The government of northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has sought an urgent clearance of a proposal to the Centre for rehabilitating nearly 20,000 former militants who have been without any income after serving their jail sentences.
The reason -- they become easy fodder for anti-national elements -- as is evident from the recent arrest of three youths in Jawahar Nagar in the city who were running the back-end office for Masarat Alam, an active member of hardline
Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Mohammed Sadiq Lone, a 35-year-old man, was arrested along with two others and what came out of his interrogation was disturbing for the police officers.
Lone had become a spokesman for Alam, now absconding, and used to take instructions from alleged Pakistan-based ISI handlers of the Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani and issue
press statements and coordinate with stone-pelters in various areas to enforce strikes and bandhs, officials claimed.
An expert in computers, Lone, a former Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, came out of jail last year after serving a seven-year prison term. He applied for jobs and finally got selected
in the police force.
He cleared the physical and written test but was not selected because of his negative verification. With a widow mother and three sisters to look after, Lone approached Alam
whom he had met in jail. He promptly offered him the job with Rs 5,000 per month as salary.
Today he was not only successfully running his campaign but also bombarding social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and others with secessionist messages.
The state government has been regularly writing to the Centre for an employment package for these youths whose number is between 20,000 to 25,000, officials said.
"If there can be an employment scheme for surrendered militants, then why not for these ex-militants who are otherwise ready fodder for people like Masarat Alam," a senior state government official said.
A proposal for their rehabilitation was pending before the Centre whereby it was advised that they should be trained in various fields under a special programme and later absorbed
in different Public Sector Undertakings.
Lone, a resident of Kreeri in North Kashmir, was arrested along with Musaib Alataf Mir and Rayees Ahmed Bhat and police seized computers, mobile phones and laptops from them. The other two were paid Rs 3,000 per month.