Kashmiri militants’ wives, children can return under new policy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

JAMMU - Militants who return home from Pakistani administered Kashmir as well as their wives and children will benefit from a rehabilitation policy approved by the Jammu and Kashmir government, say official sources.

The government Monday sanctioned a rehabilitation policy for militants who had crossed over to Pakistani Kashmir for arms training but now seek to return home. Under it, the spouses and children of militants are also entitled to return and avail of the benefits, official sources told IANS.

“A number of militants also got married to Pakistani nationals and accordingly arrangements would be made for their safe return to Jammu and Kashmir along with their spouses and children,” a source said.

This policy, which is being projected as a goodwill gesture by the Omar Abdullah government, has its roots in the rehabilitation policy adopted by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed administration in January 2004.

Under it, militants seeking to join the mainstream were to get Rs.150,000 as fixed deposit in banks and a monthly stipend of Rs.2,000 until self-employment opportunities were created for them. They were also to be given preferences in government jobs.

However, that policy did not take off, as not many militants came forward to take advantage of it and those who did finally didn’t get the promised benefits.

According to the policy, any militant desirous of returning can inform his family or relatives here of his intention.

However, a senior minister, told IANS on condition of anonymity that the process will not be easy and those seeking to return will have to undergo a series of screenings before they are granted permission.

The central home ministry and intelligence agencies will also be involved in the screening process.

The policy, meant to facilitate the return and rehabilitation of about 3,000 Kashmiri militants, was proposed by Abdullah in February this year, and endorsed by the central government.

Filed under: Terrorism

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