Omar joins issue with Azad
Surrender Policy Row
Jammu, Feb 10: Day after senior Congress leader and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad censured Omar Abdullah’s call for amnesty and rehabilitation of Kashmiri militants in Pakistan, the chief minister Wednesday shot back saying the matter was beyond the health ministry’s purview.
Snubbing Azad, his predecessor, the chief minister said whether or not to give amnesty and rehabilitate the youth returning from Pakistan was for the central home ministry to decide.
“The proposal (regarding the new surrender policy) is being discussed by the state government with the Union Home Ministry and not the Union Health Ministry,” Omar, who heads the Congress-National Conference coalition government in the state, told reporters here.
Visibly upset over Azad’s diatribe against the surrender policy, the Chief Minister made it clear that the deliberations on the policy would continue despite objections from Azad.
Azad Tuesday rebuked the proposed surrender policy of the state government saying the initiative may end up as another way of encouraging infiltration. “The proposed move is not as easy as it seems, we can not trust either Pakistan or the youth who have gone across the border for arms training. Pakistan may use this opportunity to send militants to this side of border”, Azad had told media persons here Tuesday.
Omar, in his press conference today said before implementing the policy, the state government would, however, try to allay fears expressed by the union minister.
He said before any such policy is formulated and implemented pros and cons with regard to its misuse would be considered in detail. “No policy till date has been formulated and will be formulated without going into the details of its possible misuse,” he said.
Terming the proposed policy as the need of hour, the chief minister said, “We are already confronting the problem of youth coming to this side on fake identification through Kathmandu and Dhaka”.
“While some of these youth surrender after reaching home thus enabling the security forces and police to track their movements and activities, most of them go missing,” he said adding that the proposed policy would look into such aspects to “enable us channelise the youth, who have shunned the path of violence, back into the mainstream”.
When asked about the possibility of surrendered militants joining back militant ranks, the chief minister said that the economic rehabilitation was one of the most ingredient parts of the proposed policy. “We can not accept a person, with a tag of surrendered militant, to go back in the society and live a normal life”, he said while admitting that such youth are not getting government jobs especially in police and paramilitary forces.
During CMs’ conference on internal security in New Delhi Sunday, Omar had proposed formulating a new surrender policy for youth in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) willing to return back and live normal lives.
The idea to rehabilitate them on humanitarian basis was first floated in May 2006 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held the second roundtable conference on Kashmir in Srinagar. Azad was then heading the Congress-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coalition government in the state.
Manmohan Singh had listed this issue as one of the subjects to be looked into for addressing the internal dimension of the Kashmir issue, and at his press conference May 25, 2006, he had stated that talks would be held with Pakistan on this issue.
A working group headed by M Hamid Ansari, now vice-president, had recommended that the government should initiate talks with Pakistan to rehabilitate these youth.
(With inputs from IANS)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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