Security forces' new appeal to Kashmir militants: Surrender and you will be safe, rehabilitated

For a long time, security forces in Kashmir have been implementing a "take no prisoners" policy.

But as the militants' death toll mounts after security forces launched a massive offensive to end the renewed face of insurgency in the Valley, that seems to be changing.

 Security forces new appeal to Kashmir militants: Surrender and you will be safe, rehabilitated

Representation image. PTI

To motivate militants to rejoin their families, the police is promising safety and a comprehensive rehabilitation policy.

Three militants were arrested by security force on Wednesday and produced before the media in Srinagar on Thursday morning.

Flanked by officers of Indian Army and the Central Reserve Police Force, Kashmir Police Chief Munir Khan said that one militant was severely injured in the fight, but the police took him to the hospital and saved his life.

The police expect this to have an impact on other militants and will reassure their families of the police's commitment towards rehabilitating militants who choose to surrender. “We are for saving lives,” Khan said.

Khan, addressing a press conference in Srinagar, said that the operation began on 14  November. He identified the arrested militants as Atta Mohammad Malik, Shams ul Wiqar and Bilal Sheikh. He said Malik was injured and recuperating in hospital.

Even though the army commander insisted that the relentless security operations would continue, it seemed that police and security agencies were under pressure to halt the recruitment of terrorists. These arrests seemed to be the first step in that direction.

Khan said the police desire that local militants, including footballer Majid Khan, who recently joined the militants, should return to their families. "We are willing to provide all kinds of help," Khan added.

Khan said militants were recruiting in high numbers in south Kashmir as the area had more local militants and they wielded a lot of influence.

However, Khan said he hoped that when the relatives of militants read reports about these arrests, they'd realise that security agencies were genuinely trying to save lives.

The police was also cautious, strongly urging the media not to confuse the arrests made on Wednesday with militants surrendering.

Khan said the arrested militants, including Malik, who was shot during an encounter in Haalan-Kund in south Kashmir’s Qazigund area, Kulgam district, recently published pictures on social media and dared security forces to act against them.

Khan said that the state government was keen to have a comprehensive new surrender policy which would be effective. He added that they have asked for suggestions, and said that the list was being compiled.

“This isn't only about militants who cross the Line of Control, but militants who are here and want to return to their families. We will forward our recommendations to the state government. Soon, a surrender policy will be put in place," Khan added.

In the past, the Jammu and Kashmir government announced two rehabilitation policies for former militants.

The first rehabilitation policy, launched in 2004, was for those militants living in Jammu and Kashmir, while the second, which was launched in 2010, focused on former militants from Kashmir living in Pakistan and who desired to return to the Valley. Perhaps that's the reason why, these days, very few militants surrender.

Sources said the state government has been mulling a third policy: For those who have joined the militancy only recently and who wish to return to their families and join the mainstream.

The Home Ministry constituted a committee which is investigating why, even if a militant surrendered, they are excluded from society and are denied everything from the right to apply for a government job to a passport to fly abroad.

Khan added that Pakistan was using social media to recruit militants in Kashmir.

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Updated Date: Nov 16, 2017 15:18:44 IST