CM’s Surrender Policy Takes Off10 January 2011
Uri: The Chief Minster, Omar Abdullah’s much hyped surrender and rehabilitation policy finally seems to have taken off as at least 30 application forms (seeking benefits under the plan) have been received by police in Uri in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, which witnessed large scale migration of people towards Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) after eruption of militancy in 1989. The surrender-and-rehabilitation policy approved by Government of India paves way for return of the youth, who had crossed over to PaK after eruption of militancy in the Valley. Sub District Police Officer, Uri, Masroor Ahmad told Rising Kashmir that they have received about thirty applications from people, seeking return of their wards from PaK, in last week. “For seeking benefits of the rehabilitation policy, parents of the youth who had crossed over to Pakistan or PaK can approach the police certifying that their ward wanted to return and live a normal life,” he said. Masroor said the response from people is expected to increase in the coming days. The locals said large numbers of people including some families were forced by the circumstances to migrate to PaK after eruption of militancy in 1989. “Fewer people crossed for undergoing arms training while most were forced to migrate due to insecurity and continuous harassment by the security agencies,” they said. They said Soura, Hathlanga, Tilawari, Palkot, Churunda, Singh, Tung, Azad Badan, Kamlkoot, Zamoor Pattan, Nawarunda, Dardrekoot and Gowalta villages in Uri witnessed mass migration. “At least 380 families comprising 1650 souls migrated to PaK in 1990-91. The population was largely surviving on grazing cattle’s and feeding herds at Zero Line. However, with the outbreak of militancy and installation of security bunkers and planting of IEDs by troops, people faced perpetual harassment,” the locals said. 72-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Bhat of Soura, Uri said the troops were accusing local population of providing shelter to the militants. “Due to insecurity and continuous harassment, people had no option but to migrate to PaK for safe and secured life,” he said. He travelled all the way from Soura to Uri to file an application and seek benefits under surrender and rehabilitation policy for his family members (wife, two sons and two brothers), who are in PaK. Stating that he has not seen his family members after they migrated to PaK, Bhat said, “I hope under the new policy my family members would be granted safe passage and our family will be re-united. I am in the last stage of my life and am praying for seeing my beloved family members before closing my eyes forever”. The locals said scores of families had migrated from Soura while 150 families had migrated to PaK from Singh, Ting and Azad Badaan villages. “Majority of people in Uri are unaware of government’s surrender and rehabilitation policy. In order to make people avail the benefits, the administration has sought the support of chowkidars, sarpanchs and local elders in making local population aware about government’s rehabilitation policy,” a senior official said. He said the growing awareness will definitely increase the response of the people and more and more people will come forward and seek ‘safe return’ of their near and dear ones. According to surrender-rehabilitation policy, the applications submitted by people will also be forwarded to the high level committee to be constituted in this regard by the government for final approval. “The committee will scrutinize cases which receive clearance from the intelligence agencies and the youth, who return, will be kept in a camp where they would be monitored and imparted counselling so that they could earn their livelihood,” the officials said.