The Union home ministry’s fears of disgruntled Pakistani elements causing harm to PoK-based Kashmiri youth, who had originally crossed over to join militancy but now want to return to their families in Jammu and Kashmir under Omar Abdullah’s return and rehabilitation policy, appear to be coming true.
There are complaints from the kin of Kashmiris, who have applied under the scheme, about their missing status in PoK under suspicious circumstances.
“Some of the families of applicants, who have either applied or been cleared for return to J&K, have approached the local administration about their missing status,” said a J&K-based intelligence official. The Indian security agencies are worried over the unexplained disappearance of the PoK-based Kashmiris.
They fear that the Pakistani elements opposed to the state government’s peace initiative may be working to derail the scheme by targetting the applicants.
As it is, the Unionhome ministry has reservations over the lack of clarity on the procedure to be followed for issue of travel permits to Kashmiris cleared for return and their actual travel. According to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the MHA had recently called for a fresh round of consultations with the ministry of external affairs to discuss the practical difficulties in implementation of the policy.
The disappearance of some of the youth wanting to avail of the scheme is the latest in a series of roadblock that have stalled the implementation of the state government’s return and rehabilitation policy. A Constitution Bench is also set hear the petition filed by J&K National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh challenging the policy.
The Union Home Ministry request for a fresh round of consultations with the MEA came after Chidambaram insisted on sorting out the practical issues in handing over travel documents to applicants keen on return to J&K. He was concerned over the possible threat that the applicants could face from Pakistani elements opposed to the initiative.
Though the MEA and the Indian High Commission inPakistan are tasked with coordinating the issue of travel permits to Kashmiris seeking to return home, the MHA has sought clarity on whether the list of militants cleared for return would be shared with the Pakistani authorities and if this could expose the applicants to any kind of threat from Pakistani critics of the policy or even terrorist outfits.
Besides, there are concerns over how the Indian High Commission officials in Pakistan would ensure that the travel permits are not handed over to the wrong person, who could well be a “real terrorist” taking advantage of an appearance similar to the applicant’s.
“There is a good chance that even the parents may fail to recognise their son after many years…so the risk of real militants eliminating the applicant and then masquerading as an innocent Kashmiri wanting to get home cannot be ruled out,” a senior official told ET. Economic Times