Opening a small window of hope for the return of Kashmiris who had crossed the border to train as militants in the 1990s, the Centre has agreed to examine the possibility of a policy to enable such “misguided” youth to come back and start life afresh.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has promised to examine Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s suggestions at Sunday’s CMs’ conference to finalise a policy on the return of young men from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
On Monday, home ministry officials said the consultative process to work out the broad contours of the surrender and rehabilitation policy would be initiated shortly.
Nearly 800 such Kashmiri men are still believed to be living in PoK; many of them have married local girls and settled down.
Fayaz Ahmed of Baramulla in North Kashmir was one of them. He travelled to PoK to train for the armed struggle to win independence for Kashmir but was disillusioned soon after. Last year, he wrote to his father about the miserable conditions that he lived in and pleaded with him to approach the government to facilitate his safe return.
Another young man from Doda district, Amjad, wrote a similar letter to his father Abdul Ghani. A Jammu & Kashmir government official said they had been receiving representations from parents of the youth seeking a relaxation in rules to facilitate their return.
Former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was one of the earliest proponents of the exemption — but he also wanted safe passage as well.
Security agencies had promptly shot down the proposal. There was no way for border guards to tell what the infiltrators intention was: To kill innocents or to start life afresh. And any system to enable advance verification of their antecedents would require active cooperation from Islamabad.