With terrorism failing to scale down in Jammu and Kashmir, the central government is contemplating to re-introduce a surrender and rehabilitation policy for militants who shun violence and join the mainstream.
Highly placed sources said that the union home ministry was penning down the policy that was blocked by the BJP ministers in a meeting of the state cabinet presided by Mehbooba Mufti in March last year.
An indication of the proposed move was also given by Governor Satya Pal Malik at a function in Lucknow on Monday.
In the recent past, 2018 was the bloodiest year in J&K when 252 terrorists, 45 policemen, 5 CRPF personnel, and 30 Army soldiers were killed. Besides, 44 civilians were killed by terrorists during the year.
The high graph of casualties was reportedly worrying the centre whose development packages have failed to bring the situation under control.
The first surrender and rehabilitation policy for terrorists was introduced in 1995 when militancy was at its peak in the state. Thereafter, the financial incentives for terrorists who surrendered were hiked during the regime of Mufti Sayeed in 2004. However, the National Conference-Congress coalition government that succeeded had shelved the policy.
The PDP-BJP government that came to power in 2015 has been asking the centre to announce a fresh surrender and rehabilitation scheme for terrorists.
A few months ago, the centre had reportedly asked the PDP-BJP ruled J&K government to formulate the new surrender and rehabilitation policy to provide economic rehabilitation to militants who want to return to the mainstream.
It is worth mentioning that more than 200 Kashmiri youth had picked up the gun after the killing of the local terrorist ‘leader’ Burhan Wani in an encounter in 2016.
The BJP ministers in the cabinet of Mehbooba last year did not let her announce the new policy as she had proposed to grant Rs 6 lakh to each terrorist who surrenders, besides substantially hiking the reward for the arms and ammunition surrendered by terrorists.
Against the incentive of Rs 6 lakh proposed for terrorists, the state government is providing cash relief of Rs 5 lakh to innocent civilians killed by terrorists and also due to shelling by Pakistan troops.
What had generated criticism against the Mehbooba government was her proposal to pay a monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 out of the Rs 6 lakh fixed deposit to each surrendered terrorist, whereas there was no such scheme for the educated youth in the state.
The Mehbooba government had also proposed a payment of Rs 1 lakh for each AK rifle surrendered by terrorists against the previous amount of Rs 25,000. The incentive for the AK rifle in 2010 was Rs 15,000.