The PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have dragged its feet from the crucial rehabilitation policy for the youth willing to return from Pakistan administered Kashmir. The present dispensation's stand on the policy introduced by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has come to the fore after a Kupwara man tried to return home after 23 years only to be arrested at India-Nepal border.
Some 350 youth, who had crossed over to other side of LoC in early 90s but had given up arms, returned under the policy in UPA government's tenure.
"I have no idea about the fate of the previous government's policy. Is it intact or not, I will have to check," said Education Minister and the Chief Spokesman of the PDP-BJP government, Naeem Akhter.
However, PDP leader and Minister of State for Industries and Commerce, Muhammad Ashraf Mir, said the present government has kept the policy in abeyance. "Our focus is to create job opportunities for youth. We want to prevent a situation wherein a youth would think of crossing over to the other side," Mir told Greater Kashmir.
Majority of the youth who had returned from PaK in previous government's tenure hailed from North Kashmir's Kupwara and Baramulla districts.
"Police and other investigating agencies would first go for the verification of youth who were willing to return. Some youth had returned under this policy," said Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) North Kashmir, Gareeb Das.
On the return of Kupwara youth Peer Rehmatullah, who was detained at the India-Nepal border, he said: "So far nobody has approached us about him. If somebody approaches us, we will look into his case and share details. We have no information as to why he is under detention for so long."
"The return of youth from PaK is subject to verification. We keep them under surveillance for some time and if nothing goes against them, they are free to live a happy life," the DIG said.
According to his family members, Peer, a resident of Guzryal, Kupwara, is in a police station in Bihar for the past two months. He had crossed over to other side in 1990 when he was only 16. He was returning along with his wife. Peer's family came to know about his return when CIK sleuths visited their house and inquired about their son.
National Conference leader and former Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, urged Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to take up the issue with the Centre and to facilitate the return of youth willing to come back to their homes to live a normal life. "It is very unfortunate that on one hand Mufti-led government talks about bringing the youth into mainstream and on the other they have blocked the ways for those who want to live a peaceful life," said Wani.
"This policy was purely for those who have never been involved in any subversive activities." Wani said now when these youth want to return to their homes, 'PDP-BJP government puts them behind bars at the Nepal border, pushing them to the wall.'