Abjure Arms, Return, Talk: Delhi To UJC9 April 2011
New Delhi: Announcing that New Delhi would not spurn the Kashmiri militant leadership based across the LoC if it renounced violence and returned for talks, the union home secretary, GK Pillai, on Saturday ruled out sending dialogue invitations to the latter, saying that the centre had no such proposal “as of now.” According to India’s highest government officer managing internal security issues, the largest Kashmiri militant group, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, had been almost vanquished, and there would be no point for New Delhi to talk to the 100 odd local cadres of various outfits left in the state. “If Salahuddin (Hizb chief and United Jehad Council chairman based across the LoC) wants to come and talk, he is welcome if he gives up violence. We are not saying no to anybody. He has to come here and talk. Nobody is going there to talk to him,” reports from New Delhi quoted Pillai as saying. Asked why the government was reluctant to take militant leaders onboard the peace process, Pillai said: 'There are less than a hundred local militants (in Kashmir). Nobody would even talk to them. They don't represent anybody.' 'Militancy is down in Kashmir, every day you must be reading reports that some militant leader or the other has been killed. I think the Hizbul Mujahideen has literally, almost, been wiped out, especially the Pakistan element of it has been wiped out,' Pillai said. Pillai said that the threat of the revival of militancy remained even as the forces maintained a tough vigil across the border with Pakistan. 'The threat is there. There are still people in the valley. There are hundreds of people still across (in Pakistani Kashmir) who want to come as the snow has started melting and it becomes easier for them to cross over. I am sure some will cross. We have to be vigilant, we have no option,' he said. Pillai said that militant groups had not been able to recruit fresh Kashmiri youth in recent times, and this had also helped in curbing militancy in the state. 'The recruitment of local militants is much less now. They are not effective that much.' Pillai said the scheme to “grant amnesty to Kashmiri militants in Pakistan who want to surrender and return home” would take off soon. 'We have announced the scheme for those who are across and want to come over and take amnesty. The scheme has been announced, and in the next few months you will see lots of Kashmiris who had gone to that side will start coming,' he said. The state government had last year persuaded the centre to formulate what rulers in Kashmir prefer to call a “rehabilitation policy” for local youth who had gone across the LoC for arms training since the nineties and now wanted to return home for peaceful lives. The idea was first formally mooted by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s PDP after it came to power for three years in 2002, having earlier been taken up by state leaders like the CPI(M) legislator Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami. It had, apparently, been a result of sustained efforts by families back in the valley whose sons across the LoC had conveyed their need to return from the conditions they faced.