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Ex-militants in Kashmir feel betrayed

Monday September 17, 2012 09:28:37 PM, IANS

Srinagar: Back home and jobless, many Kashmiri militants who returned from Pakistan following appeals from the Jammu and Kashmir government said Monday they are in the lurch.

Dozens of locals who had gone over to Pakistan during the past 20 years to get trained in the use of weapons have returned to the Kashmir Valley.

This follows the government's promised rehabilitation policy for those who desire to return to normal lives.

Muhammad Lateef Pir, 45, who went to Pakistan in 1994, came back this year with his wife Saira, 30, from Karachi and their three-year-old son.

"I would earn around Rs.30,000 a month driving a taxi in Karachi. That would support my family well. I have made a grave mistake by returning," Pir moaned.

"I cannot drive a vehicle here because I do not have a valid driving licence. I have no identify, neither a voter ID card nor a state subject certificate or a ration card," he said.

"The police refuse to give me a character certificate so that I can find a job. Everybody I approach for help declines, asking what was I doing in Pakistan for so long," Pir added.

His wife Saira said she followed her husband who decided to return to his roots in the valley.

"My husband gave up weapons training in Pakistan. He lived a normal life there after marrying me. We were well settled in Pakistan," she said.

"Now I repent our decision. I am worried about the education of my son who is likely to suffer for no fault of his."

Eight others who had responded to the government's rehabilitation policy came to Press Enclave on Residency Road Monday to highlight their plight.

Syed Muneer, 42, who belonged to north Kashmir's Kupwara district, returned from Pakistan early this year.

"I decided to come back as everyone finally returns to his roots. I did not obtain any weapons training in Pakistan but worked honourably to earn a living. I worked in the town planning sector and earned a respectable living," Muneer said.

"Now I am finding myself in an unenviable position. I somehow managed to admit my child in a local school but the lack of a proper identity of his father would remain a hanging sword over my son's head," he said.

Although none of them wants to go back to Pakistan, they felt they have not been given a fair deal by the state government.

"There had been lot of publicity to the rehabilitation policy but we feel its only aim has been to leave our dear ones high and dry after their return," said Muneer's relative.

Many army and intelligence officials here believe that the rehabilitation policy should include those who voluntarily return to the valley from Pakistan besides former militants who helped security forces in the state.





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