Former militant Liyaqat Shah, who reached his village in Kupwara on Sunday after being released on bail by a Delhi court, said poverty and misery were driving former militants return to the Valley.
"The people who went to Pakistan for training and did not return are living in pitiable conditions. While militants are working as labourers, their bosses move in cars worth lakhs of rupees," said Liyaqat.
According to him, militants are living in tents and have to brave harsh winters and summers. "Ameer kothiyon mein rahtey hain aur militants jalte hain tenton mein (Masters live in palatial houses and militants suffer in tents)," he added.
Liyaqat said the surrender policy of the state government was a welcome step for those who pine for their homeland. "Everybody wants to come back,'' he said.
He said crossing over through the Nepal route was a costly affair. "Taking the Nepal route costs Rs 3-4 lakh for a family which is difficult to arrange,'' he said.
Liyaqat appealed to the government to allow former militants enter through the cross-border routes such as Uri and Keran.
Liyaqat said he had left behind a well-established business as he was eager to return. "I had two shops. In fact, a lot of agencies there did not want me to leave for the fear of getting exposed here,'' he said.
He said former militants are lured to marry local girls by offering money. "Some people have been given Rs 50,000 for marrying local girls,'' he added.
Liyaqat also accused Delhi Police of framing him. "They wanted me to admit that the weapons recovered from old Delhi were for me,'' he said. He alleged that Delhi Police special cell had attempted to kill him in a fake encounter after his arrest on March 20 this year.
"Another night, they dragged me out and dumped me in a police vehicle. They kicked me hard and hid me under the seat. Some officers, including inspectors Sanjay Dutt, Rahul, and Dharmindar, sat on me. It was about 11.30pm and they drove to a deserted place. They then loaded their guns. I realised that I was being bumped off," Liyaqat said.
The former militant was, however, grateful to the media and political leadership, who supported him throughout.