‘Militant Families’ Trying To Cross LoC Pushed Back

‘Militant Families’ Trying To Cross LoC Pushed Back

23 June 2012
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: Indian soldiers on Saturday fired several rounds in air to push back three former militants who, along with their 19 family members, had crossed Line of Control in North Kashmir’s Uri sector, army sources disclosed. They added that the militants belonged to Kashmir and were eager to avail the safe passage under the state’s rehabilitation policy. But, the officials said, they used the wrong route. Ever since Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced the rehabilitation policy for former militants who are stuck in Pakistan, this is for the first time that three families have attempted to cross via LoC rather than the “designated routes” such as Nepal-Gorakhpur-Delhi. A top army official from 15 Corps said more than twenty persons including women and children had come 300 meters into the Indian controlled Kashmiri territory when the soldiers challenged them. “Despite our warning they kept coming forward. We could see women and children with them. Then we fired in air and they went back,” said an army official who was part of the operation. According to army sources the family members of these militants were carrying eatables and some gadgets including few laptops. “Our boys were on ambush; the families were lucky to have already crossed the stream and were clearly visible.” Those pushed back have been identified as Salamudin Khatana with wife and eight children, Muhammad Haneef with wife and three kids, Shakeel Ahmad Tass with wife and five wards. The Kashmiris who had crossed over to Pakistan for arms training but decided not to return have married and set up businesses. The Omar-led coalition government last year announced a rehabilitation policy for those willing to return. But little did the authorities know that the boys would have grown old, married and got the kids. Also, the cost of return is estimated between Rs 70000 and Rs 100000. The government has received around 1100 applications from the kin of those “stranded” in Pakistan and over five hundred such persons have returned with Pakistani wives and children. “Coming via LoC rather than the designated route is significant. It points to a humanitarian issue. This means there are families who don’t have money to pay for their journey back home,” said a top security official who is privy to the rehabilitation scheme.