Ex-militants Demand Proper Rehabilitation In Jammu And Kashmir

Ex-militants Demand Proper Rehabilitation In Jammu And Kashmir

26 March 2013
The Economic Times


Srinagar: Families of former militants, who returned from PoK under the government's rehabilitation policy today held a protest here demanding immediate rehabilitation as was done with ex-militants in Punjab and north-eastern states. 'We demand rehabilitation the same way as ex-militants in Punjab and north-east were rehabilitated. We too are humans and should be allowed to live freely. We are facing many hardships. We are not being given identity cards and our children are being denied admission in school,' Saifullah Farooq, an ex-militant, told reporters here. The former militants, demonstrating under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Human Welfare Association, alleged that the state government was doing nothing to mitigate their sufferings. 'We are facing many difficulties here,' he said. The protests come in the wake of arrest of Liyaqat Ali Shah by Delhi Police, which claimed that he is a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, but J-K police have maintained that he was a militant who had surrendered as part of rehabilitation policy and was headed to Kashmir. Farooq said the state government should first rehabilitate those militants who are already in Kashmir and then ask others to return from across the border. 'There are around 27,000 of us here but we have been left to the mercy of God. If the state government wants to (really) rehabilitate ex-militants, it should rehabilitate us first and then ask those across the border to return,' he said. Farooq said the militants had taken up arms 'under certain circumstances' but, after shunning them, had a right to lead meaningful lives. Some of the protesters said they would end their lives if the government did nothing to 'mitigate their sufferings'. Complaining of the restrictions being faced by them, Shabo Fayaz, wife of an ex-militant said, 'We are not given cards, passports and other such documents. We and our children wish to visit our families across the border; why are we not being allowed to'. The state government had entered into an unwritten understanding with the Centre that any youth who had joined militant ranks in 1990s and wished to return via Nepal would be allowed to do so provided he surrendered before Army or police in the Valley.