Pak refugee kin in Kashmir compensated for partition displacement

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Jammu, Jan 22 (ANI): Relatives of people displaced from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir during the 1947 partition have received compensation from the state government.

The State Gvernment recently handed out cheques amounting to 125,000 rupees to over 100 families in Poonch district.

Hundreds and thousands of people had been forced to flee Pakistan during the Partition, leaving behind their possessions and acres of land, which is why the amount of compensation was based on the rising price of land.

"This is not the first phase. In 2003, people received 25,000 rupees, which was equal to five kanals of land. The people who received those cheques will now get an additional 125,000 rupees from the government because at that time, the rate for one kanal was 5000 rupees. But now the central government has increased the rate of one kanal to 30,000 rupees, so they will get the remainder - 125,000 rupees," explained Ram Lal, president of the Refugee Action Committee Poonch.

Many, however, say the amount is not enough.

"This package we are getting is very little. For a person who has ten mouths to feed at home, who has ten brothers, ten sisters, 150,000 rupees is not enough. The refugees should get a minimum of one and a half to two million rupees," said Gurdev Singh, relative of a refugee.

The move comes in the wake of a series of feuds between the central government and the refugees, who have long been demanding citizenship rights in the state.

Under the state legislation, they cannot be granted citizenship, which bars non-permanent residents to vote in state elections, seek jobs and even to purchase property.

Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised the community that the government would look into future employment opportunities, admission to professional institutions, and bank loans without the provision of a land mortgage. (ANI)

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