By Samaan Lateef
At least 25 Muslim families have registered as migrants in past few weeks following “militant threats” in Kashmir, which is witnessing a spurt in violence since the killing of Burhan Wani on July 7, 2016.
The government has re-opened the registration of migrants even after the Legislature in its recent Budget session unanimously passed a resolution for honourable and dignified return of migrants to Kashmir.
“Nearly 25 families facing militant threats have registered as migrants this year after a proper verification by the screening committee,” Relief Commissioner for Migrants YP Suman told The Tribune.
The decision of re-opening of migrant registration has come at a time when both Centre and state government have announced several rehabilitation packages for the displaced Pandit migrants to encourage their return to the Valley.
Officials said the re-opening of registration of migrants, which was closed in 2008, contradicts the government’s claims that situation in Kashmir is conducive for the return of Pandits.
As a large number of people joined the BJP in the past two years from different parts of the Valley, some of them look towards availing the benefits as enjoyed by the migrant Pandits given the security scenario in the Valley. With the police predicting another hot summer and mass protests, BJP workers are feeling insecure in their villages and migrating towards Srinagar and Jammu. The workers say the government shouldn’t be insensitive towards them and should equate them with the Kashmiri Pandits so that they can carry forward the party’s work without any hindrance. According to the sources, the government was sympathetic towards their demands as the ruling BJP was keen to consolidate its vote bank in the Valley. In the Assembly elections, most of the Kashmiri Pandits either didn’t vote or voted for the PDP.
However, the decision has drawn flak from the migrant Pandit organisations, which accuse the government of prompting the 3,000 Pandits living in the Valley to migrate.
The Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the state government earlier this year constituted a five-member committee for the screening of the applications for the registration of bonafide Kashmiri migrants.
The committee will recommend the registration of bonafide migrants who have migrated or may migrate due to the militant threat after fulfillment of all necessary formalities laid down by the government.
The committee has been asked to dispose of the applications for registration on the consideration of the threat perception and verification report by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and by the District Magistrate of the district concerned.
The screening committee, which would meet twice in a month, is headed by Administrative Secretary Relief and Rehabilitation Department as its Chairman, while Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) is its Member-Secretary. The Inspector General of Police (CID), Additional Commissioner, Jammu and Additional Commissioner, Kashmir are its members.
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