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Not treating border migrants at par with Kashmiri Pandits inhuman: Home Secy

Not treating border migrants at par with Kashmiri Pandits inhuman: Home Secy

Author: Excelsior Special Correspondent
Publication: Daily Excelsior
Date: November 16, 2003
URL: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/03nov16/news.htm#6

Candidly admitting that not treating border migrants at par with displaced Kashmiri Pandits in giving relief is unfair and inhuman, Joint Secretary of Union Home Ministry H S Brahma today assured that Centre will take effective steps to provide justice to those inhabitants who were forced to leave their homes and hearths due to shelling from across the border.

Talking to reporters, Mr Brahma said that the Central Government would finalise an action plan for rehabilitation of border migrants of Jammu area in next four months.

The plan includes reconstruction and repair of damaged houses, tracterization of agriculture lands and alternative shelters in safer areas for the border migrants of Akhnoor, Kathua and Rajouri in Jammu division.

Brahma, who had visited some border areas and border migrant camps in Akhnoor area along with State officials yesterday, said that he took stock of the situation and also interacted with the migrants.

The migrants of these border areas were keen to return to their native villages but demanded that their damaged houses be repaired/reconstructed, facilities for tilling their lands be provided and alternative shelters be constructed at safer places for them at the time of firing and shelling from across the border, he said.

Admitting that their demands were genuine, Brahma said that the Government was morally bound to agree to these demands and implement them so that the problems of the border migrants, who suffered due to Pakistani firing and shelling, are alleviated.

Referring to Rs 76 crores package submitted by the State Government to the Centre on border migrants' rehabilitation, Brahma said it was under active consideration of the Centre and certain components of it have already been resolved and decided.

However, since the cost of the package was high, the decision would be taken at the higher level after consulting the State Government, he said adding both the State and Central Government will have to share the expenses involved in the package.

When his attention was drawn towards differentiating between border migrants and Kashmiri migrants in giving relief, Joint Secretary of the Union Home Ministry admitted that it was regrettable that two para-meters were adopted to treat displaced people of one State. He said that this issue has been taken up number of times and 'our Ministry is aware of the injustice being meted out to displaced border people"

"It is not only unfair but also inhuman not to treat border migrants with displaced Kashmiri Pandits", he said, adding, "it is really unfair and these differences will be resolved at any cost".

Replying to another question, Mr Brahma assured that compensation will be given to the farmers of their entire land which has been laying uncultivated due to tension on border.

About Kashmiri migrants, the Home Ministry official said that the Government was making efforts to bring them back to the Valley and action plan for this would also be finalised in the next 30-45 days.

As many as 444 flats- 144 in Anantnag and 300 in Badgam and Srinagar- were being constructed for them, he said and added this would be temporary measure till their final rehabilitation in their native places in the Valley.

He, however, said that this required a lot of motivation among migrants and also public support.

Replying to a question about different yardsticks adopted by the Centre in providing cash relief to Kashmiri migrants and border migrants, Brahma said that the issue would be resolved as it was unfair to treat people differently in the same country.

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