Finally, J&K govt wakes up to woes of returnees | india | Hindustan Times
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Finally, J&K govt wakes up to woes of returnees

india Updated: Jun 07, 2013 19:04 IST
Toufiq Rashid

Following complains that children of former militants returning to Kashmir under the state government's rehabilitation policy are being denied admission in schools, chief minister Omar Abdullah has said the education department has been given orders to relax norms to make admissions possible.

The state government is also planning a nodal desk headed by a senior officer for redressal of problems faced by these families after their return to the Valley.

"We will soon have a nodal agency for the families returning under the rehabilitation policy. We will try to address all the problems faced by these people," Omar Abdullah told Hindustan Times.

"We have told the department of education that some norms should be relaxed and these children should be accommodated in schools. Whenever these cases come to us, we make sure children get admissions," he added.

The chief minister, however, said getting admissions in technical or professional colleges can be a problem. "The children can continue their studies but problem arises when some students who are pursuing professional degrees, like engineering or MBBS/BDS want to continue studies here. This is a real problem as we can't give admissions in professional colleges here, we have had cases but our hands are tied on that front," he added.

Around 233 men - 117 with families - have returned to Kashmir in the past one year after chief minister Abdullah announced the rehabilitation policy for militants. The returnees usually come home informally through Nepal and then by road to Kashmir, with the authorities going soft on the travellers.

Most militants had crossed to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir over for arms training but instead married local girls and shunned violence.

Families of former militants, who returned from PoK, have held protests demanding immediate rehabilitation on the line of what is being done in Punjab and the northeast. The families have blamed the government for "turning a blind eye" to a greater humanitarian issue - the educational and social rights of their children and spouses.

The families say their children are being denied admission in school, besides livelihood issues are also a major concern.

Omar Abdullah also said rehabilitation policy will continue and outside agencies are being informed about return of the former militants. "Except for one instances that is Liyaqat Shah, we have had no problem. A few days back three former militants were apprehended by UP police as they had not taken the accepted route,'' he said.

"The UP police, however, got in touch with us and the three were released,'' he added.

Liyaqat Shah was arrested by Delhi police on the charges of planning militant attack in Delhi.