Thanks to scrapping of Article 370, WPRs, Valmikis set to vote for the first time
Srinagar, Nov 16: For the first time ever after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, West Pakistan refugees and the Valmiki community will vote in the district development council elections.
WPRs comprise members of the Sikh and Hindu community. They had migrated from the erstwhile West Punjab (now Pakistan) in 1947 after partition. They had settled in the border areas of Jammu.
While they had taken part in the parliamentary elections, they had never voted in any elections in the former state as they were not considered to be subjects. 5,764 families knowns as the WPRs had settled down in various part of Jammu in 1947. Currently there are four lakh WPRs.
The Valmikis on the other hand were brought to Jammu and Kashmir in 1975 from Punjab and were given permanent resident certificates. However they had to abide the condition that their future generations could stay in J&K if they continued to be scavengers and safai karmacharis.
Following the abrogation of Article 370, both WPRs and Valmikis can now purchase land, apply for jobs and also contest elections in J&K. They can also change their occupation now. Currently there are 10,000 Valmikis residing in J&K.