April 2007 News

24 militants surrender

20 April 2007
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Twenty-four militants surrendered before the General Officer Commanding of 19 Infantry Division Major General Ramesh Halgali in Baramulla on Friday. Defence spokesman Col. A.K. Mathur said emotional scenes were witnessed as the militants met their family members. Many of them had crossed over to the other side of Line of Control at an early age. 'All of them were forced to cross over to PoK six to eight years ago. They joined Jehad by compulsion due to circumstances and not by choice. But they have realised the futility of Jehad. Hundreds of lives have been ruined, families shattered and only darkness engulfs the horizon of PoK,' the spokesman quoted the militants as saying. Growing cynicism They, according to Col. Mathur, unequivocally spoke of growing disillusionment amongst the Kashmir militants. 'There is a widening rift between local and foreign militants. They were very forthright in admitting that they feel safe and free in India and want to expose Pakistan's false rhetoric in support of Kashmiris.' In a statement, he said: 'They have also confirmed that terrorist infrastructure in PoK is intact and flourishing. Pakistan's involvement in abetting militancy in J&K in terms of moral, financial and material support from across the Line of Control remains undiminished.' The surrendered militants owed allegiance to the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Tehrik-e-Jehad, the Hizb-e-Islami, and the Kashmir Revolutionary Force. In the recent past, 146 militants who surrendered in Baramula had gone back to their families across the Valley. 'They are gainfully employed in family activities and professional ventures. There has not been a single incident so far, wherein a surrendered militant has reportedly participated in any form of anti-national activity. This provides credence towards their genuine belief of returning to India and thus lead a normal life,' he said. The statement claimed that inputs from the surrendered militants confirmed that the Hizb's supreme commander Syed Salahuddin is losing ground support. 'He [Salahuddin] reportedly visited the training camps in PoK to persuade the Hizb cadre against surrenders. However, the groundswell in favour of surrender movement compelled him to think on the lines of ceasefire,' he said.


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