After Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s support to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s proposal to grant amnesty to Kashmiri youth returning from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Pradesh Congress Committee president Saifuddin Soz also backed him on the issue, the opposition from Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad notwithstanding.
People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti also welcomed the move, saying it was important to normalise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
A day after Mr. Abdullah snubbed Mr. Azad, Prof. Soz said this proposal could not be faulted. “These kinds of suggestions and propositions were made by several experts in the past. All such suggestions are already under the consideration of the Government of India,” Prof. Soz said in a statement. The Round Table Conferences conducted by the Prime Minister did churn out suggestions that engaged the attention of the Government of India over a period of time.
“Of the reports that were received by the Prime Minister, the one dealing with confidence-building measures was chaired by Hamid Ansari [now Vice-President].” The Ansari Committee, Prof. Soz said, had made a particular reference to this problem and made recommendations saying “a definite policy/package for rehabilitation is required so as to discourage any reversion to militancy, persons who have foresworn militancy and wish to join the mainstream should be treated with dignity and a conscious effort made to prevent undignified treatment being accorded to them.”
Without naming Mr. Azad, the PCC chief said the recent statements from certain quarters particularly raised questions on safeguards. This concern was justified, but, then, the Government of India already put in place the instrumentality of safeguards and precautions.
“We must also understand that various reports/suggestions do not constitute a final word for the Government of India, which will always go by its own perception and requirement,” Prof. Soz said.
Ms. Mehbooba, appreciating Mr. Chidambaram’s stand, said: “It is [an] endorsement of the policy being propagated by our party.”