The Centre is preparing a new surrender policy to bring terrorists back into the mainstream with the possibility of more attractive monetary and social security support.
Apart from launching a multi-pronged crackdown on jihadis and their sympathisers in the Kashmir valley, the government is also trying to woo the local population with the promise of a better future through investment, job creation and infrastructure development. At present, as part of the rehabilitation policy, a terrorist receives an immediate grant of Rs 1.5 lakh to be kept as a fixed deposit in a bank in the name of the surrendered person for a period of three years.
The money can be withdrawn by him only on completion of three years. The policy also allows the payment of Rs 2,000 as monthly stipend for three years after the surrender. “In today’s time, the amount of Rs 1.5 lakh cannot be of much help for a person who has returned to the mainstream and has many responsibilities to fulfill and that is why a bigger monetary package is being considered along with an increase in the monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 per month,” sources in security forces said.
The Centre is planning this softer surrender policy for terrorists at a time when footballer Majid Khan returned from the LeT after the security forces led a well-coordinated plan to get him back from the jihadi group to his family. The developments also come against the backdrop of terrorists getting killed in large numbers by security forces. In less than 11 months, soldiers have been able to eliminate more than 200 jihadis in the Kashmir valley including the top 25 commanders of different terror groups. Sources said among a majority of the families in Kashmir whose children have joined the ranks with terrorists, there fear that the youngsters may get killed and they need to be brought back to be saved from troops’ bullets.
PARENTS CONTINUE TO APPEAL
“Like Majid’s family , there is a large number of families who want to come out in open and give out a call to their children to return and lead normal lives. The security forces will now help such voices to reach out to their children and help them return,” they said. Parents of two more militants – Ashiq Hussain Bhat from Shopian and Manzoor Ahmad Baba from Pulwama – have appealed through the media to their sons to give up terrorism and rejoin their families.
Security officials say the government will also try to address the problem of rehabilitated terrorists becoming pariahs in Kashmiri society as they are often ostracised due to the fear of active jihadis. “The new policy is also considering providing better social security support to the militants who surrender and help them in all aspects,” the sources said. The steps towards meeting the aspirations of the people of J&K and winning hearts and minds are being taken at a time when the Centre’s interlocutor for talks withJ&K, Dineshwar Sharma, has already held his first round of parleys with people of the state.
“Sharma also made a detailed presentation to a high-level meeting headed by Rajnath Singh and attended by the stakeholders in the security of the state on the expectations of the people from the Centre and how the situation should be dealt with by the government,” sources said. The present policy is limited to those who crossed the LoC into PoK in early 1990s and were stuck there, while a separate rehabilitation process was used for local terrorists who wanted to surrender.