5000 Kashmiri youth languishing in PoK camps, willing to return
3 February 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: More than 5,000 Kashmiri youth are languishing in training camps in Pak occupied Kashmir and majority of them are willing to return and reunite with their family members. Six local youth, who were picked up by ultras on way to their school several years back and forced them to militancy, managed to flee a training camp in PoK and landed in this part of the Line of Control. They made the startling revelations about their nightmarish experience and claimed that many Kashmiri youth were languishing in PoK camps and wanted to reunite with their families and join national mainstream. Out of the six, three of them were hardly 12-13 years old when they were picked up by the militants and taken to Pak occupied Kashmir for training. They are Mohd Altaf Safi, Aijaz Ahmed Khoja, Jahangir Wani, Mohd Ashraf Baba, Mohd Sultan Pyar and Sannaulla Mir. The troops did not disclose their full identity including parentage and respective villages due to security reasons and threat perception. They surrendered before the Sector Commander 11 RR, Brig Arumy Raj at 16 Corps headquarters at Nagrota this morning. They handed over six Chinese pistols and six magazines. Mohd Ashraf, who had exfiltrated to PoK in Sept 95 told the Excelsior that he alongwith his five associates crossed over to this side with mere one pistol each, one magazine and five rounds to launch 'Jehad' in Kashmir. He said that they attained training in handling AK rifles, LMGs, pistols, grenade launchers in PoK camps and also expressed willingness to join 'Jehad' in Kashmir before Camp commanders and trainers. Pak Army officers in Civil used to train them. The boys were also paid Rs 1000 per month in the Camps besides free food, lodging and clothing without any job during the last 5 to 12 years stay. It is amazing that boys were kept for so long period in the camps without any work after obtaining three and six months training. They disclosed that they were missing badly their parents and also talked on telephone to their family members from PoK on certain occasions. Brig Arumy Raj disclosed that after Indian Army on the request of these boys' parents established contact with them through a source and assured them safety, they fled training camp at Bakryal (PoK) a couple of days ago and surrendered before security forces near LoC. ' We received them and accepted their surrender soon after they crossed LoC, Brig Raj maintained. ' We have succeeded in getting six of our misguided youth back from militant training camps in PoK for the second time. Earlier, a militant had taken Nepal route to come back to the State,' Brig Arumy said, adding that many more were willing to surrender and join national mainstream. He said efforts were afoot to establish contact with other misguided youth. Ashraf said earlier there existed six to seven training camps in PoK where he had been kept, but some more camps had come up in recent past. In reply to a query, he said nearly 5,000 Kashmiri youth were at present undergoing training in militant camps in PoK. Apart from food, clothes and other items of daily use, commanders gave them Rs 1,000 each per month. He said during their training, commanders had been asking them to get ready to fight Indian troops to 'liberate' Kashmir. He said he was abducted by militants in September 1995 while he was going to school in his village and was then taken to PoK. Sultan had exfiltrated in 1997, Altaf in 1990 and Aijaz, Jehangir and Sanaullah in 2001. All of them expressed their desire to fight militants and support security forces in restoration of peace in the State.