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news details
BJP ditches Hindu refugees from Pakistan
No to citizenship rights
1/10/2017 11:36:49 PM

Early Times Report

JAMMU, Jan 10: When in opposition (and it was in opposition till February 2015), the BJP used to bat for the citizenship rights for the Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan. These persecuted non-Muslims walked over to Jammu from Sialkot and the surrounding areas of the then West Pakistan in 1947. The BJP's all election manifestos and all of its resolutions adopted during the executive body meetings always held out a categorical commitment that the BJP, if voted to power in Jammu & Kashmir, would grant them all the citizenship rights so that they could lead a dignified life.
On the eve of the 2014 General Elections, the BJP top leadership roped in the leadership of these refugees promising citizenship rights to them and the result was that their organization pledged full support to the both the BJP candidates. What had filled their hearts with hope was the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's two speeches, one each in Jammu and Hiranagar. He, too, had dealt with the refugees issue quite in details.
Though these refugees were not entitled to vote in the subsequent assembly elections in the state, the BJP's so-called vision document touched upon this issue. In fact, it said: "The BJP, if voted to power, will grant them all citizenship rights, including the right to property, government jobs, vote, education and bank loans". It was only natural that these hapless refugees pinned faith in the BJP hoping that the BJP's rise to power in the state will end their night of discontent and despair.
The Government of India did last month took one good step to mitigate some of their hardships but the PDP-BJP coalition government knelt under pressure from the separatists, the NC, the Congress and other anti-refugees forces in Kashmir. The Government of India had given the nation and these refugees to understand that these refugees would be issued domicile certificates but the state government said that it would issue only identity cards. The indifferent attitude of the ruling coalition hurt heir psyche and they lambasted the BJP in general and the BJP ministers in particular, saying it was the BJP ministers who let them down in order to remained clung to power.
And on Monday, the ruling coalition dashed all of their hopes when the concerned minister informed the legislative assembly that the state government was not considering any proposal on citizenship rights to the refugees from Pakistan. As expected, the refugee leadership today came down heavily not on the PDP but on the BJP. One refugee leader said: "The BJP has yet again ditched West Pakistan refugees", and added that "they will now never trust the BJP" and that "they would soon meet the Prime Minister in Delhi and lodge complaint against the BJP ministers".
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