'Rehabilitate or send us back to PoK'

  • Rakib Altaf/HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
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  • Updated: Mar 26, 2013 23:00 IST

Former militants who returned from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir - many with wives and children - under a rehabilitation policy protested with their families in the capital on Tuesday, saying they had been let down by the state and central government.

More than 35 families which participated in the protest said they should be properly rehabilitated, like former militants in Punjab and northeastern states, or be allowed to go back to PoK. 

"I am finding it difficult to keep my family alive. There's been no financial help from the government. They have backtracked on all their promises made under the rehabilitation policy," said Dawood Ahmed. He returned home with a wife and four children.

The protesters said they had not been able to obtain ration cards. Moreover, they have not got state subject certificates, which are needed for government jobs and to buy immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Our relatives have been taking care of us for the last three months," said Manzoor Ahmed of Bandipora, who came back with a wife and daughter.

Amid difficulties in earning a living, the former militants are also hurt that their children are not being officially allowed to continue their studies.

About three years back, the state government had entered into an unwritten understanding with the Centre that any person who had joined militant ranks in 1990s and wished to return would be allowed to do so provided he surrendered before army or police in the Valley.

The protest has come in the wake of the arrest of Liyaqat Ali Shah by the Delhi Police, which claimed he is a Hizbul Mujahideen militant.


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