Rehabilitation policy goes awry
Youth Choose Own Routes; Children Denied Admission In Schools
Srinagar, Oct 18: The much-hyped rehabilitation policy is deviating from what the State and Government of India had proposed in 2010 to ensure smooth return of Kashmiri youth from Pakistan and its administered part of Kashmir.
As many as 117 youth have returned from PaK, some along with their families, under the policy to live a normal life back home.
According to the policy framed in September 2010, it is intended to facilitate the return of former militants who belong to J&K and had crossed over to PaK and Pakistan for arms training.
“The policy is meant for the youth who gave up the idea of picking up arms due to change of heart and are willing to return. The policy will be applicable to those who went to PaK or Pakistan between January 1, 1989 and December 31, 2009,” the policy document reads.
“The youth allowed to return under the policy would be permitted to enter only through Wagah, Salamabad or Cakan-da Bagh crossings. The youth can also return from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi,” the document reads.
However, a senior official in the State Home Department, wishing not to be named, said not a single youth has chosen these routes for their home coming. “All 117 youth who returned have come from Nepal route,” he said.
The policy also states that after completing the formalities at the crossing points, the returnees and their relatives will be escorted to the State and their respective districts. “Nothing of this sort is taking place on ground,” the official said. “When these youth don’t come through the routes identified, how can they be escorted?”
As per the policy, the wives and children of the persons who return from PaK or Pakistan will be considered for entry into the country. “Necessary certificates will be issued to them,” the policy states. However, on ground no certificate has been provided to any of these and instead their Pakistani passports have been seized by the concerned police stations.
The government has also failed to set up counseling centers for these youth. As per the rehabilitation policy, the youth along with their wives and children would be lodged for a period of three months or more in the counseling centers. “In the centers, they will be briefed, interviewed and their necessary documentation would be prepared,” the policy reads.
The policy, however, makes it clear that the return of youth should not be misconstrued as a “general amnesty.”
“The youth who return under the policy will not be entitled to any of the special benefits or privileges,” the policy states. The government has also claimed that these youth will be provided with training in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) or other training institutions to ensure their “re-integration into the society.” The policy states that the government will monitor the conduct of these youth for a period of two years.
Those who have returned have termed the government claims and the policy as a complete lie. Tehmeena Rashid, a resident of Karachi, Pakistan, who came here along with her husband Javaid Rashid and two kids, Talha and Sara, on July 22, 2011, said: “It is true that we came from Nepal route as there was no other option. All those who have come back choose the same route.”
“We were subjected to many rounds of questioning by police and other agencies. We started feeling insecure from the day one. My Pakistani passport was seized by the police. My children are being denied admission in school on the pretext that they are Pakistani nationals,” she said.
She said her husband is not able to earn a living and is confined to farming, which doesn’t suit him due to ill health. “We can’t move out of the district before informing the concerned police station. We were much better in Pakistan,” she said.
Sources said all these 117 families have united to form a front to launch a campaign for their survival.
Meanwhile, a senior minister in the NC-Congress coalition, wishing not to be quoted by name, said it was not important wherefrom the youth were coming, “but the fact is they are coming and living a happy life. What else do they need, they are back home safely.”
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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