The police on Sunday said that gun-wielding boys willing to quit militancy can now contact their families, return and start their lives afresh and that they “don’t need to necessarily surrender before the police.”
Calling its “new” policy as “no surrender, no apprehension”, a senior police officer said that it was aimed to ensure “return of maximum youth who have picked up arms in the recent past.”
“This is an offer only for our local boys,” additional director general of police, Muneer Khan, told Greater Kashmir.
“We will automatically come to about every youth who returns to his home and will remove his name from the list of active militants,” he said, while divulging the details of the “new policy.”
Khan said that the new offer is to ensure that there is “no security threat, harassment, fear or the fear of reprisal” among local militants “who wish to join their families again and start their lives afresh.”
The police called the new policy as “softening of surrender rules” which coincides with the fact that the police are framing a new surrender policy for militants.
“The policy is still in its infancy,” a source in the police said.
The police however made it clear that “no surrender, no apprehension” policy will not be applicable to militants who have “serious cases” against them.
“If a militant who surrenders has a case under section 302 (murder) against him, he will have to face the law. This should be clear,” the ADGP Khan said.
Asked about the police efforts of persuading local boys to return, the ADGP said that the police are “very serious about bringing the local youth who have picked up arms, back to their families.”
“We don’t want our youth to get killed in encounters,” he said.
So far, the police claim that at least 10 youth who had joined militancy have returned to their homes, including a young footballer from Anantnag district, Majid Khan.
Asked about its modus-operandi of approaching young militants to ask them to quit militancy, Khan said that the police have a “vast network to carry out these kinds of tasks.”
“There are two categories of militants who are on our radar. Those who have joined militancy but haven’t picked up arms yet, and those who have picked up weapons and are involved in some offences,” he said.
Khan said that police get in touch with “the friend circle” of the first category of youth to find out why they joined the militant ranks.
“In most of the cases, we found that some youth were drug addicts, some were not ready to study further after class 10 or after doing their graduation. A few have chosen this path by choice, no doubt,” he said. “We find out weak links of these youth and after zeroing in on the exact reason that pushes them to militancy, we approach their families and help them to persuade their children to return.”
In some cases, the Kashmir police chief said, “we succeed but in some, we didn’t.”
“As for the second category of youth is concerned, things are clear. Doors of surrender are open for them, but I repeat a militant with a serious offence has to face the law,” he said.