Jammu: After over two decades of violence and militancy, the Jammu and Kashmir government has finally rolled out its controversial rehabilitation policy for terrorists who crossed over and went to Pakistan for arms training starting 1989.
The parents of one such terrorist Lal Din and his wife Saira have waited for the past nine years for their son to return home. Khursheed Aslam was 15 years old when he crossed over to Pakistan in 2001 to join the ranks of the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Now with the Jammu and Kashmir government rolling out a policy for the return of youth like Aslam from Pakistan, Din and Saira are hoping to be reunited with their boy.
"When we will see our son with our own eyes, even if the government puts him behind bars, we will be truly thankful to them," says Lal Din.
The state's new policy is expected to target over 3000 Kashmiri youths who are currently based in Pakistan. As per the draft, those willing to return and give up arms will first have to apply to the Superintendent of Police of the area where they were residing before crossing over.
Once intelligence agencies grant them clearance, their files will be sent to the Home Department for a final order. Once cleared, the former terrorists will be permitted to cross from Wagah, Attari, Uri, Chakka Da Bagh and possibly even the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The men will have to undergo counseling at a residential centre for three months, before reuniting with their families.
"In this plan national security, integrity and other security concerns have been well considered. It is for rehabilitation of those who are in PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) who want to lead a peaceful life," says J&K Law and Parliamentary Minister Ali Mohamamd Sagar.
The policy is seeing adverse reactions from the BJP and even from the Congress. There are also security apprehensions to it. But even as it looks good on paper for now, will it be as effective in practice?