The government on Friday defended its move to grant domicile/nativity certficates to refugees from erstwhile West Pakistan. Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh told news agency ANI that the decision was taken to enable refugees to apply for jobs.
He said those refugees settled in other parts of the country have ascended to highest positions in the government. He further lashed out at the separatists and said the issue has got nothing to do with religion.
These refugees who have settled down in Jammu deserve dignified means of livelihood, Singh told ANI.
The opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir have raised a strong objection to government's decision to issue domicile / nativity certificates to refugees from erstwhile West Pakistan, said reports. The National Conference said that the move was violation of article 370 and will hamper the social fabric of the region.
The issue is likely to snowball into a major controversy as the separatists have called for a protest on Friday. The NC, separatists and few other like-minded parties are united over the issue.
As per latest reports, separatist leader Yasin Malik has been arrested during the protest over the issue.
According to reports, the separatists have alleged that the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state was implementing an RSS agenda.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Pawan Kotwal, on Thursday told media persons that the certificates would be issued on directions from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The issue pertains to 1,50,000 refugees, who had settled down in Jammu region after the partition in 1947.
Reports also claim that some BJP leaders in Jammu came out in support of the move, saying that it would help the West Pakistan Refugees (WPR) to seek employment in government sector.