Wg Cdr Mahesh Chander (Retd)
We, the people of JKUT, have witnessed an outreach program held on 06 Mar 2023 conducted for Displaced Persons from POJK by LG and his team of government officials tasked especially to dispense on spot governance to help these marginalized citizens who suffered unique political victimization on formation of India. These aboriginals of then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir have escaped the ugliest tragedy of the century that compelled them to leave their homes for safety. Majority of these groups faced brutality of its own kind that did not spare even newly born children who were perforce thrown in rivers or killed by their own parents to avoid unbearable scenes of children starving out of hunger, being killed mercilessly by the intruders, women being raped in public and kidnapped selectively to take them along by these merciless killers. Survivals of this ugliest tragedy were initially accommodated at tented accommodation at various locations like Bhor Camp and Nagrota closer to the Jammu City. These hapless citizens were thereafter left at the mercy of Almighty except for casual political photo events staged to extract mandate by political outfits. However, the passage of time and constant efforts of these displaced families enabled them to adjust themselves in changed environment of these migrant camps.
The Special Governance Program as announced and managed by various departments of JKUT government for displaced persons at Bhor Camp conveyed healthy intention of the Government headed by the honorable LG and his advisor on expected lines, however implementation on ground differed from the reality. It is noted with concern that the event could not attract large attendance of the affected displaced persons partially owing to lack of advertisement and the political involvement of ruling party political workers who converted the event into a politically motivated one restricting it to the political affiliation of the displaced persons. As a result the strength of government officials and the affected displaced persons could match each other that possibly defeated the intended purpose of the event. Another notable feature of the event is that it was non interactive based on one way deliberation by the honorable LG like an ordinary political event. It therefore lost its sheen of being an interactive outreach programme primarily extended to resolve concerns of these displaced persons on site not only to provide purposeful audience but to dispense justice towards long outstanding concerns of these DPs from POJK. It apparently remained a bureaucratic exercise than becoming a useful outreach alternate to achieve intended status of Government at your doorstep.
However, the announcement regarding registration of land on the name of Displaced Persons made by LG during his speech earned some appreciation hesitantly as it is learnt that same statement was made by the Home Minister during his interaction with DPs sometimes ago. The ground reality however conveys that no paper work to the effect has started yet. The presence of LG, administrator of the JKUT, at this event raised the expectations of the displaced persons especially residents of the Bhour Camp who have been promised time and again by various political leaders for allotment of proper plots in other colonies to decongest their present living condition.
They expected some announcement regarding balance amount of one time settlement grant of 25 Lakhs recommended by the Government of JK to Central Government in the year 2014 as only 5.5 Lakhs per family to a total of 36,384 registered displaced families of POJK and Chhamb sector. The number of these displaced families has risen to almost 1.4 million spread over ten districts of the Jammu Province and they have achieved prominent positions both professionally and socially. However, large number of these displaced families is still residing in refugee camps like Bhour Camp, Simbal Camp and other such places adjoining international border.
As the youths of JKUT have been suffering highest unemployment for last couple of years for various reasons like inability of deficit government dispensed through alternate arrangement of governance under LG and his team that resulted in large number of vacant posts in government departments, lack of industrialization either by government or through corporate participation partially owing to unconducive security environment and utter failure of government machinery to attract private investment in the industrial sector. Unemployed youths of POJK DP families expectedly awaited some announcement for employment either in government or private sector. However, mass cancellation of recruitment tests in the recent times discouraged eligible unemployed youths across the social spectrum as there are unusual and unprecedented involvement of corrupt officials who helped in leakage of questions papers through black listed companies hired to conduct such tests.
Another specific area where displaced persons of POJK are finding hard to succeed is political empowerment. To secure their due share in governance of public resources, they expected reservation of few legislative assembly seats and demand for the same has constantly been raised at various forums including recently concluded delimitation commission. This marginalized aboriginal population suffered political victimization not only once at the time of partition of India and Pakistan but continue to bear it even today. An empathetic consideration without extracting any political mileage in favor of any specific political ideology would enhance their participation in such future endeavors and ultimately minimize the requirement of any such Special Governance Camps.
It may be pertinent to mention that members of these displaced families have gone through unprecedented historical tragedy of the century, withstood all hard realities of life, raised their future generations as disciplined and dedicated citizens of India, and contributed towards nation building like other contemporary citizens with no qualm of regret and repentance but the society at large owes them their due share in governance of public resources, especially in a democratic set up, for the sake of social equity and justice. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.
Special Governance camp for POJK displaced persons
Wg Cdr Mahesh Chander (Retd)