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RS Pura: More than six decades have passed since the line dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Indian side and PoK was drawn, forcing thousands to take shelter on this side of the border, many of whom complained they are living in pitiable conditions because of government apathy.

"We are the people who are the victim of fate, we were divided by fate and borders," said Tarlochan Singh, a resident of bordering village of RS Pura, who still carries the tag of "PoK Refugee".

Singh was 18 at the time when all of a sudden his family was forced to leave their house in Muzaffarabad, now the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"It was a fateful night in October 1947 when the raiders invaded our village and started indiscriminately killing people of a particular community, the people who had promised to provide us shelter and save us turned their back on us," Singh recalls.

He said the family had no other option but to leave their house and other belongings and migrate to Indian side in the dead of the night.

Krishan Lal, another migrant from PoK, who along with his family has been living in R S Pura still gets chill down his spine when he remembers the fateful night when his house was attacked and set on fire.

"I was a kid, my father along with my other siblings had to hide us behind a bush. We silently watched the raiders set our house on fire as they killed whosoever came in front of them. It was a mayhem," said an emotional Krishan Lal while trying to hold back his tears.

"You can well imagine the pain and agony we had to go through, when I saw my family members being mercilessly killed in front of my eyes," he said.

The migrants from PoK who came to the Indian side rue that successive state and central governments have turned a blind eye to their miseries.

More than 31,619 families were forced to leave their belonging and migrate to the Indian side after the erstwhile ruler of the state signed the instrument of accession, merging the state with the union of India.

"Nobody cared about our miseries, the leaders just played politics with our pain, they made several promises before elections but after they came to power they did nothing for us," said Rajiv Chuni, president of SOS International, an organisation working for the displaced members from PoK.

The Union government in its cabinet order passed in 1954 provided temporary rehabilitation for the displaced PoK migrants, but since then no step has been taken for their permanent rehabilitation.

"We were uprooted in 1947 and the Union government promised that it would take our property and land back from Pakistan, but when nothing was done for seven years they provided us temporary rehabilitation in 1955 with the promise of permanently rehabilitate... But since then nothing has been done," Chuni said.

He said all political parties have "misused" them for vote bank politics. "There are more than 9.5 lakh registered voters from PoK who have the voting rights here, but we are being used for vote bank politics, no party has ever shown seriousness in resolving our issues," Chuni said.

Just before the ongoing Assembly elections schedule was announced, the Jammu and Kashmir government sent a proposal of Rs 9,000 crore to the central government for one-time settlement of the PoK refugees.

From Zee News

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