Omar's Rehabilitation Policy for PoK-returnees a Failure
The much-hyped rehabilitation package announced by the Omar Abdullah Government with the Centre’s backing for the Kashmiri youth, who had returned home after illegally crossing over into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK), has turned out to be damp squib, it has emerged.
And the harrowing experience encountered by local folks like Dawood Ahmad, who heeded the government call and returned home along with his kin from PoK in April 2010 to avail the benefits under the rehabilitation policy, stand testament to the authorities’ failure to deliver on their promises. “I am cursing why I returned to J&K from PoK two years back. My son’s career is at stake as he is not being provided admission in school here and neither are any documents and passports issued to us,” he says.
According to Ahmad, even though they tried to return via Uri, Salamabad or Chakan-da-Bagh routes under the policy, they were refused travel papers. “However, we were not provided documents for travelling on the said routes and we returned via Nepal border in 2012,” he said and added that they were initially detained by the intelligence agencies and questioned on various matters.
Rather ironically, the authorities had listed Wagah, Attari, Uri, Salamabad and Chakan-da-Bagh crossing on the Line of Control( LoC) and the IGI Airport in New Delhi as legal routes for the return of the Kashmiri youth.
Terming the rehabilitation policy a complete failure, Ahmad said his family had not been given any documents, including passport and ration cards. “My son was studying in 10th grade in POK when we returned. Since then he is not being provided admission in any school despite me running from pillar to post,” he said.
Echoing similar views Mohammad Ashraf, who returned from PoK via the Nepal border in 2012, said they are leading a miserable life here. “We don’t have any identity here. We don’t have any documents. Neither us nor our relatives are being issued passports,” he said.
Further, he said his sister-in-law in PoK was ill but “my wife can’t visit her in this hour of need. She (my wife) is very depressed and doctors have prescribed anti-depressants”.