Rajasthan allocates 100 residential plots in Jaipur at 50% subsidy to refugees from Pakistan

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New Delhi: Congress-ruled Rajasthan has allocated 100 residential plots in Jaipur at 50% subsidy to refugees from Pakistan. The plots were allotted last week and the officials added that more will be granted to Pakistani refugees, who have been granted citizenship over the last few years across the state.

Jaipur Development Authority (JDA)’s zone deputy commissioner, Abu Sufiyan, said the allotment was pending since 2014 and it was decided to allot the land to the eligible migrants immediately. He added the allotment process was done as per rules after proper scrutiny.

According to Hindu Singh Sodha, the president of Seemant Lok Sagthan, an organisation of the refugees, around 1.35 lakh refugees have come from Pakistan to Rajasthan since 1965. Around 1.10 lakh of them have been given citizenship and 25,000 are yet to get it.

The move to allot the plots comes amid countrywide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA that was passed last month to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015.

The Rajasthan government plans to bring a resolution against the CAA during the state assembly session starting from January 24. Earlier on Friday, Congress-ruled Punjab became the second state after Kerala to pass a resolution in the state assembly against the CAA, seeking revocation of the changes made to the law. Kerala has also moved the Supreme Court against the law.

Opponents of the CAA insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship in a secular country. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of a proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC). A process to identify undocumented immigrants in Assam led to the exclusion of around 2 million people from the NRC last year.

Union home minister Amit Shah started the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign in favour of the CAA in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur on January 3 and said the amended law will help the Pakistani refugees based in the state that borders Pakistan.

Sodha welcomed the move to grant land on concessional rates. “We will be approaching the state government to provide similar concessions to other Hindu refugees also,” he said.

“The JDA issued the allotment letters to Pakistani migrants for residential plots in the Khusar Extension Housing Scheme. The land was allotted at 50% subsidised rates,” said Rajasthan’s urban development and housing minister Shanti Dhariwal

A JDA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the process to allot the land was initiated in 2013 when the Congress was in power. He added the government last year invited applications for the allotments. “Around 400 applications were received, which after verification reduced to 100. The land was allocated after verification of details.”

Opposition BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek cited the Congress’s opposition to the CAA and accused it of double standards. “On one hand, it is protesting against the CAA and on the other distributing lease deeds to Pakistani Hindu migrants but is not publicising it. It would have been better had the Congress leaders participated in the distribution of allotment letters but they could not as they are opposing the CAA.”

Officials said none of the Congress leaders participated in the ceremony, where the JDA commissioner T Ravikanth distributed lease deeds to Hindu refugees.

“The Congress does not see everything from a political angle. It was a welfare work and the land was allotted to help and support the poor. It is the Congress government which expedited the process of land allotment,” said Archana Sharma, Congress spokesperson.

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