Border residents abandoned by JK government: Mehbooba


Srinagar, October 20 (Scoop News) -    Expressing deep concern at the plight of people living along the LOC PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has said it seems these people have been abandoned by the civilian administration. Interacting with the large number of people who gathered at Charunda village on Friday where she visited the families of the three victims who lost their lives in border shelling, she said the people living in these areas have been left to fend for them selves in highly inhospitable conditions.

Mehbooba visited the homes of Mohd Shafi Khatana, Liyaqat Ali and Shamima who lost their lives earlier this week in one of the worst violations of the decade long cease fire between Indian and Pakistani forces along LOC. She expressed her deep condolences and conveyed her sympathies to their families. She urged the govt to provide adequate compensation to the families and take measures for their complete rehabilitation.

Mehbooba told the gathering that she had urged the PM Dr Manmohan singh to intervene in the deteriorating condition along the LOC and the international border in J&K. She said the population in these areas was panic stricken and for the first time after many year’s peace there was an environment of complete insecurity in these areas. “It is unfortunate and upsetting that the priorities in these areas have again shifted from peaceful existence to the demands for safe houses, bunkers and bomb shelters”, she said.

Refering to the total withdrawal of civilian administration from border areas Mehbooba said the population there faced immense problems in absence of proper health care, education and civil supplies. She said the people in these areas were completetly dependant on good will of army for facilities of Ambulance and fuel. The male and female population was required to prove their identity at every point which compromised their privacy, especially the women folk.

Mehbooba said villages like Charunda which fell beyond the border fencing faced more acute problems of day to day life. She said failure of the govt in upgrading the middle school in the village meant that the children had to travel miles to go to a high school through hilly tracks. Since forests were out of bounds for collection of fire wood the only source of fuel was Kereosene supplied by the army as there was no trace of the public distribution system in these areas.

Mehbooba said the issues relating to the residents of border areas needed a special focus by the state and central govts and she would urge the PM to make the border area development programme more purposeful in meeting the challeges of daily lives of the people. She said there is a large population of disabled persons in these areas and BADP should specially focus on this humanitarian isse. She said the problem of land mines in areas where civilians go for work too needed to be reviewed and the right balance struck between security requirements and civilian intrests. She said many villagers had complained to her about the non payment of rent by defense forces for the lands under their use and urged the union govt to have these cases speeded up.

In her discussions with the Amnesty International team which called on her at her residence today Mehbooba urged the human rights body to focus on the humanitarian problems facing the people residing in border areas. She said these problems need to be focused as it seems that the rights of these people are nobody’s concern.