Are Kashmiri militants ready to return home from Pakistan?

May 16, 2011

Hundreds of Muslim militants based in the Pakistani part of Kashmir are ready to give up arms and return to their homes in the Indian part of the Himalayan region following New Delhi’s formal approval of a rehabilitation policy for rebels.

The policy was introduced by India last year for militants who had crossed over to Pakistan-administered Kashmir to be trained and join militant groups fighting New Delhi’s rule in Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the government has received nearly 700 applications from militants who are in the Pakistani part of Kashmir and want to return home.

“Out of the total applications received, 125 have been cleared by authorities for the militants to return to the state,” Abdullah said.

He added that the information will be passed to the families of militants on how they can come back. But the government says militants “must renounce violence and accept the integrity of India.”

There are no figures on how many people from Indian Kashmir are currently on the Pakistani side.

Thousands of people have crossed over to Pakistani Kashmir for arms training since a revolt against India broke out in 1989.

Many of them returned and joined different rebel groups, hundreds were killed on the rugged border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, while the rest are living in different parts on the Pakistani side.

India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had slammed the government for approving what it termed an ”anti-national” policy aimed at the return of Kashmiri militants.

“It’s an anti-national act, and we will oppose it tooth and nail,” BJP leader Chaman Lal Gupta said.

Officials say that the process of screening such people would be very strict.

A high-level team of government officials, army, police and representatives of the ministry of home affairs will scrutinise the applications and verify the antecedents of the militants who want to surrender.

According to The Times of India, the first batch of militants is expected to return home by June-end if everything goes well after the double-screening exercise.

By offering amnesty, New Delhi is trying to win the hearts and minds of the alienated people of Kashmir after nearly 22 years of unrest. Nearly 50,000 people including militants, civilians and Indian security force personnel have been killed so far.

There has been no reaction from Islamabad or the government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir to the Indian announcement. The neighbours claim the Kashmir in full but rule in parts and have fought wars over the scenic region.

Will decades of Indian and Pakistan animosity create hurdles for the return of Kashmiri rebels?

4 comments

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Return of the militants is a welcom step,albeit delayed. pak will not want to lose the foot soldiers for proxy war. keeping the kashmir issue burning is a principle foreign policy aim .The militants in pak are homesick.They have seen through the pak ploy and do not want to be used as a tool. However assimilation back in kashmir mainstream is going to be tough for the returnees. Government agencies will aggressively monitor them for their reformed mindset,stop their recycling into terrorism and look for isi sleepers. Rehabilitation packages have not been attractive.At best the militants have come a full circle and experienced the futility of violence. However,having more than a thousand surrendered but trained militants sitting unoccupied, does not bode well for the tumultous poltics of kashmir.

Posted by nbvishen | Report as abusive

[...] Are Kashmiri militants ready to return home from Pakistan?Reuters India (blog)Hundreds of Muslim militants based in the Pakistani part of Kashmir are ready to give up arms and return to their homes in the Indian part of the Himalayan region following New Delhi's formal approval of a rehabilitation policy for rebels. …Returning Home- A flight to KashmirKashmir DispatchKashmiri vs IndiaThe WeekEU Diplomats Shun Hardliners Over OsamaKashmir ObserverThe Nation, Pakistan -People’s Daily Online -Pakistan Timesall 14 news articles » [...]

Dear Sheikh, I think you have turned more biased now, this is only Indian government’s propaganda. No one wants to return and i am sure there are none from this side of Kashmir. this is another ploy to hoodwink international community. I hope in future you will report honestly.

Posted by shugufta | Report as abusive

The stage is set for the return and rehabilitation of 20 young Kashmiris who have been stranded across the Line of Control (LoC) – all of them are former-militants. Families in Anantnag are eagerly awaiting for their sons to return.
We feel what the government of Jammu and Kashmir and government of India is doing is a good policy. After all these are our people who have been misled and who have been staying in Pakistan and carrying out terrorist activities for too long. Therefore calling back these people and rehabilitating them here will prove to be a good measure, in fact it will call Pakistan’s bluff, because they kept saying they have nothing to do except for moral support and diplomatic support, we are not involved, it just shows that they have been involved for too long.

Posted by nabi123 | Report as abusive

Home ministry officials have met senior Jammu & Kashmir officials to discuss the state government’s rehabilitation policy for former militants stranded in PoK on Tuesday.

They would be allowed to return only if they shun violence and granted amnesty besides financial assistance.

Joint Secretary (Kashmir affairs) K Sakandan met chief secretary Madhav Lal and J&K police chief Kuldeep Khoda among other senior senior officials at Srinagar’s civil secretariat.

Posted by nabi123 | Report as abusive