The Centre's representative to Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, today met various delegations, including the Bar Association of Jammu, which raised issues ranging from the threat to the state due to Rohingya Muslims and the citizenship rights for the West Pakistan refugees. Sharma is on the second leg of his visit to the state where he is meeting various groups and political parties. Today he met delegations of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry ofJammu (CCIJ), Bar Association of Jammu (BAJ) and the West Pakistan refugees. Meanwhile, Panun Kashmir, an organisation representing displaced Kashmiri Pandits, boycotted a meeting with Sharma, claiming that invitations were extended in a disrespectful manner. The delegation of refugees, led by West Pakistani Refugees Front president Labha Ram Gandhi, said Sharma was informed about the discrimination meted out to them, despite having lived in the state for 70 years. Gandhi said he it was unfortunate that they were not given the right of citizenship, employment and the right to vote. On the issue of their citizenship rights, he said the community should be rehabilitated in any part of the country if they were not granted the rights in Jammu and Kashmir. There are over one lakh West Pakistani refugees living in four districts of the Jammu region for past 70 years. The CCIJ delegation, led by its president Rakesh Gupta, raised issues of unemployment and development. Welcoming the interlocutor's appointment, he said there should be a consistentpolicy for peace and development and the recommendations of interlocutors or working groups shouldnot be treated just as pieces of paper but as aspirations of the people. He alleged a migration of nationalists was taking place from the Jammu region to other parts of the country due to their non-inclusion in the political dialogue process and the appeasement policy which was being followed by the government towards the separatists. On the issue of Rohingya Muslims, he said were agitating for deportation ofthe community members as they could be a threat to the national security. Gupta highlighted the problem of unemployment, saying establishment of some industries and BPOs in the region could create job opportunities and also stressed on the development of tourist spots in the region. He alleged that since Independence the people of Jammu felt politically excluded and stressed that traders did not normally involved themselves in political activities but "apathy" was allegedly being shown by the state and central governments towards them. He supported the cause of the West Pakistan refugees and said a township should be created so that basic facilities could be provided to them. The delegation of the BAJ, led by its president B S Slathia, alleged that refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh were being funded by some Kashmir-centric terror organisations and their influx of refugees had led to demographic changes in the region. He demanded that toll tax collection at the Lakhanpur interstate terminal be stopped to ensure that the state becomes part of "one-nation, one-tax regime". Panun Kashmir, in a press release alleged, that the approach of extending invitation portrayed a lack of interest in holding the talks and was disrespectful towards those invited for talks. It claimed that 10 minutes were being allotted to six representatives of different organisations and flag issues and so it chose to abstain from meeting Sharma.
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