MHA refers Rehab Policy to MEA

100 return from other routes
Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, May 9: The much publicized Rehabilitation Policy of the State Government, approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been forwarded by the MHA to Ministry of External Affairs for formally taking it up with Pakistani Government.
Meanwhile, the State Government had approved 10 militants out of a total of 56, who crossed over to this side from Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) through different routes but not through the prescribed routes, under the Rehabilitation Policy as their families here had applied for their return under policy following the guidelines.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the families of militants, who had applied for return to the State under Rehabilitation Policy, have been informing concerned Deputy Commissioner and SSPs that their kin have been kept under strict surveillance in Pakistan and PoK by Intelligence agencies and were not being allowed to move outside.
Most of the militants were in regular touch with their families here telephonically.
Sources said Pakistan was afraid that return of Kashmiri youth to Jammu and Kashmir would expose their Army, ISI and other agencies. Therefore, they had kept maximum youth, whose families had applied under Rehabilitation Policy in strict surveillance.
“In view of this, the MHA has referred the Rehabili- tation Policy to the Ministry of External Affairs so that the matter was taken up with Pakistan at appropriate forums and dialogue between the two countries to ensure return of the youths from Jammu and Kashmir stranded in Pakistan and PoK for past several years’’, sources said, adding that the MEA has agreed to take up the Policy with Pakistan.
The MHA approved Rehabilitation Policy had fixed four routes—Poonch-Rawla- kote, Uri-Muzaffarabad (both on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir), Wagah International Border in Amritsar, Punjab and Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi.
However, the militants from these four routes could return only with Pakistan permission as two LoC routes required permits approved by Designated Authority of PoK while two other routes needed Pakistan passports and visas.
Sources said a total of 56 militants of Jammu and Kashmir returned from Pakistan and PoK during 2011 using different routes including Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal borders. Ten of them fell under the Rehabilitation Policy as their families had applied for return of their kin from Pakistan and PoK and completed all formalities.
A Screening Committee set up by the Government for approval of cases under the Rehabilitation Policy had cleared the cases of 10 persons, who used Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders for return to Jammu and Kashmir. Though the returnees hadn’t used prescribed four routes, their cases were approved as they had completed other formalities and were not involved under major terrorist acts here, sources said
This year 48 persons including 12 Kashmiri militants have returned using different routes. Four of the militants have applied for their return under Rehabilitation Policy. However, the cases of youth for consideration under the Policy for return, sources said.
The Screening Committee had received 800 applications from families of the militants of Jammu and Kashmir camping in Pakistan and PoK for past several years but cleared only 175 of them.
If approved under the Rehabilitation Policy, the militants after undergoing questioning, examination and reformation at various stages, would be rehabilitated to earn their livelihood and live a peaceful life.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had recently stated that Pakistan was major hurdle in implementation of the Rehabilitation Policy.
The State Government had taken up the matter with the MHA that many militants wanted to return from Pakistan and PoK, which was evident from illegal crossing by more than 100 persons through Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh border on Pakistan passports and visas to Bangladesh and Nepal and then reaching Jammu and Kashmir. The militants were unable to use four prescribed routes as Pakistani agencies were not allowing to do this.
Pakistan has been projecting Kashmiri militants as refugees of Kashmir in Muzaffarabad, the Capital of PoK before international organisations and that was why they didn’t want to facilitate their return to India.
It may be mentioned that, according to J&K police and Intelligence agencies reports, about 1300 militants from Jammu and Kashmir were held up at various places in Pakistan and PoK including training camps. Some of them were working at local shops and factories and had even solemnized marriages with local girls. Majority of them were awaiting an opportunity to return.
Few days back nine Kashmiri militants along with their Pakistani wives and 22 children had crossed over to their side from Indo-Nepal border after reaching Kathmandu from Pakistan using Pakistani passports and visas. They have been shifted to Srinagar for interrogation. Families of two militants had applied for their return under the Rehabilitation Policy but the Government would examine whether they fell in the category or not, sources said.

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