Row over Valley migrants’ registration is fast turning into a major controversy in the state -
Row over Valley migrants’ registration is fast turning into a major controversy in the state
Posted 03 Mar 2017 11:30 AM


The process to start registration of fresh migrants from the Kashmir valley is fast turning into a major controversy in the state which could land the PDP-BJP coalition government into fresh trouble.
Surprisingly, there was no formal approval of the Cabinet to the order, but it was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) setting in process stopped by the state government order in 2008 to stop migration of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from the Valley as had happened in 1989-90 when lakhs of people had to take refuge in Jammu.

The order to constitute screening committee was issued on October 5, 2016, and it included Administrative Secretary of the Relief and Rehabilitation Department as chairman, Inspector General of Police (CID), Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants), Additional Commissioner, Jammu, and Additional Commissioner, Kashmir, as members.

“On January 4, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had chaired a high-level meeting where the issue of 4,000 pending relief cards belonging to displaced Kashmiri Pandits was discussed. However after the meeting, we were surprised to find that re-registration of mainly Muslim migrants from the Valley was started and the committee was empowered to recommend the cases on a fast-track basis,” said a senior official of the Relief and Rehabilitation Department.

Sources said former Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Bashrat Bukhari had pushed for this order before he was shifted to the Horticulture Ministry during the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

“The government is encouraging migration of Muslims from Kashmir to Jammu for changing its demography and creating a Valley-like situation. It is a well planned move to stoke fires of separatism and create communal polarisation,” said Prof Hari Om, historian and former ideologue of the BJP.

However, Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Abdul Rehman Veeri denied any large scale registration process being started. “There will be no change in the earlier policy and the people facing threat from militants have been registered for years. The issue should not be politicised,” Veeri said.

Meanwhile, Bashrat Bukhari was not available to solicit his view on the controversy.

The BJP has remained silent on the issue, but resentment is growing in Jammu against the move claiming it
as a ‘conspiracy’ to settle people from the Valley in the city. Even displaced Pandits are opposed to the move as they allege that the government wants to register thousands of political workers as migrants to avail the benefits of relief, leaving genuine militancy victims in the lurch.

BJP leaders are now seeking intervention of the Union Home Ministry to stall the process which has been vehemently opposed by displaced Kashmiri Hindus and people in Jammu, who see the move as ‘conspiracy’ to settle down a majority of the community members in the city, which is facing demographic change.

“Thousands of files are already pending in the Relief Office, but the government has time to initiate fresh registration. There are cases when ration cards of Pandit migrants of 1990 having been cancelled arbitrarily while Muslims are being registered, who claim to have migrated due to the current unrest,” said King Bharti, activist, All Party Migrant Coordination Committee.

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