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Sindh migrants fight for pension from Gujarat government

Monday, 22 April 2013 - 11:14am IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

Family had taken refuge in Gujarat after Indo-Pak war.

A family that migrated from Pakistan and took refuge in Gujarat in 1972 in the aftermath of 1971 Indo-Pak war is fighting to get pension from the Gujarat government for the last 16 years.

Head of the family Ranomal Adepal had filed a petition in 1997 before the Gujarat high court (HC) to get pension benefit. After Adepal’s death in 2007, his wife and six children joined the case as party against the government.

Adepal was junior clerk in the office of the superintendent of police at Tharperkar in Sindh province of Pakistan from 1959 to 1972, when he fled and took shelter at Tharad refugee camp in Gujarat.  He struggled to get a job and was finally appointed a junior clerk in Home Guards department in 1987 after sitting on hunger strike.

When Adepal retired from service at the age of 58 in 1994, he was granted retirement benefits but denied pension as he did not serve the period that could entitle him to get pension. After his efforts failed, he filed a petition before HC in 1997.

As per the petition, Adepal is entitled to get pension based on General Resolution (GR) of April 17, 1967, which allows pension to persons displaced from Sindh and North West Frontier Province (NWFP). “As per GR and an order of the high court in similar cases, the state ought to count services in Pakistan and condone the break-in-service period while calculating Adepal’s service and give them pension,” said PK Shukla, his counsel.

“VG Khatri, a junior clerk of the home department, and four teachers who migrated from Pakistan were given pension benefits, but the government refused to apply the precedent in our case,” the counsel said. “We are waiting for justice for 16 years. My father died five years back in 2007, while fighting his case. My father had placed his service record by obtaining it from Pakistan,” said Pratap, son of Adepal.

The case’s last hearing was held in August 2012 and then adjourned. According to the petition, Adepal’s family was forced to leave Pakistan due to persecution of Hindus and the political situation between the two countries as a result of occupation of Tharperkar area by Indian armed forces during the war. The family was given shelter at a refugee camp in Tharad in 1972. He got the citizenship by order of Banaskantha collector in 1978 and retired from service in office of the Home Guard Commandant in Bhuj.

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