Govt May Take Up Legalizing Nepal Route Under Rehab Policy

Govt May Take Up Legalizing Nepal Route Under Rehab Policy

17 July 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The State Government has decided to take up the issue of legalizing Nepal route for the return of Jammu and Kashmir youth from Pakistan and PoK under Rehabilitation Policy as majority of the youth, were taking this route to return to their houses instead of four prescribed routes. The Kashmiri youth along with their Pakistani wives and children, who have so far returned from Pakistan and PoK, have taken Nepal route through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as they were unable to get access to four points, which have been authorized for return of the youth under the Rehabilitation Policy. The authorized routes included Poonch-Rawalkote in Jammu, Uri-Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, Wagah border in Amritsar district of Punjab and Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Government would take up issue with the Union Government for allowing extension of benefits under Rehabilitation Policy to the youth, who were returning from Nepal after languishing in Pakistan and PoK for several years. So far, about 300 Kashmiri youth, their Pakistani wives and children have returned to Kashmir. Some of the security and intelligence agencies viewed return of the youth as a “security risk’’ on the ground that they could be re-cycled into the militancy by the militant outfits. “Under the Rehabilitation Policy, only those former militants returning from Pakistan and PoK to their houses in Jammu and Kashmir were entitled to benefits of the Policy, who take four authorized routes, have applied for return under the Policy and didn’t have any criminal case pending against them,’’ sources said. They added that the Government would like Nepal route to be authorized for extension of benefits under the Rehabilitation Policy as it has turned out to be only safe route for the militants to return along with their families. While Army as a policy decision has decided not to allow any militant to return from the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistani agencies were keeping a strict vigil on movement of the militants on four routes prescribed in the Policy to ensure that they didn’t return. Worthwhile to mention that the Army has decided to strictly follow the Rehabilitation Policy and allow the militants to return only from four authorized routes after completion of all formalities and not from any other route on the LoC. On some occasions, the Army had pushed back the militants, who wanted to return from LoC in Poonch district under the Rehabilitation Policy. Sources said only if Nepal route was authorized for return of the militants under the Rehabilitation Policy, they would be entitled to the benefits under it, which included cash incentives. So far, none of the militants, who have returned from Pakistan and PoK, have been granted benefits under the Rehabilitation Policy as all of them came back from Nepal route. It may be mentioned here that the Jammu and Kashmir Police demand for setting up a police picket along Indo-Nepal border in Gorakhpur area of Uttar Pradesh was turned down by the UP police on the ground that they can’t allow the police of any other State to set up their base in their area. According to sources, at least 3000 militants from Jammu and Kashmir could still be staying in Pakistan and PoK though most of them have now shunned the path of militancy and wanted to return. However, they were finding it difficult to come back due to strict surveillance on them by Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Intelligence agencies here were worried that Pakistan Army or the ISI with a view to use them later might have facilitated return of some of the militants. Sources said the Centre was considering roll out of new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Kashmiri militants returning from Nepal. “The Centre has received comments of all stakeholders on the subject. And the improved procedures will be out soon,’’ sources said. Under the SOP, J&K Police will “come and escort” these people (militants) from the border to the State and they would also carry out “background checks” of these individuals, they added.