India: West Pakistan refugees stateless even after 65 years of Independence
We the members of West Pakistan Refugees Action Committee wish to submit that we migrated from West Pakistan during partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and have since been living in Jammu Division of Jammu and Kashmir State as refugees.
Our present population is around 250,000. We have been deprived from all our constitutional rights by the state government, whereas refugees who migrated to other states of India have been rehabilitated by their respective state governments or the central government, and provided with best possible compensation and all constitutional rights.
In order to redress our plight, a Special Leave Petition was filed by Shri Bachan Lal Kalgotra Vs State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1987 in the Honourable Supreme Court of India. In its judgement the Apex Court suggested the ways and means by which the central and state government can redress our plight, including amending certain Acts or issuing Executive Orders. No action has been taken by any of the governments in this regard.
Secondly, the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in its 150th Report on The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2011 (Section 3 6 12), observed that the present status of the West Pakistan refugees is very unfortunate.
The Committee recommended that the central government should take up the issue with the state government as quickly as possible for redressal, but the central government is still silent on this issue. This is a sheer violation of human rights; ours is the third generation to suffer due to the denial of constitutional rights.
We appeal to the National Human rights Commission of India to recognise the humanitarian situation, and question why it is yet to take action in pursuing our plight. We want to know: why we are not being treated on par with the refugees who settled in other states of the country?
Image: Demonstrators protest for West Pakistan Refugee rights