March 2004 News

Youth Exploiting Surrender Policy

22 March 2004
The Pioneer

Jammu: While The recently announced policy of surrender-cum-rehabilitation of terrorists by the Jammu and Kashmir Government is causing heartburn to thousands of educated and unemployed youth, especially in the Jammu region, security forces are voicing concerns of the youth picking up guns 'to later get rehabilitated when they surrender'. The new policy announced by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led- coalition Government, which uses the softer 'militants' for terrorists, aims at 'providing an opportunity for the return of those militants who have undergone a change of heart and want to shun the path of violence to join mainstream'. However, those 'involved in the heinous crimes will not be entitled to the benefits of the scheme'. The policy also does not cover recycled militants who have already surrendered under the surrender policy introduced in 1995 - amended in 1997 - and again joined the ranks. The government also said that it would consider the surrender of those youth who had crossed over the border (into Pakistan) and want to return to their homes to lead a normal life but it would be without incentives. Under this rehabilitation scheme, the government would provide Rs 1.50 lakh as rehabilitation incentive in the form of fixed deposit (FDR) that would be drawn only on completion of three years of normal life with good behaviour after the surrender. For the sustenance of the surrendered militant, Rs 2000 would be paid as monthly stipend after the surrender. The rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants also envisages vocational training for self-employment, free of cost at specified centres for those who desire to set up self-employment units. Even 10 per cent of the margin money and 15 per cent promoters' contribution would be borne by the government and the remaining 75 per cent would be raised as bank loan up to the maximum of Rs 250,000 lakh. However, higher limit would be considered for units of stage and loan carriers. The policy provides specified places of surrender and the competent authorities for accepting the surrender besides amounts to be paid for different weapons to be deposited by militants. Meanwhile, security experts are concerned that this policy 'has the potential to lure the local youth to take to militancy and later surrender to get rehabilitated'. Security and Intelligence agencies have already cautioned that 'the local youth have once again started joining militant ranks'. They disclosed that the 'number (of locals taking to guns) is gradually increasing'. In the past five years, 'it was only the foreign (from outside the state) terrorists active in the state'. Political analysts fear that 'such policies tend to sharpen the divide between Jammu and Kashmir region that can have a dangerous fallout.

 

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