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In this picture taken in 1992 in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Kashmiri fighters on 15 aug pakistan day.-archive photo

MASRAT RASOOL/NADIA HASSAN SRINAGAR, Feb 3: Over 250 persons, who returned home from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) via Nepal since 2010 in response to the rehabilitation policy announced by the state government, are facing serious problems here.

They alleged that they were not being covered under the rehabilitation policy and not getting the benefits, which they have been promised. They threatened to take to streets if the state government did not announce by March 1 to consider their demand for providing them the benefits under rehabilitation policy. “The authorities refuse to cover us under the rehabilitation policy, saying we crossed back through Nepal and not via the entry points on Line of Control (LoC) identified by the government for the return,” said Abdul Majeed Bhat of Kupwara. Majeed is general secretary of a group of such persons formed by them for getting their demands met. Majeed said 250 persons had crossed over to PAK at different times in early 1990s. “We crossed over the way Pandits moved to Jammu or other places. Surely, we had the freedom sentiment but did not indulge in militancy. In PAK we started doing different jobs and married local girls. We have kids. We returned along with our wives and kids via Nepal and are back with our families,” he said. The Kupwara resident was a 10th class student when he reached Muzaffarabad.

There he did masters in Arabic and. started doing job in education department. Majeed married to a local girl in PAK in 2000 and has four kids. “In PAK we came to know about the rehabilitation policy for us on this side of border. Despite living a comfortable life there, we were eager to return since we were missing our home badly. We got in touch with our families and decided to return via Nepal,” Majeed said. According to him, after reaching here they had not imagined such problems. “I came back in 2010 and I am jobless since then. No financial assistance was provided to us.

It is difficult for us to feed our families,” he said. These persons also want travel documents for their wives. “Our wives have their parents and relatives in PAK. They want to visit them also. In absence of travel documents, they will be unable to do so,” Majeed said. The children of these persons are unable to continue their studies for higher classes. “The children, who have passed their 10th class and above in PAK are facing the difficulty. Board of school education (BoSE) and Kashmir University refuse to entertain the certificates issued in PAK. That way the education of such students is getting marred.

The authorities must do something about it,” he said. They revealed that they discussed these issues during a meeting here today. “We decided to take to streets if the government did not come forward with an assurance by March 1. We will protest along with our families,” they said.

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