August 2001 News

Move to rehabilitate surrendered militants in exchange for arms

28 August 2001
The Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Jammu: Surrendered militants in Jammu and Kashmir may soon find themselves without weapons. The Jammu and Kashmir Government has come up with a proposal to rehabilitate surrendered militants, in return for their weapons. Surrendered militants in Jammu and Kashmir are allowed to retain their weapons to protect themselves and also to help security forces. They work as informers, as members of counter insurgent groups and also as special officers with security agencies. The proposal to disarm the surrendered militants, a majority of whom joined the state’s counter insurgency groups, was founded on reports that some of these ‘ex-militants’ had returned to the fold of pro-Pak militant groups and started acting against the security forces. The security forces are armed with specific reports on a good number of surrendered militants actually working against the state and being instrumental in sabotaging security installations. The security forces have been facing two kinds of problems with regard to these men. First, there is a danger of breach of security that is assuming alarming proportions, and then there are ever increasing allegations of human rights violations. There have been reports of these surrendered militants resorting to extortion at gunpoint, which puts the security forces in an awkward position as they have no option but to defend them because they are indispensable in fighting militancy. Thus, the urgent need for rehabilitation. The surrendered militants, on the other hand, are constantly pressurised by militant outfits, which target them and their families for ‘revenge’. This, coupled with the pittance they received as sustainance, has reportedly spurred many to return to their former affiliations or take to other underhand activities. The Rs 1,500 they receive is barely enough to survive. Counter insurgent Kukka Parray said, “The way surrendered militants are being attacked, I fear trouble. There is a danger of their going back to militancy,” they said. He was critical of the government for not having rehabilitated them and offered them physical and economic security. When contacted, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said the State Government would soon hold a meeting with the Central Government and push the case of rehabilitation for surrendered militants.


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