The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday sought the Centre’s help in formulating a new surrender policy for young people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) willing to return to the mainstream.

State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was among the first speakers at the Conference on Internal Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said “to encourage more militants to return to State and manage their transition to civilian life, a new surrender and rehabilitation policy of militants is under active consideration of my government.”

He sought the Centre’s help in framing a policy for return of these youths who went for training in militant camps in PoK but do not want to come back with weapons.

Mr. Abdullah appealed for review of the continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the State in the light of significant improvement in the security environment.

“There is a very good case for removing the applicability of AFSPA from those districts of the State where terrorist or insurgent activities are minimal or insignificant,” he said.

Mr. Abdullah cautioned that while the conference was focussing on equipping the State police forces, efforts should be made for finding a political solution to problems before they assume the dimension of a law and order issue.

“While the attention being paid to the creation of basic infrastructure, skill upgrading is essential, this focus on the nuts and bolts of policing should not obscure importance of tackling and solving the fundamental political issues which underpin internal security,” he said.