Majid Arshid, the footballer-turned militant, being presented before the media during a joint press conference in Pulwama district
Majid Arshid, the footballer-turned militant, being presented before the media during a joint press conference in Pulwama district | PTI phtoto
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There is indication of a new surrender policy for militants which takes the help of their families, a departure from the earlier policy of the J&K govt to “neutralise” every single militant.

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir police’s decision not to press charges against a 20-year-old footballer-turned-militant who surrendered recently has indicated the PDP-BJP government’s softening stand towards militants.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said that her government was committed to the rehabilitation of “these young boys”.

In May this year, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had said on OFf The Cuff that the government would “neutralise” every single militant in the Valley and that it does not distinguish between an “Indian militant and a foreign militant”.

The change in the state government’s approach comes soon after Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma concluded his first visit to the Valley.

“They are our own boys and we must give them a chance. We have been making pleas to them through the media and the chief minister has also appealed that they must come back and shun the violent path However, we will have no mercy for foreign militants,” director general of J&K police Shesh Paul Vaid told ThePrint.

The youth, Majid Khan, gave up arms after his mother’s video pleading him to return home went viral on social media. Another boy from Kulgam, South Kashmir, followed in his footsteps and returned home Monday.

The state government has initiated a programme under which, families and relatives of the local youths, who have joined militant groups, are told to convince the boys to return home. “We are getting a good response because no family wants its near and dear ones getting killed. They are misguided and we welcome them,” Vaid added.

There are around 100 local militants active on ground at the moment, Vaid said.

Expressing satisfaction at the government’s initiative, interlocutor Sharma said that “more needs to be done”. “I do not believe in soft or hard policy, but what needs to be done is bringing back peace in the Valley. It is nothing, more needs to be done,” he added.

Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was appointed the Centre’s special representative for Kashmir in October. He visited the Valley for five days in the first week of November and held talks with a range of people but the separatist Hurriyat boycotted the process.

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