Jammu:- Addressing core constituencies of the BJP in less than a year ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today announced Rs 5.5 lakh compensation per family for West Pakistani refugees, increased relief of Kashmiri Pandit and some Jammu migrants by 30 per cent and announced establishment of nine police battalions including two exclusively for border youth and 60 per cent reservation for the border dwellers in five IRP battalions.
Rajnath, who toured the International Border areas of RS Pura and Chakroi in Jammu district this afternoon, also announced bullet-proof ambulances and increase in compensation for death of civilians and livestock of the border dwellers in Pakistan shelling and firing.
Addressing a press conference here before winding up his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath announced 30 per cent increase in monthly relief of 22,000 Kashmiri migrant and 1054 Jammu migrant families, which will take their relief amount from Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000 per month.
The last increase in Kashmiri migrants’ monthly relief was also effected by Narendra Modi-led NDA Government in 2015. The relief was then raised from Rs 7500 to Rs 10,000 per month.
Flanked by Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Rajnath announced Rs 5.5 lakh worth relief for 5764 West Pakistan refugee families but remained non-committal on the demand for granting State citizenship rights to them.
“On my return to New Delhi both the orders—increase in Kashmiri migrants’ relief and Rs 5.5 lakh compensation for West Pakistani refugees at par with Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) and Chhamb migrants—will be issued,’’ Rajnath said.
Asked whether the Government will concede the demand for extending State citizenship rights to West Pakistani refugees, Rajnath said they are the Indian citizens.
During past 70 years since West Pakistani refugees settled here, they were denied citizenship rights as well as any kind of relief. This is for the first time that any Centre Government has announced compensation for West Pakistani refugees. The PDP and National Conference were opposed to granting State citizenship rights to West Pakistani refugees on the ground that they were not the state subjects.
Rajnath announced setting up of nine police battalions including two exclusively reserved for border youths. In five battalions of Indian Reserve Police (IRP), there will be 60 per cent reservation for the border youth. Of two women battalions, one each will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir divisions and they too will have 60 per cent reservation from borders. A total of nine battalions will be raised in J&K.
Describing the border dwellers as “strategic assets’’, Rajnath said the relief for death of any border dweller in Pakistan shelling and firing has been raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and the bar of Fixed Deposit has been removed as the amount will directly go into the account of next of kin. Similarly, the compensation for death of cattle has been raised from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 and the ceiling of relief for three dead cattle only has also been lifted.
He announced five bullet-proof ambulances for the border people, which will be used to evacuate them in the event of injuries in Pakistan shelling and firing. This demand was raised by the border dwellers during their inter-action with Rajnath on the border today.
The demands of border dwellers, West Pakistani refugees and Kashmiri Pandits were being taken up with Rajnath Singh by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and other senior BJP leaders from time to time.
Describing morale of the border people as “very high’’ on the borders, the Union Home Minister said he has already ordered construction of 14,460 bunkers including 1421 community and 13029 individual for the border people at the cost of Rs 415 crore. The individual bunkers will accommodate 8-10 people while community bunkers will have capacity for lodging 40-50 people, he added.
Responding to a question on extension of conditional ceasefire announced by the Centre for the holy month of Ramzan, Rajnath said Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had announced suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir for the month of Ramzan so that the people don’t face any obstacle during the festival season.
“On return to New Delhi, we will review security situation in Kashmir and an appropriate decision will be taken,’’ he added.
On Kashmir situation, Rajnath referred to normal hustle-bustle on the roads yesterday and presence of large number of sportspersons and youth at the Stadium saying this was the difference he witnessed yesterday on Kashmir roads as compared to his previous visits.
“There was normal movement on Kashmir roads yesterday. Number of people responded when I waved to them. Then 5000 to 6000 sportspersons and youths were present at the Stadium and the entire programme was peaceful. This is the difference in Kashmir situation than my previous visits,’’ he said.
“Be confident. I have spoken to Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti),” Rajnath responded to a question on whether the FIR registered against security personnel will be withdrawn.
Rajnath said India isn’t a weak but a very strong nation now.
“Don’t believe in the numbers given by Pakistan,’’ the Union Home Minister advised a reporter, who stated that India was suffering more casualties and damage in Pakistan shelling and firing than the neighbouring country. He asserted that all steps have been taken to minimize the casualties on the borders.
In reply to another question, Rajnath said: “Pakistan is our neighbour and India wants good relations with all its neighbours’’. However, he added that Pakistan should stop encouraging terrorism from its soil.
On talks, he reiterated yesterday’s statement that it was not necessary to be “like-minded’’ for holding of talks but “right-minded’’.
Rajnath said the identification of Rohingyas was on in the country and very soon the Government would take a decision on them with Myanmar (Burma) Government.
During his inter-action with the border dwellers at RS Pura and Chakroi, the people submitted a memorandum to Rajnath Singh demanding permanent rehabilitation at safer places, one job for every border household, assured income for every family, enhancement of compensation, ambulances, relief for land affected due to fencing, age relaxation in Government jobs for border youth and reservation in jobs.
At the border, Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh suggested that burning of crops due to Pakistan shelling and firing should also be covered under Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana. He said the rules can be amended as only burning of crops due to fire was covered under the Yojana but the burning due to shelling was not covered. Rajnath directed Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to immediately take up the issue with the Union Agriculture Secretary and work it out.
Dr Jitendra Singh also suggested that radius of 0-10 kilometers kept for benefits to the people of International Border should be reduced to five kilometers. Rajnath directed Gauba to take up the suggestion at the appropriate level immediately.
Rajnath said the Government is contemplating construction of Seema-Bhawans for the safety of border people.
The Union Home Minister said the Government is serious about the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His statement came amid reports of an assassination plot by Maoists.
“We are always serious about the Prime Minister’s security. The Maoists are fighting a losing battle. They are now active only in 10 districts in the country,” he said.
Rajnath said out of 135 districts affected by Maoist violence, only 10 districts remained “worst hit”, asserting that there had been a considerable fall in left wing extremism in the country.
He said the Maoists, extremists and militants were fighting a losing battle.
“As far as the Maoists are concerned, they are fighting a lost battle. Extremism by Maoists has shown a significant decrease (in the country),” Singh said.
The Home Minister said Maoist influence was spread across 135 districts of the country.
“Now it has come down to 90 districts. This is the achievement of our four years of rule and if we go further in describing it, only 10 districts have been left where there is high influence of Maoists,” he said.
He added that the north east has also seen a dip in extremist activities.
He said there has been 85 per cent decrease in extremism in the north east.
Earlier, Home Minister visited North Kashmir’s Kupwara district and held meetings with various delegations at Dak Bangalow. He was accompanied by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta, Union Minister of State for PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister for Social Welfare Sajad Gani Lone, MLA Kupwara Bashir Ahmad Dar, Chief Secretary BB Vyas, DG Police SP Vaid and Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Khalid Jahangir.
Singh interacted with delegations from various areas of the district and listened to their demands. He assured them that all of the projected issues would be looked into. The delegations which met him including those of Gujjars and Bakerwals, Tangdhar and traders. They put forward their demands before the Home Minister who assured redressal.
The Home Minister also visited DPL Kupwara and paid floral tributes to the police martyrs at the martyr’s gallery. He addressed the jawans of Police and CRPF at DPL Kupwara while paying rich tributes to their role in ensuring peaceful future for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He interacted with the Police and CRPF jawans.
While addressing the jawans, Mehbooba congratulated the Police and CRPF for exercising restraint during performance of law and order duties.