The row between two State police forces over the arrest of a former Kashmiri militant, Liaqat, will not be too difficult to solve as the dispute is based on facts and sorting out claims from what actually took place should not pose a problem, said highly placed sources.
But the public laundering of the dispute over the alleged former militant’s actual status and intentions has spurred the Centre into thinking of a national policy to deal with anti-state actors, who wish to join the mainstream after giving up the gun.
Liaquat, arrested by the Delhi Police for planning terrorist activity is claimed to be a former militant by the Jammu & Kashmir Police, who claim he was entering India via Nepal, the favoured route for surrender by Kashmiri militants.
However, aware of a multitude of surrender schemes in different parts of the country wracked by separatist or other types of organised violence, the government soon plans to sit down with States for a uniform surrender policy. The exercise could begin in the next few months with States, which have the primary law and order role, being roped in for consultations and inputs for a likely national rehabilitation scheme.
“A lot of effort is required. We need to sit with the States. There are many implications – social, political – and that’s why we should start with better coordination,” sources observed.
Amidst reports that the Union Home Ministry might order a probe into the tug-of-war over Liaquat, sources felt the issue was very simple to resolve because the dispute between two police forces was the place from where Liaquat was arrested. Delhi Police claims he was picked up from a guest house here where he was holed up to cause mayhem during Holi. The J&K Police claim Liaquat, like many others, was entering India as part of its surrender and rehabilitation policy, to surrender through the India-Nepal border but was arrested by the Delhi Police.
“But the larger issue is how our policy[ies] of rehabilitation have worked. We may be looking again in a large policy framework in terms of rehabilitation and other bigger issues in the next few months,” said the sources.
States have introduced surrender policies in the past to deal with disenchanted or exhausted militants subscribing to causes such as Maoism and separatism, but Liaquat’s case suggests “we need a broader review.”
The review would also deal with differing perceptions among security agencies about the status of a person like Liaquat, so that there is better coordination among them.