Asking the people from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to not consider themselves as refugees, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday said his administration will take steps to regularise their colonies as it is “our responsibility” to secure their rights.
He also asserted that PoK is an integral part of India and that the dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’ (undivided India) would come true in the coming times.
Addressing a function after inaugurating a special camp for the displaced persons of PoK in Bhour, on the outskirts of Jammu, he said, “You are citizens of this country and sons of the soil. You are proud citizens of Akhand Bharat and you should come forward to play your role in the development of Jammu and Kashmir and the country.” Amid chants in support of reclaiming PoK, Mr Sinha said, “PoK is an integral part of India and will remain so. No power on earth can separate it from us and I have no doubt one day the dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’ conceived by our elders will be a reality.” He said the development of a “new J&K” is incomplete without the integration of the displaced persons into the mainstream. “We are committed to ensuring the welfare and well-being of all so they can realise their true potential and contribute to nation-building,” he said.
“Steps will be taken to regularise the colonies of displaced families. It is our responsibility to secure their rights and build an enabling environment to fulfil the aspirations of youth,” Mr Sinha said.
After the historic development of August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was revoked, he said the lives of displaced people, Valmiki Samaj and the Gorkha Samaj changed. “They faced discrimination and were also deprived of their legitimate basic rights for a long time. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured their rights including citizenship of J&K,” he said.
The lt governor said the special camp was part of a drive to take the welfare schemes to every house to ensure coverage of all beneficiaries under government schemes. He said a similar camp will be held in Udhampur, Rajouri, Jammu, Poonch and Kathua districts as well.
“We had started outreach programmes in 2021 for families living outside Union Territory so that no one is left behind in any welfare scheme and focusing on skilling, self-employment, social assistance, financial inclusion to aid economic development and financial stability,” he said.
He said 33,600 families of PoK and Chamb were provided one-time central assistance of over ₹ 1,552 crore, announced in November 2015.
“The Prime minister is well aware of the pain faced by the community and every step will be taken for their welfare,” he said.
Paying tributes to those who lost their lives during their migration from PoK in 1947, he said his administration would construct ‘Smriti Bhawan’ in their memory, while the administration has also identified land to set up PoK Bhawan to ensure that their culture is safeguarded.