We are deeply anguished with the contents of editorial “Akhand Bharat” published in the Daily Excelsior dated 11 March 2023, which contains half truth and shocking information that it were the POJK Refugees, and not West Pakistani Refugees (WPRs) who were the worst sufferers and deprived of all basic facilities and constitutional Rights including residentship, desired education, scholarship and even the voting right. However, it may be said here that the former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral was the WPR and not the POJK refugee. It were the WPRs who were provided no compensation, denied jobs, technical, professional and Higher Education even the ITI Diploma and Nursing courses. They were denied all facilities including even to own residential house and were left to fend for themselves for almost seven decades. Revocation of Article 370 and 35A have ensured the basic constitutional rights and residentship to the WPRs and not to the POJK Refugees as POJK Refugees were not denied any constitutional right but were considered as Permanent Residents of J&K.
It is to be mentioned here that POJK Refugees were the State Subjects and entitled to all basic and Constitutional rights of the J&K. They had been provided agricultural land at certain scale as decided by J&K Govt, and also other small relief in the camps organized by the J&K State. They were the permanent residents of J&K and entitled to all facilities and privileges as entitled to other residents of J&K. Article 35A or 370 was never stood in the way of POJK Refugee.
This editorial as published on 11 Mar 2023, has grossly neglected the WPRs who were the real victims and sufferers. The POJK Refugees were always entitled to voting rights, jobs and to contest for the Assembly as well as the Parliamentary elections. Moreover the 5.5 Lakh compensation was announced during 2015, well before the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.
It is to mention here with great concern that such media misinformation has made the WPRs to suffer grievously and accordingly, the Delimitation Commission has recommended nomination of MLAs for POJK Refugees and not to WPRs. The WPRs have no representation even in Panchayats. The media has failed to find the difference between WPRs and POJK refugees. As a result WPRs have remained neglected and discriminated. Delimitations who were even not the voter and has no representations even in the panchayats because of misinformation of the media which always neglected the WPRs and highlighted the POJK calling them as refugees within state who were denied all constitutional right including voting right.
(Sub Maj (Retd) Madan Lal Dubgotra
Chairman West Pakistani Hindu Refugee Front, J&K
Misinformation about WPRs