India considers offering temporary resettling to Kashmiri youth who give up arms

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India is considering to temporarily resettle Kashmiri militants in more peaceful parts of the country, according to a report by Reuters quoting top military commander in the Kashmir Valley.

Lieutenant General B.S. Raju revealed the plan for a new scheme to offer a way out of militancy during a telephone interview from his headquarters in Srinagar, Kashmir’s main city.

He told Reuters recommendations had been submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and that the plan, while not finalised, was in an advanced stage.

“These are young boys who need to be taken care of for a period of time,” Mr. Raju was quoted as saying by Reuters, adding that could involve temporarily settling them outside of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Past efforts to persuade fighters to put down their guns have had mixed success. But Mr. Raju said the military had recommended the scheme take a longer-term approach to rehabilitating ex-militants.

“The bottom-line is that it will have a structure that will help and give confidence to the people who are opting to surrender,” Mr. Raju said.

The military estimates that there are currently around 180 militants operating with various groups active in the valley, Mr. Raju said.

“We wish that this should drop further, and finally cease altogether,” Mr. Raju said.

Currently most surrenders are conducted in line with a 2004 policy that provides a lump sum payout of 150,000 Indian rupees ($2,000), a small monthly stipend, free vocational training and cash payments for weapons handed over.

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