Srinagar: Awami Itehad Party chief and MLA-elect from Langate constituency, Engineer Rashid, on Friday urged pro-freedom and pro-India parties to stand united against the Modi government’s move to rehabilitate and grant citizenship rights to West Pakistan refugees in the state.
The BJP-led government’s rehabilitation plan for the refugees would be opposed “tooth and nail and this move would be allowed only over our bodies,” Rashid told Kashmir Reader.
Earlier, Rashid and his dozens of supporters staged a protest march from SK Park to Press Enclave here. He said that “five lakh Muslims were forced to leave Jammu by RSS men and settle in Pakistan during Partition.”
“If government of India wants to give citizenship rights to West Pakistan refugees then those five lakh people should be brought back and allowed to settle in their homes. Their properties were looted. We urge pro-freedom and mainstream parties to get united against the move,” he said.
Rashid and his supporters chanted slogans like “Mufti-Omar ek ho jao, refugees ko wapas lao’, ‘Hurriyat walo ek ho jao, refugees ko wapas lao’. He alleged that the settlement proposal was a conspiracy hatched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We should get united to foil Modi’s conspiracy plans. Refugees have no right to be allowed to settle here. If Pakistan can send back Afghan refugees, why not India?
“Why does Modi government want to send Bangladeshi Muslims living in India back to their country? Then they too should be given citizenship rights. We condemn (Home Minister) Rajnath Singh’s statement of granting concessions to the refugees and seeking issuance of citizenship certificate by JK government,” Rashid added.
Earlier this week, Rajnath Singh announced certain concessions to the refugees including their recruitment in paramilitary forces and sought similar concession in other sectors.
Singh has written to Defence Ministry for seeking such concessions by waiving off the formality of submitting Domicile Certificates (DC). Reportedly, Singh has also written to JK government for issuing DC to the refugees who are settled in the state since 1947.
Currently, the refugees settled in border belts of Jammu are declared as non-permanent residents. During electioneering, the full rehabilitation of the refugees was on the BJP’s agenda.
“Omar (Abdullah) and Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) shouldn’t maintain silence on this issue. Mufti considers himself a lion but he’s proving to be a lame now. He couldn’t cobble together a coalition despite having 60 seats (PDP-NC and Congress). He’s afraid of the saffron party. How can he ask for self-rule,” Rashid said while addressing his supporters. The protest march caused traffic snarls in the commercial hub of the city.
“BJP is leading an open war against Muslims. But Modi must understand, Kashmir doesn’t accept him as Prime Minister. He’s the PM of India not Kashmir. He is responsible for Gujarat communal riots,” he said.