Agencies Want To Persist With 'informal’ Deal For Ex-Kashmiri Militants’ Surrender Policy

Agencies Want To Persist With 'informal’ Deal For Ex-Kashmiri Militants’ Surrender Policy

14 June 2013
Times of India
Bharti Jain

New Delhi: Despite the Liyaqat Shah fiasco underlining the lack of coordination between various agencies on return of ex-militants under the Jammu & Kashmir surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy, the agencies are wary of formalizing the Indo-Nepal border check-post as a designated crossing point or making it mandatory for J&K authorities to inform border forces and relevant state jurisdictions of impending surrenders. The involvement of multiple agencies, it is feared, would heighten the risk of the ex-militant's identity getting compromised, rendering him vulnerable to retaliatory strikes by his former Pakistani handlers. There are apprehensions that a rigid system of surrenders by Kashmiri ex-militants may not work on the ground, as those seeking benefits under the policy often return without any prior notice to the J&K authorities. 'An ex-militant virtually risks his life during the journey from Pakistan to J&K. Though authorities are aware that a particular ex-militant will be returning under the scheme, the exact timing of his return is mostly not known. Ex-militants randomly turn up at the Indo-Nepal check post and travel to J&K on their own ahead of their surrender,' said an official of the Central security establishment. It may thus not be practical for J&K authorities to intimate border forces like SSB or the transit states on impending surrenders, the official added. The agencies, instead, are pitching for continuing with the same informal system for surrenders under the J&K scheme, as it tends to give cover to the prospective surrenderee. 'At the most, the states can be told to check with the J&K authorities, each time a Kashmiri is intercepted at the border, whether he is an applicant under the state's surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme,' said an intelligence official. 'If multiple checks and balances are introduced, the ex-militants may become wary of the Pakistani agencies getting alerted. Too much paperwork and formalities may add to the risk of the prospective surrenderee's identity getting compromised,' warned a home ministry official. As many as 260 ex-militants returned to J&K via Nepal under the state's special policy until April 10 this year. However, the arrest of Liyaqat Shah by the Delhi Police in March in connection with an alleged 'plot to target crowded areas of the city around Holi', even as both Shah and J&K government claimed he was only an ex-militant on the way back home, led the Centre to order an NIA probe into the case. Shah was recently released on bail.