JAMMU: As the Government of India issues notification for Domicile of Jammu and Kashmir to protect the rights of locals, tens of thousands of Displaced Persons from Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK), settled in other parts of the country, have been stripped of their birth right for being Domicile of J&K.

Despite being recognized by the Government of India as original inhabitants of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State, these PoK Displaced Persons from 5, 300 families don’t qualify the criteria fixed for their eligibility as Domicile of J&K Union Territory.

Unlike other Displaced Persons from PoK, who are settled in Jammu and Kashmir, these 5,300 families are neither residing here nor they have Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) as they never felt need of the same despite having valid proof of their being original resident of J&K and officially recognized by the Government of India for the same.

As per the official figures of Government of India, about 32 thousand families had migrated from Pak occupied area of Jammu Kashmir to this part of the country following Pakistani aggression in 1947. Among these displaced people, 22,700 families were settled on agricultural land in Jammu region and 3,600 families were settled in urban areas of J&K, mostly in Jammu, Udhampur and Nowshera.

However, 5,300 such families settled in other parts of the country and have been residing there since decades. Even as members of these families were eligible for the Permanent State Subject (PRC) for being original inhabitants of J&K, they never applied for the same as no such requirement was ever felt by them.

However, following abrogation of special status of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir State and now by introducing the new provision of Domicile of J&K, the Union Home Ministry has provided an opportunity to people from any part of the country to become `Domicile of J&K’ after staying here for 15 years or fulfilling the other eligibility criteria, whereas on the other hand, tens of thousands of PoK Displaced Person have been stripped of their birth right for being legal Domicile of J&K because of the conditions in said order.

Because of the prescribed condition of either having a PRC or residing here for a period of 15 years , these 53,00 PoJK Displaces families, settled in various parts of India other than Jammu and Kashmir, have suddenly become outsiders.

These families, mostly Hindus and Sikhs, are neither residing here since decades nor they have State Subject documents as they never felt need of the same and hence under the new Act, they are not eligible for the Domicile certificate despite being original inhabitants of J&K.

Even as these families are also registered with Provincial Rehabilitation Officer (PRO) in the Custodian Department of J&K and have been recently extended the Central Government’s relief of Rs 5 lakhs for each family of PoK Displaced Persons, still they are not eligible for being considered as Domicile of J&K .

As per the Gazette notification, 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 thus extending the benefit to those Kashmiri migrants, who have not been staying here for the last more than 15 years.

However, the same does not apply on PoK Displaced Persons as they are not registered with Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner but the Provincial Rehabilitation officer, Custodian Department.

According to Rajiv Chuni, Chairman of SOS International-an organization of PoK refugees, the number of PoK Displaced families settled outside J&K was around 15 thousands in 1960 and only 5300 of them were registered because of some technical issues and communication gap. After 60 years since 1960, this number is likely to have reached around 50 thousand families with more than two lakh members, he added and informed that his organization was going to seek the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for justice to such families of PoK Displaced Persons , who have suffered for more than 70 years since their exodus from their homes and hearths in occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir.