After 8 years, Relief Deptt sets fresh registration process in motion

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Feb 14: While on the one hand Union Government has started a move for return and rehabilitation of displaced people back in Valley and State Legislature during its recent Budget Session has unanimously passed a resolution on honourable and dignified return of migrants to Kashmir, the  Relief and Rehabilitation Department of State Government has constituted a five member Committee for screening of the application for the registration of bonafide Kashmiri migrants, a process that was stopped way back in 2008.
An order to this effect was issued by Financial Commissioner, Relief and Rehabilitation recently which reads that the Committee will recommend the registration of bonafide migrants who have migrated or may migrate due to threat to them or to their families from the militants after fulfillment of all the necessary formalities laid down by Government for registration of these migrants from time to time.
It further read that the Committee should dispose of the applications for registration on case to case basis on the consideration of the threat perception and verification report by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and by the District Magistrate of the concerned district and the Screening Committee should meet twice in a month.
The Screening Committee is headed by Administrative Secretary, Relief and Rehabilitation Department as its Chairman, while Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) is its Member Secretary. Inspector General of Police (CID), Additional Commissioner, Jammu and Additional Commissioner, Kashmir are its members.
The decision has drawn a flak with various organizations representing Kashmiri migrants as well as some political parties saying that the Government sans proper policy on Return and Rehabilitation of migrants in Valley.
They said the reference made in the order that Committee should look into registration of those as bonafide migrants who may migrate in future due to threat perception to them and their families from militants will open flood gate for mass exodus also and will give a major setback to the return and rehabilitation formula of Kashmiri migrants even after the 28 years of their mass exodus from Kashmir.
This has put a question mark on the policy of Government on return and rehabilitation of displaced people back to the Valley.
Sources said the decision indicated that there exists basic contradiction in Government policy on migrants’ rehabilitation which over the years has been claiming to take them back with honour and dignity but failed to take concrete steps in this regard. Criticizing the Government decision, sources said this is ploy to open flood gates for fresh migration and the order is also in total contradiction of Central Government’s move on return and rehabilitation of migrants and State Legislature’s unanimous resolution in this regard.
Moreover by passing the order the Government is itself admitting that the ground situation in Kashmir is not conducive for return of migrants. This way the Government has also accepted failure of security agencies in restoring conducive condition for return of migrants to the Valley, sources said.
Sources while questioning the order said the fresh registration was banned by Government in 2008 after the then Screening Committee decided that in view of the improvement in ground situation in Valley and announcement of Return and Rehabilitation package by Prime Minister, the fresh registration should not be encouraged any more.
Even in 2013 the Government was under constant pressure from certain quarters to allow the fresh registration but it turned down the same, sources added.
Sources said it is not known under what circumstances the Government constituted a fresh Screening Committee.