Take legal course for militants returning from Nepal route: PC

Take legal course for militants returning from Nepal route: PC

23 May 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today called for adopting legal course for all Kashmiri militants, who were returning from Pakistan and PoK via Nepal unless they fell in the category of Rehabilitation Policy adopted by the J&K Government. He directed for identification of places in Srinagar and other districts of the Kashmir Valley to reduce visibility of para-military forces. Presiding over a high level security review meeting along with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State this afternoon, Mr Chidambaram reviewed arrangements from Amarnath ji yatra from security point of view. The meeting finally decided the security measures, which would be made by 100 companies of para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir police from June 15, about 10 days ahead of scheduled start of the yatra on June 25. Mr Chidambaram, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Home, Dr Jitendera Kumar, Special Director of Intelligence Bureau, Rajeev Kapoor and Joint Secretary Home (Kashmir Affairs) K Skandan from New Delhi, also reviewed internal security arrangements all across the State with entire top brass of civil and police administration, heads of para-military forces and Intelligence agencies. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Home Minister, who reached Srinagar this afternoon from about three hours tour of mountain locked Kargil district in Ladakh region, called upon the para-military forces and police to take all steps to ensure peaceful summer in Kashmir when highest ever number of tourists and pilgrim tourists in the form of Baba Amarnath ji yatra were expected to visit the Valley. The Home Minister flew back to New Delhi late in the afternoon after having lunch with top civil, police, para-military and Intelligence officers at Nehru Guest House followed by high level security review. Sources said Mr Chidambaram agreed to major demand of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for reducing visibility of para-military forces not only from Srinagar City but other districts of the Kashmir Valley also, which were militancy free. Sources said officers of police and civil administration have been tasked to identify the areas all across the Kashmir Valley, beginning from Srinagar City, from where para-military forces could be withdrawn. Already, a number of CRPF bunkers have been withdrawn from the summer capital. Sources said in addition to withdrawal of para-military force bunkers from Srinagar cities and other districts of the Valley, a decision was also taken at the high level security review meeting for a phase wise review of occupation of Government buildings and hotels by the para-military forces. 'The proposals for phase wise withdrawal of para-military from Government buildings and hotels and reducing visibility of forces from Srinagar City and other districts was taken unanimously in the meeting’’, sources said, adding the Home Minister and para-military forces heads gave their nod to it. Referring to return of a number of former Kashmiri militants along with their Pakistani wives and children through Indo-Nepal border, Mr Chidambaram directed that legal course should be followed in their cases excepting the youth, who fell in the category of Rehabilitation Policy. Nearly 150 persons including militants, their Pakistani wives and children have returned from Pakistan and PoK during past one and a half years especially after the announcement of Rehabilitation Policy by the State Government, which had been approved by the Union Home Ministry. The MHA approved Rehabilitation Policy had fixed four routes-Poonch-Rawlakote, Uri-Muzaffarabad (both on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir), Wagah International Border in Amritsar, Punjab and Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi for return of the militants. However, the militants from these four routes could return only with Pakistan permission as two LoC routes required permits approved by Designated Authority of PoK while two other routes needed Pakistan passports and visas. The Screening Committee had received 800 applications from families of the militants of Jammu and Kashmir camping in Pakistan and PoK for past several years but cleared only 175 of them. Sources said Mr Chidambaram reviewed Amarnath yatra arrangements from the security aspects. He directed that best possible security arrangements should be made for the yatris all along the twin tracks, base camps, National Highways etc. He said the MHA was committed to provide additional para-military companies for yatra arrangements. While the MHA would provide 74 additional companies of para-military forces, rest of the companies would be mobilized from already deployed forces and Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting decided that a total of 100 companies would be deployed for the yatra. Sources added that the Union Home Minister called for ensuring smooth yatra, which would start on June 25 and conclude on August 2. He also directed the authorities to make all security arrangements for tourists and Amarnath yatris during summer in the Valley. The Chief Minister apprised the Home Minister that the Valley was expecting highest ever tourists this summer due to peace. Mr Chidambaram said the tourist destinations should be fully protected as the militants and their sympathizers could try to disturb peace by targeting them as well as Amarnath yatris. Sources said para-military forces would start reaching here from June 15 and the deployment would start with clearance of snow. It would be completed well in advance of scheduled date of yatra i.e. June 25. Para-military would be deployed on both Nunwan and Baltal tracks and base camps, Bhagwati Nagar base camp besides National Highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar. Mr Chidambaram also discussed return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley and protection of their properties. Sources said the Home Minister directed police, Intelligence agencies and administration to go all out against terror funding and money laundering, which has been going on using different channels. 'All such channels should be blocked so that no funds were available for terror funding’’, they added. Only few days back, the Enforcement Directorate had attached Rs 1 lakh hawala money of hardliner separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Sources said the Union Home Ministry had reports that some separatist leader and militants besides their Over Ground Workers (OGWs) had been beneficiaries of hawala money and money laundering from different channels. The MHA has provided authorities with some details of hawala transactions and money laundering and directed them to go after the accused and block their channels. According to sources, internal security scenario in the State also came up for a high level review. Police, para-military forces and Intelligence agencies gave their perception of the situation to the Home Minister. The meeting noted that there could be hardly 200 to 250 militants active in the State but observed that a large number of ultras were waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) to infiltrate into this side. 'The militants still had the potential to strike though they were lying low’’, sources said. They added that there was no major mention of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from some parts of the State and report of the Interlocutors as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already made his views known to the Home Minister and the Union Government. Omar wanted withdrawal of AFSPA from five peaceful districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Jammu, Samba and Kathua. The Interlocutors-Dileep Padgaonkar, Prof Radha Kumar and MM Ansari had submitted their report to the Home Minister on October 12, which had been reported in media including the Excelsior but not made public officially so far. Among others, who attended the meeting included Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, State Home Secretary, BR Sharma, Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, BB Vyas, Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, Ashok Prasad, RAW Commissioner, Parag Jain, Special Director CRPF, Anirudh Uppal, IG CRPF Dr B N Ramesh, Additional DGP Law and Order and Armed, K Rajendera, IGP Kashmir, SM Sahai, IGP Jammu, Dilbagh Singh, IG CRPF Partap Singh, IG BSG Jammu Ashok Kumar Jain, IG BSF Kashmir, IG CID Dr B Srinivas, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Pradeep Gupta.