On government of India’s directions, state govt asked revenue officials to provide category certificates to WPRs
Srinagar: Domicile Certificates have been issued to as many as 784 West Pakistan Refugees till 2012, local news agency GNS reported on Friday.
The agency also reported that the state government, following directions from the government of India’s home ministry, has ordered revenue officials to issue category certificates—Scheduled Caste, Actual Line Control and Other Backward Classes—to WPRs without hassle.
Union home ministry’s Joint Secretary (J&K) Gyanesh Kumar had on 20 September 2016 written a letter to chief secretary BR Sharma for “necessary directions” to the field-level (revenue) officers in this regard.
“This is in continuation to our telephonic conversation regarding the issue of category certificate e.g SCs, OBCs, ALCs etc to the West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) for the purpose of jobs/schemes in government of India, we shall be grateful if necessary directions are issued to the field level officers and a copy of the same is sent to us,” reads the communication with a further request to “let us know the name, designation, phone and email of the officer of the government of J&K who can be approached by any of the WPRs in case difficulty, if any.”
Subsequently, on 16 November 2016, assistant commissioner (Gen) Jammu wrote to the tehsildars of Jammu/Nagrota/Dansa/Jammu West/Arnia/Bishna/Manda/Jammu South/Bahu/Suchetgarh/RS Pura/Jammu North/Bhalwal/Marh/Chowki Choura/Maira Mandrian/ Akhnoor/ Jourian/Pargwal/ Khour and Kharballi areas regarding the issuance of Caste Certificate to WRPs.
“Kindly find enclosed herewith copy of letter No. 402/SC/OBC/WPR-1947/3511-3523 dated 01-11-2016 received from office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu enclosing herewith copy of DO. No. 12013/05/2014-KV dated 20-09-2016 of Joint Secretary (J&K), Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, addressed to Chief Secretary regarding the subject cited above,” reads the communication to the tehsildars.
“In this connection, I am directed to request you (Tehsildars) to kindly take necessary action as per the contents of enclosed DO letter and ensure that the concerned people may not be harassed in the matter. Also copies of format devised for the purpose are enclosed,” assistant commissioner’s letter reads.
Another document accessed by the GNS regarding the WPRs includes a letter by the secretary, department of revenue, J&K government, has sought reasons from the state government for stopping “domicile certificates” to the WPRs.
“Kindly recall the presentation made by the Union Home Secretary before the department-relegated Parliamentary Standing Committee held on 11-11-2014 when you were also present amongst others,” reads the letter written to the state’s revenue secretary by one RC Nayak, consultant home ministry of India’s FFR Division
“The chairman and other members of the committee had, inter alia, raised the issue of Domicile Certificate in respect of the West Pakistani Refugees settled in J&K. It was earlier reported by the state government that such certificates were being issued to the West Pakistani Refugees. Till 2012, 784 domicile certificates were issued in favour of these refugees,” it said.
“However, it is understood that the state government has stopped issuing such certificates. This ministry is not aware of the reasons for not issuing the certificates to WPRs,” the letter says, adding, “It is therefore, requested that suitable instructions may kindly be issued to the concerned offices/authorities of the state government to issue the Domicile Certificates to the WPRs living in the state. This would help them to get employment in the central government jobs,” it added.
Labha Ram Gandhi, president West Pakistani Refugee Action Committee told GNS that nearly 800 domicile certificates had been issued to the refugees.
“Our main demand is regarding state subject and Dr Jitender Singh (Minister of State, PMO) whom we met in New Delhi yesterday fully assured us to fulfil our genuine demands. We are confident that the ruling government at the centre is more competent and favourable instead of previous government which remained indifferent to our demands,” he said.
Anger is brewing in the valley over the issuing of domicile certificates to the WPRs, a move the resistance leaders say is aimed at changing the demography of the state. The state government, however, maintains only ‘identity certificates’ have been issued to the WPRs.
In an official statement here, the government said a “false and contrived impression” is being created regarding the change of status of the WPR.
“Such reports are deliberately being circulated to destabilize the situation and hit the political and economic interests of the people,” the statement said.
“It seems an orchestrated and misleading campaign has been launched to create an impression that the government is changing the status of the WPR and they are being provided domicile certificates,” Minister for Education and state government spokesman Naeem Akhtar had said in the statement.
He said the refugees who settled in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the partition of the sub-continent include those from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and West Pakistan.
“While the refugees from (PaK) have the status of the permanent residents of the state, those from West Pakistan are not entitled to permanent residence as they are not the domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said and added that given their present status, the WPR are entitled to vote in the Parliament elections, but can’t exercise their franchise in the State Assembly polls.
He had said as the WPR can’t apply for any job within the state, because of being non-state subjects.
However, to facilitate them to get jobs in paramilitary forces and other central government establishments, the government has issued them “Identity Certificates” which is in the same format as exists in the voter list for the Parliamentary polls.