Sharma, Singh roar in Parliament, demands settlement of Pak refugees
JAMMU, Mar 15: In a significant political move two Congress Parliament Members (MPs) representing Jammu region today roared in the Lok Sabha and highlighted the plight of refugees from West Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Both MPs Chowdhary Lal Singh, representing Doda, Kathua and Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency and Madan Lal Sharma, representing Jammu-Poonch, Parliamentary Constituency, while participating in the debate that started on a Private Member Business over the much highlighted issue of "Formulation of an action plan to rehabilitate displaced from Pakistan", today in Parliament House at New Delhi, raised numerous issues of Pakistani refugees living a very miserable life in Jammu region. They didn't hesitate to point out the alleged delay by State Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in which Congress party is a junior partner, of preparing a proposal for the settlement of the refugees and displaced persons.
In his address MP, Madan Lal Sharma first welcomed the UPA Government for taking an important initiative towards the Pakistani refugees by preparing an action plan but he immediately highlighted that majority of refugees including those of Camp and Non-Camp, West Pakistani as well as displaced people of PoK who are not refugees but got migrated from one part of the State to another.
While addressing the chair, (MP) Madan Lal Sharma further pointed out that "when the entire package has to be delivered by Government of India then why there is delay at the level of State Government of Jammu and Kashmir. They (State Government) must take necessary steps in finalizing the proposal for the settlement of much awaited issue as directed by UPA Government. Still after 60 years, displaced persons of PoK have not got ownership rights, what to talk of the plight of West Pakistani refugees."
MP Chowdhary Lal Singh in his address went ahead and had a better off the State Government accusing it failing to provide social justice to the refugees and displaced families, the number of whom is in lakhs. "This lot of population has been exploited for 60 long years and such a practice must be stopped," voiced Chowdhary Lal Singh and further questioned that "if any foreigner woman gives a birth to a child in some other country, her son or daughter is given a citizenship right by that country or State. But here in Jammu and Kashmir, there is an irony that the refugees who migrated to India from Pakistan during 1947 aggression and opted to stay in J&K State have not been given the citizenship rights. Among this lot, thousands took birth in J&K and have passed almost half of their lives here but even then they have not been conferred with citizenship rights, which are a grave injustice."
The firebrand Congress leader, Chowdhary Lal Singh further pointed out that "has the then Chief Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah not stopped the refugees for further traveling towards Punjab or other neighbouring States, the refugees would have got their due rights. But as they settled in Jammu and Kashmir after the assurances by the then Chief Minister that they (refugees) would be properly settled in the State, they continue to suffer since then." He further said that "our Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh is an example to this fact. He was also among West Pakistani refugees and got settled in Punjab State. He like other refugees got all the benefits and today he is the Prime Minister of India for the second consecutive term. I urge to Government of India to direct the State Government to come out with comprehensive proposal in this regard and there shall not be further delay at its part."