West Pakistan refugees demand right to vote in J&K

New Delhi, Sep 23: A delegation of West Pakistani refugees on Friday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here and demanded full citizenship rights in Jammu and Kashmir, including the right to vote, an official release said.

The delegation, led by Labha Ram Gandhi, submitted a charter of demands demanding special package for rehabilitation, right to vote and contest in Jammu and Kashmir state assembly/municipal bodies elections, and allotment of land, among other things.

New Delhi

The delegation also asked for the appointment of a Relief Commissioner to look into and redress the grievances of West Pakistani refugees.

"While appreciating the sentiments of the members of delegation, Rajnath Singh assured the delegation that he will look into the matter and take necessary action. He said that the MHA has appointed a Nodal Officer to exclusively coordinate with the refugee community for redressal of their day to day issues," the release said.

The West Pakistani refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir are citizens of India and have the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

However, they are not permanent residents of the state as per Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and thus cannot vote/contest state assembly and local bodies elections.

In the wake of Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, about 5,764 families who migrated from the then West Pakistan are residing mainly in Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu division.

IANS

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