Centre considers resettling J&K youth who give up arms

File Image   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

The Centre is considering offering young Kashmiri militants an escape from a life of violence by temporarily resettling them in more peaceful parts of the country, according to the top military commander in the Kashmir Valley.

Lieutenant General B.S. Raju revealed the plan for a new scheme to offer a way out of militancy during a telephone interview from Srinagar.

He told Reuters that recommendations had been submitted to the Centre and that the plan, while not finalised, was in an advanced stage.

“These are young boys who need to be taken care of for a period of time,” Lt. Gen. Raju said, adding that could involve temporarily settling them outside of Jammu and Kashmir.

Past efforts to persuade fighters to put down their guns have had mixed success. But Lt. Gen. Raju said the military had recommended the scheme take a longer-term approach to rehabilitating ex-militants.

“The bottom-line is that it will have a structure that will help and give confidence to the people who are opting to surrender,” Lt. Gen. Raju said.

Lt. Gen. Raju said militant attacks have dropped by nearly 40% compared to last year.

Around 140 active

Since the start of the year, Indian security forces have killed around 135 militants, most of them recruited locally.

The military estimates that there are currently around 180 militants operating with various groups active in the valley, Lt. Gen. Raju said. Some 70 local Kashmiris are reckoned to have been recruited by these groups since the start of the year, about a dozen less than during the same period a year ago.

“We wish that this should drop further, and finally cease altogether,” Lt. Gen. Raju said.

Currently most surrenders are conducted in line with a 2004 policy that provides a lump sum payout of Rs. 1,50,000, a small monthly stipend, free vocational training and cash payments for weapons handed over.

The New Delhi-based South Asia Terrorism Portal estimated that more than 400 insurgents have surrendered since 2004, but after 2007 the numbers came down to a trickle, with only two dozen men giving up arms in the last three years.

Kuldeep Khoda, a former J&K Police chief, said the scheme had partly failed because the vocational training provided by the government was inadequate.

“If you ask me very frankly, there was hardly any training being given. They were just kept there for a few months,” he said. “It was just a formality which was being completed.”

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 3:20:58 PM |

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