The Jammu and Kashmir government is considering a new policy to encourage militants from the state to give up arms, including a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for those who surrender, The Indian Express reported on Monday. State government advisor K Vijay Kumar said the policy draft “is presently at the pre-SAC stage” and is subject to clearance by the state Home Department and the chief secretary.
Jammu and Kashmir, currently under President’s rule, is being governed by the State Administrative Council. The body is headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik and includes his four advisors and Chief Secretary BVR Subramanyam.
According to the draft, the new policy details the need for rehabilitation through a two-pronged approach including reformative measures and opportunities of livelihood. In order to encourage militants to join the mainstream, the policy provides for a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for those who surrender. However, this initiative will not cover militants found to have been involved in “heinous crimes”.
The proposed scheme is a revised version of earlier initiatives, but with a fresh focus on socio-economic re-integration. Former Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police K Rajendra said it is essential for the government to show its will to reach out to alienated youth.
“The successful implementation of a surrender policy is of utmost importance in Jammu and Kashmir as there are a large number of surrendered or released militants,” he said. “The successful rehabilitation of one hardcore surrendered or released militant will motivate others to follow suit.”
Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon, General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, on Saturday, had appealed to mothers of militants to encourage their sons to quit militancy, Greater Kashmir reported. “Today, I make a fervent appeal to all Kashmiri mothers to ask their gun-wielding sons to return to their homes to live a happy life,” Dhillon said. “I guarantee the mothers that we will facilitate the safe return and entry of youth into the mainstream.”
A day after the February 14 suicide attack in Pulwama, Dhillon had made a similar appeal to the mothers. However, he had also warned that anyone picking up the gun would be “eliminated”. Forty CRPF jawans were killed in the bombing.
An earlier policy from 2010 focused on ensuring the return of former militants from the state who had taken up arms between January 1989 and December 2009 but later gave up insurgent activities “due to a change of heart and are willing, to return to the state”.
In 2004, a “rehabilitation policy” implemented by the then Peoples Democratic Party government sought to provide “facility to those terrorists who undergo a change of heart and eschew the path of violence and who also accept the integrity of India and Indian Constitution to encourage them to join the mainstream and lead a normal life”. This policy had laid out provisions to provide vocational training for surrendered militants who wished to pursue a trade, and a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 for the first three years.