Nearly seven decades later, West Pakistan refugees have got the right to vote in panchayat elections. For the first time, he will vote in the by-elections to be held in the next few days. An order has been issued to the commissioners on behalf of the Chief Election Officer to include the names of all the refugees in the voter list. He did not have citizenship of the state because of the absence of a PRC and state subject because of Article 370. Till now they had the right to vote only in the Lok Sabha elections.
Sources said that the objections were raised in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer on behalf of West Pakistan Refugees this month that it has been more than a year since Articles 370 and 35A were removed. Even after this, his name was not included in the voter list. During the voter revision campaign in January, the name was not included in the list.
In the letter sent by the Joint Chief Electoral Officer to all the District Panchayat Election Officers (DCs), it has been said that the words PRC and State Subject have been removed in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act. Also, it has been deleted in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.
In such a case, the names of West Pakistan refugees should be included in the panchayat voter list so that no eligible candidate is left out. Sources said that after the order of the Chief Electoral Officer Office, the process of inclusion of names on behalf of DCs of all the districts has been started.
More than 26 thousand families
During the partition of the country, the West Pakistan Refugee settled in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Udhampur. Over 26 thousand families live in these four districts, including 22 thousand in Jammu, 3204 in Kathua. The number of West Pakistan Refugee voters is around one lakh.
Seven decades later, the name of West Pakistan Refugees has been included in the panchayat voter list. All this has been possible due to the removal of Article 370. The entire Refugee Society welcomes it.