Ultras’ Rehab Plan Fraught With Risk, Say Agencies

Ultras’ Rehab Plan Fraught With Risk, Say Agencies

27 October 2012
Deccan Herald
Dalip Singh

New Delhi: Indian intelligence agencies feel that the scheme for rehabilitating former militants willing to return to the Valley from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is fraught with major risks. Sources in the government said the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had received specific inputs indicating that activists of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) have managed to secure Indian passports on fake identity and would be using the legal route to send their men for subversive activities. Two years ago, the Omar Abdullah government launched a “return and rehabilitation scheme” for former Kashmiri militants who crossed over to the PoK for undergoing terror training when the insurgency was at its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The state declared that the militants who gave up arms could return along with their families to Kashmir, but only through identified entry points – the country’s international airports, two trading posts in Poonch and Uri in the Valley and Wagah border in Amritsar, Punjab. This was done to facilitate thorough vetting by the state and intelligence agencies. But, most of the former militants are entering Kashmir illegally via Nepal, which has given rise to rift between the IB and RAW, owing to lack of coordination. Defence ministry data reveals that 206 former militants, out of 2,000 believed to be holed up in PoK, have returned in the last two years. While 127 came in 2010 and 61 in 2011, 12 crossed over in 2012. The RAW is believed to have cautioned the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other stakeholders in the internal security set-up that Pakistan’s ISI would exploit this scheme to further their anti-India design. Joint interrogation Hence, the Army has sought joint interrogation of renegades coming through the Nepal route to quell militant organisations’ nefarious designs of exploiting the “return home policy”. The matter is said to have been taken up with the State government during MHA officials’ visit to the Valley. Earlier this week, the Army refused to take back a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, Mohammad Javaid, and his family, who crossed the Line-of-Control and entered the Digwar forward belt in Poonch district of Kashmir to avail the government’s rehabilitation offer. They fear that the militants returning to Kashmir may be married to Pakistani nationals. The government is still to sort out the citizenship issue of the militants’ family members.