an internationally recognized frame-work.

“It was also decided that the Hindu Refugees shall have to challenge all such euphemism and policies of the State that have kept them embroiled in a situation of confusion and helplessness for almost seventy years.”

The participants included historian Dr. Mohan Krishan Teng, Jammu For India, Panun Kashmir (Dr Agnishekhar and Dr Ajay Chrungoo factions), POJK Displaced Persons Front, West Pakistan Refugees Action Front, and a representative of the BJP Displaced Persons Cell.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he overwhelming feeling in Jammu province is that all talk of “Autonomy & Self-Rule”, which is the defining politics of the Kashmir-centric political parties, and the separatist constituency’s demand for “Freedom or Pakistan” simply reflect a desire to create an exclusively Islamic State, like Pakistan. This is why Jammu intellectuals have consistently opposed demands such as autonomy, self-rule, Musharraf formula, Kathwari Plan, as variants of the discredited Dixon Plan that aimed to divide Jammu province on the basis of communal demography and give half the province to Pakistan, while legitimizing its occupation of one-third of undivided Jammu and Kashmir.

It is pertinent that noted journalist Tufail Ahmad has repeatedly asserted that since Pakistan was carved out of India as a country for Indian Muslims, it was very much conceived to be an Islamic State; the fact that it formally became an Islamic Republic much later is incidental. This point that needs to be understood in India; Pakistan was created precisely to enable Muslims to live by their own legal and moral codes; a secular Pakistan is incompatible with this project and would not be necessary in the first place.

Few Indians are aware that at the time when Sheikh Abdullah and successive regimes were denying rights to Hindus driven out of West Pakistan, the State of Jammu and Kashmir was welcoming and absorbing, with full citizenship rights, Muslim refugees from China (Uighurs) and Tibet. As the infamous Article 370 restrained Central intervention in the matter, the State shunned similar rights to Hindu Refugees on grounds of “demographic assault”.

Clearly a communally exclusive agenda is at work. As a result, minorities (Hindus, Sikhs and others) feel deprived of an equitable share of development and complain of feeling squeezed.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap] series of events – from a 12.5 per cent service tax on the helicopter service to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, to serial attacks on Jammu temples, ostensibly by deranged individuals – have added to concerns over security. Many feel that Pakistan is behind these provocations, with a view to create a Kashmir-like situation in Jammu. A new and dangerous trend is being observed – families with means are buying property in other parts of India.

Currently, Jammu province is the most strategic region in the state and any threat to its identity and personality would seriously compromise the national interest in the State as a whole. The manner in which separatists (Hurriyat and other groups) united and forced the State Government to back down from its commitment to create a Sainik Colony and protected housing for Kashmiri Pandit exiles has forced a serious rethink in Jammu, which is now keener than ever for full integration into the Indian Union. This, the protagonists feel, is the only way to defeat the subversives, communalists and the evil designs of Pakistan.

There is growing dismay in Jammu that the existing policy of the Indian political class amounts to a retreat from Kashmir, which would be detrimental to national interests. What is undeniable is an evasion of the position that the only issue to be unresolved between India and Pakistan is the return of the so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan region, under the illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947, to India.

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Sandhya Jain is a writer of political and contemporary affairs. A post graduate in Political Science from the University of Delhi, she is a student of the myriad facets of Indian civilisation. Her published works include Adi Deo Arya Devata. A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa, 2004; and Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study, Rupa, 2009. She has contributed to other publications, including a chapter on Jain Dharma in “Why I am a Believer: Personal Reflections on Nine World Religions,” ed. Arvind Sharma, Penguin India, 2009.
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  1. Write up is a good sunup of situation,but has avoided Refrence to abetment of JKRSS BJP combine, who are part of DESTABLISING agenda,willy nilly.


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