Kashmir IGP appeals to footballer-turned-militant, other local ultras to surrender

Srinagar, Nov 16: Accepting that more youth have joined militant ranks during past four months, a top police officer on Thursday appealed to footballer-turned-militant Majid Irshad Khan and other locals ultras to surrender and once again join the mainstream.
He said that militants, even during encounters, can come forward and surrender.
“We have time and again appealed to local militants to surrender. We will help them to rehabilitate and join mainstream. It is our sincere endeavor to ensure that these misguided youth shun violence and join their families” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muneer Khan, flanked by senior Army and CRPF officers, told a press conference.
Talking about the driving force behind youth joining militancy in Kashmir, he said a relentless social media campaign is being run by Pakistan to lure local youth. “Mostly the youth, who are college dropouts, except for the few, are lured into joining militancy. Other reason is religious exploitation. Youth are exploited into joining militancy,” he said.
The IGP said the age group which is targeted is 15 to 25 as this is the stage of life when people could be easily manipulated.
Asked whether sports persons joining militants is a cause of concern, Khan said everyone is interested in other activity besides his or her profession so let them not highlight this. “Majid has become a militant and we are trying to bring him back to the mainstream. His family members are making an all out effort to bring him back and it is our job to second their efforts.”
He said it is not just about Majid, the authorities are committed to helping any misguided youth who want to surrender and live a normal life. “I’m not just talking about Majid, but all the youth who have joined militancy. We will make every possible effort to rehabilitate them.”
The IGP said the government is very keen to develop a new surrender policy, which will effectively help the youth to join the mainstream and live a normal life. “The government has also sought our suggestion with respect to the new policy. We are compiling the data and putting up our points. It will not just address the issue of the militants who are in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and want to return. It will also have a roadmap about the militants who are in the valley and want to surrender,” he said.
Khan asserted that in the near future we will have a new rehabilitation policy.
On educated youth joining militancy, the IGP said he would put this question to one of the three militants, who were arrested in Kulgam district during an operation since Tuesday.
One of the arrested militants — Shamsul Viqar — had gone to one of the premier educational institutes of the valley and was pursuing his studies in Central University of Kashmir before joining LeT in May this year. “I will ask Shamsul Viqar what was the reason for joining militancy and I will come back to you. This is for the first time that such a militant has been arrested. So we will ask him what compelled him to join militant ranks,” he added.
Refuting the number of 41 youth joining militant ranks in the last four months, he said the figure does not take into consideration the youth who were stopped from joining militancy and handed over to their families after counselling and the ones who were arrested, including in Kupwara district.
“15 to 17 youth have joined militancy in the last four months,” he added. (UNI)