Agencies reject Nepal route for return of ex-militantshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/agencies-reject-nepal-route-for-return-of-exmilitants/

Agencies reject Nepal route for return of ex-militants

Intelligence agencies are believed to have given an adverse report to the Ministry of Home Affairs

Intelligence agencies are believed to have given an adverse report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on making the Nepal route an official one for the return of surrendered militants from Jammu and Kashmir now settled in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). A senior official involved with the procedures being put in place to facilitate the surrender of militants said making the Nepal route official would expose the Indian Embassy as well as the consulate office in Nepal to various risks or attacks.

In wake of the controversy over the arrest of Liyaqat Ali Shah by the Delhi Police on March 22 this year,the MHA had decided to make the Nepal route a designated one since many militants from J&K were returning through this route unofficially for over a year. Shah,a former Hizbul Mujahideen militant,was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police at the Sanauli checkpost on the Nepal border with the police alleging that he was on his way to Delhi to carry out fidayeen strikes ahead of Holi. The J&K Police however claimed that he was coming back to surrender and that his wife had already applied to the authorities for his return. None of the militants under the J&K government’s surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy have returned through the official routes.

“If the Nepal route is declared as official,then all sorts of people will start coming to the embassy office and the Consulate General’s office in Birgunj. As the procedure involves a lot of paper work they would be getting access to our offices. We do not want this to happen as it would expose them to unseen risk situations,” said a senior official.

The MHA and the J&K government are jointly formulating a standard operating procedure (SOP) over the return of former militants via the Nepal route. Four existing entry points — Poonch-Rawalakote and Uri-Muzaffarabad along the LoC,the Wagah checkpost and Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi — have been designated for the return of former militants.

“The J&K Police have been asked to run background checks on the people willing to return but what about those accompanying them? Those willing to return are usually accompanied by four or five family members,including women and teenagers. There is no check on the youngsters,they were not born here and are not Indians. How will the local police ensure their background check?” asked another official.