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People who migrated from Pakistan during 1947 need to dealt with humanely

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When the Country was celebrating freedom from the British Empire these people were forced to leave their homes and hearths within their own country

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Kanchan Basu
The whole World witnessed the forced displacement by the Pakistan aggression on the State of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947 in which the people were forced to leave their places in the areas of Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Bhimber, Sudhnati and Rawlakote. These areas are still under the control of Pakistan.
The majority of the people who faced displacement were Hindus and Sikhs. They have faced harsh realities in which many people have lost their family members and their relatives in this forced displacement.
When the Country was celebrating freedom from the British Empire these people were forced to leave their homes and hearths within their own country and a large population of Jammu and Kashmir was mercilessly killed by the ‘Invaders’.
The areas occupied comprised of the then Mirpur District and a part of Poonch Jagir Jammu province of J&K state, large part of Muzaffrabad District of Kashmir province of J&K State and Gilgit or Baltistan parts of Ladakh Region of the state of J&K.
As per J&K Raj Bhawan Website (http://jkrajbhawan.nic.in) the total area of the state of J&K is 2,22,236 sq KM. Out of which 78,114 sq. KM are under the occupation of Pakistan and 42,685 sq KM are under the Chinese Control while as 5,180 sq. KM of areas out of the areas (83,304 sq k.m.) occupied by Pakistan in 1947 October was given by Pakistan to China in 1963.
The Indian Government has no official record of people who lost their lives during the forced displacement in which a large number of people had to run for their life leaving behind their moveable, immoveable properties, personal and property and even documents.
There were very scarce means of transportation during those days. People had to walk long distances without food and water even for days before the survivors could reach safe shelters or bases. Even during their agonizing journey they were attacked by ‘Pakistani Aggressors’. It is pertinent to mention here that in that large scale forced displacement within the Country a large population lost their lives, physical assets, social support and even honours of woman folk.
There is no official record with the Government that how many infants, women and sick lost their lives. No Government agency can give the count of the orphaned children and widowed women, women who embraced death to save their honour and the disabled youth. But roughly it might have been in several thousands.
However, as for as the 1947 J&K displaced person’s issue is concerned, more than seven decades have passed but none of the Government at the centre as well as in State is concerned to fulfill the real demands of the people who were displaced.
The people displaced by the raging conflict at that time have been living in miserable conditions since 1947. As per the Definition of the internally displaced person [An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her Country’s Borders.
They are often referred to as Refugees, although they do not fall within the legal definitions of a Refugee]. Even Parliament of India had passed a resolution on 22nd February, 1994:
1. The State of Jammu and Kashmir has been is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means
2. India has will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, Sovereignty and Territorial integrity and demands.
3. Pakistan must vacate the areas of the India State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression and resolves that……
4. All attempts’ to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely. The Resolution was unanimously adopted.
As the community completed more than 70 years of uprooting from their homes the State Government has failed to take possession of their ‘lands’ from the ‘native country’ which was illegally occupied since 1947.
Since they are internally displaced people they need to be given all the facilities and monetary assistance which is given to internally displaced persons. Even after passing of seventy years nothing has been done to ameliorate their ‘problems’.
The Government of India must issue a ‘notification’ for fresh ‘registration’ of these ‘Displaced People’ which has yet not been done, whereby they call for ‘Registration’ all those ‘Internally Displaced Persons’ within the State and without as they were ‘State Subjects’ of erstwhile State of Jammu Kashmir Ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. This measure will provide succor to ‘Internally Displaced Persons’. By according ‘internally displaced person’s status’ to them.

(The writer is based in Kolkatta)

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