(Tribune News) JK Study Centre approaches SC panel for citizenship to refugees

The Jammu-Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC), a think tank affiliated to the Sangh Parivar, today approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) to lodge a complaint against the alleged discrimination meted out to the West Pakistani Refugees (WPRs) by the successive state governments in Jammu and Kashmir.

The JKSC’s decision to approach the NCSC assumes importance because the Centre is going to challenge Article 35A of the Indian Constitution in the Supreme Court.

It is all due to Article 35A that WPRs, who have been living in Jammu since 1947, are being denied citizenship and other constitutional rights, which are given to the other residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The think tank is of the opinion that Article 35A is the main cause of violation of human rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. The Article enables the state Assembly to define permanent residents and to give rights and privileges as citizens of the state.

WPRs are struggling to get citizenship rights in Jammu and Kashmir but they are deprived of the same due to Article 35A.

As majority of the refugees are Dalits, the think tank has decided to approach the NCSC for seeking its intervention in solving human rights issues of these refugees.

In a memorandum, the JKSC has demanded extension of Permanent Residents Certificate (PRC) benefits to the WPRs.

“In the year 1981, the state government had distributed application forms among thousands of refugees for giving them citizenship but no further action has been taken,” the memorandum stated, adding that these refugees should be allowed to contest and vote in all the state elections.

It has been further demanded in the memorandum that provision of separate funds to meet basic civic amenities such as opening of aanganwari centre should be made in the areas inhabited by these refugees.

Seeking intervention of the NCSC to restore fundamental rights to these refugees, the memorandum stated that these refugees should be brought into the mainstream of the Jammu and Kashmir population and they should be given access to their basic rights as guaranteed in the Constitution of India and in keeping with India’s international obligations to follow the UN Charter and international convention.