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Home » ‘Life of militants after giving up arms’; J&K govt plans rehabilitation scheme

‘Life of militants after giving up arms’; J&K govt plans rehabilitation scheme

Ground Report | New Delhi: Surrender policy in Jammu Kashmir; Over two decades after he gave up arms, Majeed (Changed name), then a member of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), is still facing the discrimination and the backlash of joining the militancy in Jammu & Kashmir. At a time when the situation remains tense in the valley, Majeed opines that the life of a surrendered militant is “hell after they give up guns.”

“I have struggled for years after I was released from prison. Life of militants is hell after they give up guns,” Majeed told Groundreport.In.

He was just 17-year-old when he picked up the Kalashnikov in the valley and joined the banned JeM. Trained in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Majeed was asked, “to kill people in Kashmir.” He was caught in 1999 and sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

Majeed served his sentence in several prisons, including Srinagar’s central jail. “Torture, interrogation, amid lack of rehabilitation and basic medical facilities, turned life into a nightmare,” he adds. “Our food would contain husk and sandy stones. We had no recreational facilities like sports, counseling or anything that could keep us busy,” said Majeed.

Years later when he returned to the mainstream he was turned away.

‘Family, society showed their backs’

Majeed’s parents refused to take him in, he was socially outcast and no one wanted to give him their daughter to marry. He failed to receive any form of education or jobs due to his criminal record. “For us, the comeback is daunting. We suffer and are caught in limbo between our past and present,” Majeed says.

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“There was no job, no financial security to lead a good life. The state government has been repeatedly promising jobs and compensation to surrendered militants in Kashmir. But no results could be seen on the ground,” Majeed said.

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Govt initiatives

In 2010, the state government under Omar Abdullah ordered a policy change for returning of militants who had crossed over to Pakistan but wanted to give up arms and join the mainstream. The rehabilitation policy was meant for only those militants who had crossed over between January 1, 1989, and December 31, 2009.

The Jammu and Kashmir government is now considering a new policy to encourage militants from the state to give up arms, by providing them with a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 among other benefits. K Vijay Kumar, advisor to the J&K government said the policy draft “is presently at the pre-SAC stage” and is subject to clearance by the state Home Department and the chief secretary.

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According to the draft, the new policy details the need for rehabilitation through a two-pronged approach including reformative measures and opportunities of livelihood. However, this initiative will not cover militants found to have been involved in “heinous crimes”.

The proposed scheme is a revised version of earlier initiatives, but with a fresh focus on socio-economic re-integration. Former Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police K Rajendra said that it is essential for the government to show its will to reach out to alienated youth.

“The successful implementation of a surrender policy is of utmost importance in Jammu and Kashmir as there are a large number of surrendered or released militants,” he said. “The successful rehabilitation of one hardcore surrendered or released militant will motivate others to follow suit.”

The officials, however, did not respond to questions raised over the claims made by Majeed.

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