News / Asia

Ex-militants Allege Broken Promises in Indian Kashmir

Ex-Militants Allege Broken Promises in Indian-Kashmiri
X
September 04, 2013 4:55 PM
Former militants who spent years in Pakistan are returning to their homes in Indian-controlled Kashmir as part of a rehabilitation program initiated by the local government. Indian officials say hundreds of people have crossed back into Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistan. But many of the men say authorities are not keeping their promises. VOA New Delhi correspondent Aru Pande has more on the challenges the former militants are facing in Srinagar.
Ex-Militants Allege Broken Promises in Indian-Kashmir
Aru Pande
Deception, fraud, and dishonesty. Those are the words that Dawood Ahmad uses to sum up a local government rehabilitation policy that allowed him to return home to Indian-controlled Kashmir after spending 22 years in Pakistan.

“The promises they [the government] made that we can come and get rehabilitation here - we haven’t gotten anything,” Ahmad said while holding his young daughter. “We haven’t even been able to get our kids admitted into schools.  My oldest son still has not gotten into school.”

In 1990, a then 15-year-old Ahmad crossed into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at the start of the armed insurgency. He said he spent one month in a Pakistani training camp before he went to live with his uncle in the city of Rawalpindi.  There, he married, had children and ran his own shop.

After hearing about the new policy, Ahmad said he returned to Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main town of Srinagar last year in order to see his mother and start a new life in his homeland.  It’s a decision he said he regrets after repeatedly being questioned by Indian authorities and his wife not being allowed to visit her ailing mother in Pakistan.

“No one accepts us, we don’t get a card to vote in the elections,” Ahmad said.  “People say we are here illegally.”

Rehabilitation

Authorities said at least 300 people have crossed back into Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistan as part of the rehabilitation program.

Indian-controlled Kashmir’s chief minister, Omar Abdullah, announced the policy in 2010 to allow militants who allegedly trained in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to return home through Nepal.  Government officials said this is the only route former militants can take since Islamabad is not involved in the process and has consistently denied it has provided help to militants fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The chief minister’s political secretary, Tanvir Sadiq, said the government wants to extend its hands to former militants so they can regain their lives and not be tempted to take up arms again.

“They were misguided. They went to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and then they wanted to return back because they felt the gun is not the solution. And at times when you are misguided, you do not know what to do,” Sadiq says. “We wanted to provide them with a platform, a way to come back to their homes and be with their families.”

Sadiq concedes there have been issues with implementing the new policy, but that problems with school admission are being worked out.  He emphasizes that while the men are promised help, such as loans, they are not guaranteed employment.

Abdullah’s political secretary said the chief minister is committed to the policy, even speaking out on behalf of former militant Liyaqat Ali Shah, who was detained and later released by New Delhi police in March.

Chief Minister Abdullah said Shah had returned to India to surrender and take part in the rehabilitation policy.  He disputed Delhi police claims that Shah was planning a terrorist attack, telling Kashmiri lawmakers in a strongly worded speech, “if a man comes to attack a shopping mall, will he come with his wife and child … as if he were going on a picnic?”

Peace process

Former militant Ahsanul Haq has been working in his brother’s shoe store in Srinagar for the last year, after spending 23 years in Pakistan.

He said he left Indian-controlled Kashmir at the age of 30 after India failed to keep its word to allow Kashmiris self-determination. Haq said both India and Pakistan have failed to keep their promises for peace, leaving people to suffer on both sides of the Line of Control.

“The son may be here [on the Indian side], the father may be there [in Pakistan].  This is all the same place, it just happens to be divided into two. We want the end of this dividing line," Haq said as he sits behind the counter of the shoe store.

Haq points to the recent deadly cross-border violence in which Pakistani and Indian forces accused each other of violating the cease-fire. He says innocent civilians on either of the border were killed.

“If India and Pakistan opened a dialogue to improve relations and resolved their issues, then Kashmir will benefit and both countries will benefit,” the former militant said.

Haq and Ahmad both said they wish they had not returned to their birthplace and instead could go back to their lives in Pakistan.

Despite their sentiment, more than 1,000 others in Pakistan have applied for the rehabilitation program in hopes of returning home to Indian-controlled Kashmir.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid