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These natives of J&K have become ‘outsiders’ as per new domicile rules

Last Updated on April 5, 2020 at 3:39 am

It was in 1947 that thousands of PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) residents reached Rajouri, Jammu and other places in the state. While most of them stayed in Jammu and Kashmir, some left for greener pastures in other parts of the country to earn a decent livelihood.

There were at least 22000 families who were forced to migrate from Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffarabad among other places in PoK after Pakistani army attacked Kashmir. Out of these at least 5300 families went to other places in the country.

However after a notification by the Ministry of Home on domicile in Jammu and Kashmir, these natives have been stripped off from their right to be the legal residents of the state. As per the notification, any person who has lived in J&K for a period of 15 years can be the legal domicile of J&K.

Most of these PoK migrants are living out of J&K for past long time and do not fall in the category where they can become legal domicile. On the contrary Kashmiri Pandits living outside J&K have become state domicile automatically as they are registered with Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner unlike PoK refugees who are registered with Provincial Rehabilitation officer, Custodian Department. Notification says that the person registered as migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrant) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall also be deemed to be a Domicile of J&K.

These 5300 families of Pakistan occupied Kashmir refugees neither have a Permanent Residency Certificate (PRC) of J&K nor felt the need to get one due to different reasons. However they always had a hope that they were part of J&K because of their origin.

As per official figures, while 22700 families settled on agricultural land in the state, 3600 settles in urban areas of Jammu, Rajouri and Udhampur. Rest of the refugees settled in Punjab, Delhi among other cities of the country.

PoK refugee activist Rajiv Chunni said that he would raise the issue at the highest level. “It is the birth right of Pakistan occupied Kashmir refugees who had to flee from attacks of Pakistani army and settle anywhere to earn a livelihood. The government must protect the rights of these refugees and give domicile status to all those PoK refugees who are staying anywhere in the country” said Chunni.