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67 years of Independence, West Pak refugees stateless
Darpan Mago | 24 Feb 2014

West Pakistan refuges recently protested at Dogra Chowk demanding their inclusion as state subjects. A rally was organized which was proceeding to Civil Secretariat but was halted by a heavy police deployment.

A large demonstration was held on Wednesday by the West Pakistani Hindu Refugees, at Dogra Chowk near Press Club of Jammu. Their demands were of one-time settlement, including reservation in government jobs and ownership rights on land allotments.

"We want government to at least lend its ears. Agitations were held by us last year in December and a respite was promised. But the government hasn't done anything", said Vinod, a member of the demonstration holding a placard.

The outcry of people over considering them under the J & K state subject was very well evident during the protest and many of them were howling and lying on the main road. The traffic was blocked and the road was jammed with crowd hoping to pierce government's sustained inaction that has been lingering the issue since 1947. The rally was huge with heavy deployment of police officials forming a cordon around them.

Minister of State for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Ajaz Ahmad Khan told a delegation of refugees in November of 2013 that the state government had decided to prepare a rehabilitation package and send it to the central government for its approval.

Although in 2008 the Ministry of Human Resource Development had send in its directions to the state government on providing some waivers and relief to these people, the direction has somehow lost its path as the grievances don't cease to pile up.

With dewy eyes, one of the demonstrator recalled Saadat Hasan Manto's story 'Toba Tek Singh' and said, "I do not know, where I belong".