BJP demands govt nominated PoK people, Pandits to J&K Assembly



New Delhi: BJP on Saturday demanded that the government nominate representatives of Kashmiri Pandits, who had to leave the state due to terror threats, and the people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

"There are 111 seats in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly out of which elections are held only on 87 seats as 24 seats lie in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir that remain vacant.

"We think that the provisions should be made to fill these 24 seats by nominations from the people displaced from PoK," BJP President Rajnath Singh said.

He was delivering the president's address at the BJP National Council Meet here. Singh also said Kashmiri Pandits, who had to leave the Valley when terrorism was at its peak, should also be nominated to the Assembly.

The party also expressed concern over the recent killings of sarpanches in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists.

"We condemn the manner in which democracy is being suppressed by terrorist outfits at the Panchayat level.

"The government of Jammu and Kashmir is not only dilly-dallying in giving financial help to the Panchayats but has even failed in ensuing the safety of the sarpanches," Singh said.

He charged that terrorists have killed sarpanches and publicly warned them to resign from their position.

"Due to fear of terrorists, hundreds of sarpanches have collectively tendered their resignation. Sarpanches are demanding security...," he said.

Singh claimed that though he has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue, the UPA government has been silent on the matter.

The main opposition also suggested that government should make a clear distinction between the Hindu refugees fleeing from Pakistan and the illegal migrants crossing the border from Bangladesh.

The party demanded that the Hindu refugees be given citizenship as they had fled persecution.

"In India, families belonging to minorities living in Pakistan have taken refuge. Due to lack of any well thought out refugee relief and rehabilitation policy, the refugees coming to India have to live in an atmosphere of uncertainty," the BJP chief said.

He demanded that government form a proper refugee policy keeping in mind the distinction between an infiltrator and a refugee.

India has always given refuge to victim groups, he said. "A clear and special refugee rehabilitation policy should be made in the context of those who are justifiably refugees and those who are coming as victims.

"If we get an opportunity to form the government, we will make a rational refugee policy," Singh said.

He also emphasised on the need for checking illegal immigration from Bangladesh which he alleged was changing the demographic profile of the country, especially in the bordering states like Assam and West Bengal.

PTI