The pain of being homeless

Of West Pakistan refugees and Kashmir

ISSUE

DR.MIRZA ASHRAF BEG

Since the painful exit of Adam from the heavens the greatest desire of the mankind has been to make a home of its own. Despite this there are homeless all over the world including the most developed countries like US. As there are man-made boundaries these tragedies need be addressed on the basis of logic and wisdom for a long term solution. If we don’t follow rules and regulations there is bound to be chaos and anarchy in the world.
These days there is a lot of hue and cry regarding the settlement of the refugees from West Pakistan in J&K? Before expecting a way out we need to go into the historical background of these unfortunate people and the partition of India resulting in the continuation of special status of J&K and Article 370 of Indian constitution. Going a bit deeper, despite some manipulations in the past, J&K constitution and the Indian constitution are hinged together on certain defined principles. The more you tamper with these set rules the more we lead in to complications regarding relations between J&K and union of India. Having said that Article 370 of J&K constitution has its origin in the feudal system of Dogra rule hence is more mature than Indian constitution itself. That way the said article safeguards the interests of the state subjects of J&K irrespective of their cast creed or ethnicity. Hence it is incumbent on the state subjects to safeguard their interests irrespective of the fact weather they are from Ladakh or Jammu or they hail from the Muslim majority valley of Kashmir. At the same time nobody has a right to oppose the entry of displaced refugees of West Pakistan on the basis of their cast or creed or their ethnicity.
The point of discussion is just application of Article 370 of Indian constitution and its relationship with the constitution of J&K. Just to refresh here the two constitutions agree on protecting the rights of state subjects and gives guarantees that a non-state subject can in no case acquire the state subject status whatever. Hence political parties having different approaches to a common problem need to do some homework lest they come to a deadlock.
India is a large country with huge resources and a great foresight. It may not be difficult to rehabilitate these unfortunate victims of the partition at any other feasible site based on their origin of area of displacement. We need to remember that we have constructed housing colonies for displaced Kashmiri Pundits either in the valley of Kashmir or in Jammu based on their status of state subject. Nobody asked for their rehabilitation in other states of India and that was not a sensible solution at all. It will be very unfortunate to communalize the issues of human sufferings and connecting everything to the two nation theory of partition. Let us not behave as robots with a mindset?
It is also being argued that these refugees from West Pakistan be given property rights on the properties of the displaced state subjects that migrated to the other side of cease fire line in 1947. Here again we need to refresh our knowledge regarding international law at a time when Kashmir issue is still pending in United Nations that guaranties your rights on property and other related issues. That is why pending final settlement of J&K the state government in 1947 handed over these properties to the evacuee department of custodians with the result nobody can sell or buy these properties till date. We need to understand that we can give only what we have! We also need to remember that the state of J&K was not divided on the principal of two nation theory the way India got divided in 1947. The division of the state was the result of tribal invasion leading to UN intervention and a cease fire between India and Pakistan. That is why we have a line of control separating the two parts of the state and a final settlement of J&K is awaited.
There is a genuine point that these refugees are practically homeless for over sixty five years and we have to consider their rehabilitation. This also is a fact that since elections are round the corner political organizations have their agendas to hoodwink these gullible. It is incumbent on government of India to rehabilitate these homeless somewhere in India where they have legal rights for their future generations and not just a green-card to live in the green pastures of J&K.
(The columnist is the writer of the book, ‘Kashmir in search of peace,’)   

Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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