On Monday, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, announced that his administration would take steps to provide land ownership rights to refugees from West Pakistan residing in the Union Territory. Sinha stated that the political rights and privileges of these refugees were affected by Article 370 and 35A and that their progress was hindered as a result. He emphasized that his administration would work towards rectifying this issue.
“Land ownership rights will be ensured to the West Pakistani refugees by the Central Region Administration on the direction of the Centre,” he said.
“The government is determined to realize the dreams of the community,” he said after inaugurating a special camp for West Pakistani refugees at Chakrabori in RS Pura here.
The process of land titling has been initiated, and official records indicate that approximately 5,400 families migrated to the border areas of Jammu from Pakistan after 1947. Majority of these families were Hindus and Sikhs, and they settled in districts such as Kathua, Samba, and Jammu.
In 1954, these families were allocated 46,666 kanals (5,833 acres) of land in Jammu, Samba, and Kathua. However, even after 68 years, they have not been granted ownership rights to the land, and they were not even recognized as citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. These refugees were not entitled to buy land or secure government jobs in the region. However, after the revocation of Article 370, the government recognized them as residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, the government has provided Rs. 5.5 lakhs per family to the refugees as financial assistance.