J&K border residents forced to flee their homes under Pak-shelling, Govt stands helpless

Hundreds of residents residing along the International Border and LoC in the Districts of Samba, Kathua, Jammu and Rajouri-Poonch are fleeing their homes because of undeclared and heavy shelling from across the border by Pakistan. The Panthers Party team headed by its Samba MLA, Shri Yashpaul Kundal, General Secretary-JKNPP visited several villages in the border area in Hiranagar, Samba, Bishnah and R.S. Pura Tehsils to find out the situation the local people are confronted with. The team informed Prof. Bhim Singh, Chief Patron of JKNPP that several villages in Hiranagar and Samba including Sudoh, Suchetgarh Kulian, Kargal, Gallar, Bain, Cheleria, Chakawal and Gagwal, Urnia etc. in R.S. Pura Sector have been forced to leave their homes. They have no destination to reach because the State administration has not responded to their needs provide shelter for their families.

Prof. Bhim Singh has conveyed to Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Union Home Minister about the situation the people have been facing along the International Border and Line of Control in Rajouri and Poonch Districts. For several days Pakistan has been shelling from across the IB and LoC the residential areas of the State whereas the governments State and Central both stand helpless. Mr. Kundal has informed that the State administration has not been provided any help to the people struggling to survive without food and shelter.

Prof. Bhim Singh accused both the Central and State governments for betraying the Common Minimum Programme which had agreed in a Joint Memoranda signed in November 2002 among the coalition partners which included Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Prof. Bhim Singh and others. He said that the CMP signed by the parties had included para 12 & 13 in the CMP regarding the problems of the people living in the border areas. The memorandum stated;

i).      “Persons living close to the line of control and the international border face special difficulties due to recurrent tension and cross border violence. Permanent shelter will be constructed in all vulnerable areas to prevent loss of life. The Govt. will also devise a scheme to provide, wherever feasible, alternative land to such families in safe zones. (para 12 of the CMP).

ii).     The Government shall pursue the matter of due compensation to those people from the border areas of J&K who have suffered loss of crop and cattle due to security operations near LoC and the International Border (para 13 of the CMP).”

Prof. Bhim Singh accused the Kashmiri leadership and the Congress for having betrayed the commitment made by the leaders of all parties in the presence of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh. He said that this situation had arisen when Pakistan started indiscriminate shelling during the Kargil War in 1999-2000.

Prof. Bhim Singh reminded the leadership in Delhi that the Panthers Party had filed a writ petition no.498/2001 seeking intervention of the Supreme Court for appropriate relief and protection to the border migrants. The Supreme Court issued direction to the Govt. of India on the writ petition on 04.02.2002, ordering,

“………..the Central Govt. should depute a Team of responsible officials to personally visit the migrants’ camps as well as the districts, if possible, and gives a report with regard to the relief measures which have been taken by the Government and whether the package referred to in paragraph 5 of the counter affidavit of Mrs. Mallika Arya, Deputy Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, is being implemented.” It was because of the writ petition of the Panthers Party that the border migrants were provided food and shelter and other amenities by the Govt. of India and State Govt.

Prof. Bhim Singh said that the Panthers Party shall be knocking the doors of the Apex Court once again to seek honourable survival of the Indian citizens who have been forced to migrate from their homes because of the indiscriminate shelling and threat to the lives of the families.