Address their concerns
It was another day of protests for the Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants, who returned to the Valley through Nepal under a government rehabilitation scheme. These women have been demanding to be provided with domicile rights or allowed to move back as many of them have been facing various issues here.
However, the demands of these mostly young women have been ignored for the past several years now and the present government too has shown no inclination to get their grievances redressed.
These women were allowed to enter the Valley along with their Kashmiri husbands and then after the euphoria of rehabilitating the returnee militants ended the families were deprived of all rights and moreover even travel documents have not been provided to them.
It was in 2010 the Omar Abdullah led government offered a scheme for all those who had crossed over to Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) for arms training to come back to their native place and lead normal lives.
At least 450 Kashmiri men, who had crossed the Line of Control for arms training from time to time since 1990, returned to the Valley under the rehabilitation policy. These men had got married and most of them had families who too migrated to Kashmir.
Under the rehabilitation policy announced by the then government in 2010, the returnees were promised a monthly stipend or honorarium besides skill development training to the youth who returned after deciding to shun gun and live a normal life.
It has been almost a decade now since they ended up being here. But there has been no end to their woes as no measures announced at that time were taken to help them lead a dignified life.
The children of these people were denied admissions in schools for being born in PaK and the fathers too faced an uphill task as no one was willing to hire them for work.
The promises made to the returnees and their families fell apart as no official documents and ration cards were provided to them so that their life could be made easier. The harassment by security agencies including the police also took their toll as most of the returnees had to face a tough ordeal while dealing with the security establishment.
The situation as of now is very chaotic for the families of these men who have returned back and more so for those women who have for one or the other reason been divorced by their husbands here.
A rough survey suggests that more than 50 such women are living in despair as they have been divorced by their husbands owing to various issues and these women, some of them with their children, are living a desperate life with no help being provided to them from any quarter.
The government has also been ignorant to the demands of these women as the policy that was announced to get them back to their native land has been a miserable failure and no follow up to the promises was ever made by the authorities as well.