The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mufti taps Delhi on job sops to militants

Jammu, Dec. 9: A team of Union home ministry officials and the Jammu and Kashmir government today agreed to offer greater incentives to rebels to give up arms so that the local content is completely removed from militancy.

The Central team led by special secretary, home, Ashok Bhandari agreed at a meeting with chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that the current surrender policy for the rebels was not encouraging enough.

“There should be a clear policy on their rehabilitation after they have surrendered,” Sayeed reportedly told the team.

Sources said the chief minister asked for total help from the Centre in getting jobs for the surrendered militants.

“Their jobs should be such that they can protect themselves and also ensure that their families are safe in their post-surrender period,” Sayeed said.

That can happen only if, the chief minister argued, they get jobs in the paramilitary forces and are kept at places where they are immune to the recurring influences of militancy. “That should happen sooner than later,” said Sayeed.

The sources added that there was a wide agreement on the issue and that the Union government may accept the state’s request to absorb surrendered militants in the paramilitary.

The issue of setting up a screening committee to decide on the militants who should be released and the criteria that should be adopted to do so was also discussed. The home ministry team said there needs to be further discussion on the issue as it required the approval of deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who is also in charge of home.

The chief minister made it clear at a rally of border migrants at Vijaypur, a township about 30 km south-west of Jammu and close to the border, that he would not allow his “healing touch” policy to be derailed by any means.

“We will continue with this policy and overcome all the obstacles that come our way,” he said.

Sayeed sought “wholehearted” support from the Centre in tackling the Kashmir situation and added that there was “no room” for misunderstanding between Delhi and Srinagar.

“The Centre appreciates the ground realities. All the parties should rise above partisan politics and extend a helping hand in meeting the manifold challenges before the state,” Sayeed told the rally.

He added that he expected “straight forwardness” in the Centre’s approach to the problem.

“We have a mission to steer the state out of bloodshed....And this can be done by winning the hearts of the people.”

The recent attacks on temples here were an attempt to derail the peace process but “we won’t be deterred from our resolve”, said Sayeed.

Without naming Pakistan, he also cautioned the people against attempts by the “enemy” to sabotage peace initiatives. “We will not allow them to succeed and pursue our agenda of peace with dignity, relentlessly.”

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