Security experts suggest changes in surrender policy for local militants

Top security experts in Jammu and Kashmir have advocated a few changes in the new draft of a surrender policy so that it becomes attractive for the militants willing to shun militancy.

The experts believe the primary focus of the policy needs to be on the rehabilitation front so that the youth who return to the mainstream live a “secure and happy life.”

The draft policy titled “Reintegration Policy for the Misguided Youth” was prepared by the National Security Council earlier this year primarily to prevent recruitment of Kashmiri youth into militancy.

The draft policy that was under discussion within the security grid of Kashmir entailed amnesty from prosecution for local militants who surrender. Also, if a surrendered militant gets a government job, he wouldn’t be disqualified because of his past.

The policy had also suggested subsidized education for the children of surrendered militants in an institution of their choice in J&K or other parts of the country.

A security expert revealed that of the 23 youth who had joined militancy so far this year, three “returned” and five had been killed. He said 30 youth each had picked up arms in 2017 and 2018 during this period.

“This year the recruitment has been low. And now that the youth have started returning, there is a need for a comprehensive policy,” he said.

“Even though the NSC has worked out a good model, certain changes need to be made in the policy so that more and more militants surrender.  We plan recommending a few changes in the new draft before it is rolled out formally,” he said.

He said rehabilitation package should entail a proper plan for his survival and livelihood so that he marries off and lives a happy life, the expert said on the condition of anonymity.

“There has to be a skill development plan for the youths who are not so qualified so that they have a livelihood,” he added.

A top police officer said they were expecting more surrenders to take place and though local recruitment has decreased, they won’t “leave anything to chance” in the summer months.

After finalizing the changes, the draft would be discussed with the Governor S P Malik before it is sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and NSC for approval.

“This all is possible only after the Lok Sabha poll results are out and the new government takes the charge. But a policy that promises more rehabilitation and security of the youth is need of the hour,” the police officer said.

He said the surrender policy is meant purely for local youths willing to shun militancy. It is, he said, different from the one drafted in 2010 for the militants who want to return home from Pakistan administered Kashmir.