A rebirth for the surrendered militants
31 May 2004
REASI(UDHAMPUR): In this remote hamlet of Jammu and Kashmir, the joy of the Gujjar community knew no bounds today as seven youths belonging to the community who had taken to militancy surrendered and rejoined their families. It was a re-birth for the boys who had been battling it out with the security forces as activists of the two militant outfits, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, for the last seven years. The day was of special significance to the parents of the surrendered militants. Reshma, mother of 28-year-old Abdul Rashid of the Hizb, living in the remote Dadah village of Mahore tehsil in the Pir Panjal hills had a reason to cry as she was seeing her son after more than seven years. Fateh Mohammad, 53, was seeing his son Mohammad Rafiq of the Hizb after a gap of four years. Rafiq, 17, joined the Hizb when he was barely 13. At first, Fateh Mohammad could not recognise his grown-up bearded son; it was Rafiq who spotted his father. 'Every day without him was a torture and I am glad the bad patch of life is over. It has been hard on my wife particularly who has become sick,' Fateh Mohammad said. But the road ahead is not smooth for the surrendered militants or their families as the risk of retaliation from the militant outfits is real. Mohammad Hussien, father of Liquat Ali, a former Jaish militant, said that he lived in Bagai village, which was a three hours trek from the nearest road network. The area was infested with militants and his family would not be safe. The surrendered militants would get Rs.1.5 lakhs each as part of the rehabilitation incentive. The money would be placed in a fixed deposit and can be drawn only on completion of three years of normal life and good behaviour. They would also be paid a monthly stipend of Rs. 2000. Maj.Gen. Rajeshwar Singh said: 'With the locals joining us we can break the backbone of militancy. I know the road ahead is tough and there are risks.'