West Pakistani Refugees : A specific instance of Hindus under siege
1) Who are these people :
They are more than 2.5 Lakhs and are those unfortunate Hindus who had migrated from West Pakistan during the partition holocaust of 1947. They are settled in the border districts of the Jammu region since then. Unlike other migrants of those times, they haven’t been provided a state subject status in the state of J&K.
2) Effects of not having a state subject status:
This reduces them to people with limited Human rights. Their constitutional and other statutory rights are always in limbo. For them, the system is no better than a despotic monarchy. They face disqualification while taking admissions in state government educational institutions. They face disqualification while seeking employment in state government bureaus, while applying for ration cards or houses under IAY. They have no permanent houses since they cannot purchase land. They apparently face all sorts of disqualifications including property rights, which are faced by any other citizen of India who is not a state subject of J&K by virtue of the application of article 370. This is a violation of the Fundamental Rights of all these unfortunate “less than humans” who have become easy targets of ‘State Sponsored Terrorism’ presumably owing to their religious beliefs. The most unfortunate consequence of this blatant human rights violation is that these people cannot vote in MLA elections and the M.P that they vote for, is of limited utility to them, thanks to the errantly inserted article 370 in the constitution of India.
3) Is there any religious bias :
This is one of the most glaring instances of institutionalised State sponsored religious bias against the Hindus in J&K. On one hand, we have the Resettlement Act of 2001 which facilitates the terrorists in West Pakistan to surrender and resettle in J&K with governmental financial aid and a job security ; and on the other hand we have poor innocent ravaged people languishing in J&K fighting state sponsored atrocities. The former scheme intriguingly helps people belonging to only one religion and the latter discrimination is also thrusted against only one religion.
4) What the courts have to say :
The Supreme Court of India in 1987 had held that the refugees were eligible to be included in the electoral list, to acquire land, and to be elected in the panchayats, and further asked the J&K Legislature to take action to amend respective legislations. But the successive governments have had a clear mind – Nothing Doing…. 5 Lakh Kashmiri Pandits were driven out – Nothing doing….. 3 Lakh Hindu refugees stripped off of all basic rights – Nothing doing….
Is it a mere coincidence or, are Hindus really under siege in J&K?