Resettlement Act: Enforce SC stay order

The news-item “NC looks horns with govt over Resettlement Act” needs correction (May 3). The legislature passed the Resettlement Act with the Congress support. Prof Bhim Singh, the then Congress MLA, expressed his dissent. The Bill was sent for the Governor’s assent. He returned it in 1982.

The Assembly passed it again and sent it to the Governor. Under the J&K Constitution, a Bill passed by the legislature for the second time, automatically becomes law even if the Governor does not sign it. The Governor, however, referred it to the Union Law Ministry. On former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s intervention, the Bill was referred to the Supreme Court by the then President.

The Supreme Court returned the reference unanswered. There is no provision in the Indian Constitution or J&K Constitution for the resettlement of those who migrated to Pakistan in 1947. The Resettlement Act provides that descendants or close relatives or heirs can return to J&K and claim the property of their ancestors. Following a petition by the Panthers Party in 2002, the Supreme Court granted stay on this provision.

The provision of permit to return to J&K was not meant for those who had taken Pakistani citizenship voluntarily and who ceased to be Indian citizens. Under Article 6 of the Indian Constitution, only an Indian citizen can be a permanent resident of J&K.



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The J&K Governor has not intervened on the matter of POK settlers’ wish to return to J&K. The Congress leaders have been misleading the people that they may approach the Governor to scrap such a law. The legislature alone (and not the Governor) can do it.

The Supreme Court has rightly questioned how the bus passengers from POK can claim property in J&K. The Panthers Party has urged the Supreme Court to enforce the stay order on the Resettlement Act and prevent its violation by the state in the name of visitor entry permits.

Prof BHIM SINGH, Chairman, J&K National Panthers’ Party, Camp: New Delhi

World Red Cross Day

Tomorrow is World Red Cross Day (May 8). It is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Jean Henri Dunant, the founding father of Red Cross. On June 24, 1859, in the fierce battle between Italy and France on the one hand and Austria at Solferino in North Italy on the other, 10,000 soldiers died and 30,000 severely wounded and maimed. Nobody cared for the respectful disposal of the bodies. The provisions for evacuation, treatment and rehabilitation of the soldiers were absolutely non-existent.

Sir Dunant, a Swiss national, collected around 5,000 local youth, motivated and trained them for the evacuation and treatment of the wounded at his own expense. Thus came into being the Red Cross. Its emblem (red cross with white background) is conspicuous so that Red Cross personnel are easily recognised and their safety is ensured in the battle zone.

Lt-Col I.J.S. CHEEMA (retd), Chandigarh

Laudable step

Sushant Sareen’s article on the possible consequences of the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad (April 23) was timely. India and Pakistan must take steps cautiously keeping in view all the implications.

What the two governments failed to do for years is becoming possible due to the combined efforts of the people of both sides. They are interested in renewing their lost ties. This is what happens when people start dominating the political will.

Dr NITIN BHATNAGAR, M.M. Engg Collage, Mullana (Ambala)

Foreign jaunts

The news-item “May is holiday, travel time for legislators” (April 28) was interesting. The Punjab government is facing a financial crisis. It is unable to fill up the posts of school teachers, doctors etc due to lack of funds. However, almost all the legislators are about to embark on overseas trips. What would the people gain from these jaunts?

Dr S.S. SOOCH, Jalandhar

Shielding Lalu

The news-item “Gujral told me to go slow on Lalu: ex-CBI Chief” (April 27) was revealing. It shows how the then Prime Minister I.K. Gujral and the then Home Minister Indrajit Gupta tried to protect a criminal to remain in power. It is a mockery of democracy. When Indra (angel) goes awry, why blame an ordinary man for common wrongs?


Varsity for Bathinda

Bathinda is developing fast. However, it doesn’t have a university. Situated 170 km away from Patiala, Malout and Abohar areas, Bathinda’s colleges are affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, 250 km away. Distance does make a lot of difference to the students for whom Chandigarh is a mirage and so is Patiala.

Bathinda is the centre of the Malwa region and Malwa’s rich culture must have an apex body to promote this culture and intellectual activity. Being the centre of at least six district and subdivisional headquarters — Muktsar, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga, Mansa and Barnala, Bathinda deserves a university.

Prof RAJNISH KUMAR, Bathinda

Pathankot bus stand

Pathankot’s inter-state bus stand is in a pitiable condition. The Badal government started the modern bus stand project. But work came to a grinding halt after the change of government.

The building is incomplete and the surrounding area, used as adda, is full of potholes, about two feet deep. During rains these are filled with muddy water which scooters, cars and other light vehicles cannot cross. The mud is splashed on commuters by the passing buses. The government should complete the project fast.

KARNAIL SINGH, Shahpur Kandi


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