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Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants demand Indian citizenship

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Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar, May 04: Pakistani wives of former Kashmiri militants, who returned from across the Line of Control under a rehabilitation scheme for surrendered militants, Saturday appealed the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government to either grant them Indian citizenship or deport them.

The women sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as well as Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to end their plight.

“It is our right to have the citizenship of the state. We should be made citizens here as is the case with women who marry men in any country. We appeal the Government of India and the state government to either grant us citizenship or deport us,” one of the protesters, Zeba, told reporters here.

These women arrived in Kashmir during the past decade along with their husbands. They allege that the State government was denying them travel documents to visit their families in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (PaK).

“Ours is a humanitarian issue. We were promised many things, but nothing was fulfilled. We have no identity here. Many of us are going through depression. There should be initiatives for us like the Karavan-e-Aman (Srinagar-Muzaffarabad) bus service so that we can visit our families,” another woman Safia said.

The Karavan-e-Aman (peace caravan) bus service runs between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in PaK. The bus service was started in 2005 on fortnightly basis as a confidence building measure between India and Pakistan.

The distressed women also appealed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and human rights organisations to take note of their ordeal.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah had in 2010 announced a rehabilitation policy for former Kashmiri militants, who had crossed over to Pakistan from 1989 to 2009.

Hundreds of Kashmiris, who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) for arms training, returned along with their families through Nepal border till 2016, after which the policy was discontinued by the Centre.

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