The home ministry has decided to get Jammu & Kashmir police to post its personnel at the Indo-Nepal border to escort surrendering militants back to the state, a move aimed at ensuring that returning militants are not booked on terror charges by policemen on the prowl.
The decision to incorporate this rule was taken by home secretary RK Singh at a meeting that also discussed the move to transfer Liyaqat Shah's case to the National Investigation Agency.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had on Monday announced his decision to accept Abdullah's request for a NIA probe. No formal orders, however, have been issued till late in the evening.
"While steps are being taken to deal with the present situation, it was felt there was a need to explicitly lay down standard operating procedures that need to be followed and plug the gaps," a government official said.
Nearly 240 ex-militants - who had crossed the border into Pakistan in their youth to receive arms training - have returned to J&K over the last few years under the new surrender policy initiated by J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.
All of them came through Nepal.
The decision to have a laid-down standard operating procedure was taken after Delhi Police arrested Liyaqat Shah soon after he entered India, alleging that he was on his way to the capital for a terror strike. They also claimed to have recovered an AK-47 at his instance from a guest house.
Under the new system, J&K policemen would be posted at designated check-posts on the Indo-Nepal border to be used by the surrendering militants who would verify their identity and escort them to J&K.
The home ministry had asked J&K police to post their men in 2011-12 also but the state police had then refused to take up the offer citing shortage of manpower. This time, they won't have a problem. The Liyaqat controversy has demonstrated how one mistake had the potential to wipe out the goodwill earned due to the return of the 240 militants.