India "welcomes" PoK youth wishing to return

Centre picks Omar Abdullah's cue on surrender policy, says youth wishing to return "welcome"

PTI | February 11, 2010



The Centre, on Saturday, expressed readiness to facilitate return of all Kashmiri youths who had gone to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and now wish to come back denouncing militancy.

"Those Indians who had crossed over to PoK and now wish to return to India are certainly welcome," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

He was responding to Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah's proposal that a new surrender and rehabilitation policy should be formulated for such youths.

Abdullah had said that the state government was "actively considering" such a policy to encourage "more militants to return to the state and manage their transition to civilian life."

After a meeting of the union Cabinet, Chidambaram said, "PoK is actually an Indian territory and we should facilitate their return."

Following Omar's statement at the conference of chief ministers on internal security here on Sunday, the Centre was contemplating formulating the new rehabilitation policy in consultation with the state government which may include a general amnesty.

The formulation of the surrender policy for nearly 800 youths willing to return from PoK and join the mainstream came after several feelers were received by the state government about their pathetic condition.

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