Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) said on Monday that the intent behind a parliamentary panel’s recommendations to grant permanent resident status to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) was to forcibly assimilate Kashmir into India and sabotage the people’s struggle for right to self-determination.
At an emergency meeting of its executive and working committee members, the Hurriyat said it will reach out to other resistance groups, civil society organisations and legal experts to counter the efforts aimed at “meddling with state’s demography” and changing “the facts on the ground”.
The conglomerate led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said it will also consult civil society groups in Jammu and Ladakh as “their rights are also under threat”.
In a resolution adopted at the meeting, the Hurriyat said it expected all regional parties, whether “inside or outside” the Assembly which believe in seeing the state’s demography intact, to take an unambiguous stand on these moves and ensure the Kashmiri identity is protected.
“The APHC and the people of Kashmir are watching to see what role they play with regards to this most vital issue,” the Hurriyat said.
A parliamentary panel has recommended Permanent Resident Certificate and right to vote in Assembly elections for the WPRs and displaced persons (DPs) from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) besides a financial assistance of Rs 30 lakh per family.
The panel also recommended “de-freezing” of eight seats for displaced persons from PaK and reservation for both groups in the Assembly.
Union Home minister Rajnath Singh swiftly approved a few recommendations of the panel, including the one suggesting that WPRs shall be recruited in central paramilitary forces and a quota of seats shall be provided for their children in professional institutions like the children of Kashmiri Pandits.
Hurriyat Conference (G) has warned of a “strong movement” if the recommendations are implemented, National Conference and PDP have pledged to “fight tooth and nail” any attempt to tamper with state’s demography.
After the two-hour-long meeting, Mirwaiz told reporters the recommendations smacked of a divisive agenda and will have serious repercussions on Kashmir issue. He said Indian or Pakistani governments cannot unilaterally “adopt an approach” that will have repercussions on the Kashmir dispute.
“Kashmir remains an unresolved issue. We believe the issue of refugees should be dealt on humanitarian basis, not in a way that it will have serious political repercussions,” Mirwaiz said.
He said New Delhi should not create a situation, in which people are forced to demonstrate on streets and could lead to killings of innocents.
“Nobody is against giving them their rights and a dignified life but that has to be dealt with only when the bigger issue is addressed,” he said.
The meeting, which was also attended by senior Hurriyat leaders Abdul Gani Bhat, Molvi Abbas Ansari among others, also discussed BJP’s vision document that, apart from promising granting voting rights to WPRs, spoke of abolishing the custodian department and distributing evacuee property to their current occupants.
A large number of properties left behind by Muslims who were forced out of Jammu are under illegal occupation in the region.
“Such a move is illegal and would be a violation of the right of return which all those Kashmiris who were forced to migrate to the other side of the ceasefire line are entitled to,” a Hurriyat statement said.
The Hurriyat sought to clarify that “it is not a communal or Jammu vs Kashmir” issue and cautioned the parties that are trying to polarize the people on religious lines.