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J&K chief minister Mufti Sayeed for a "healing touch"

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said in Srinagar that a comprehensive plan for rehabilitating victims of militancy would be launched soon with the Centre’s help. Mufti spoke to mediapersons at Srinagar on November 12. 

Seeking cooperation from other parties, he said a "healing touch" was needed in Kashmir, not bullets or repression to "check alienation of the people," which caused militancy in Kashmir.

Mufti Sayeed added "to err is human, still accountability of security forces would be ensured." The thrust of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) adopted by the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, he said was on dialogue rather than confrontation.

To begin with, the government has increased the ex-gratia relief to civilians killed in anti-militancy drive from Rs 0.1 million ($2,000) to Rs 0.2 million ($4000) each. The next of kin of civilians killed in anti-militancy campaign would also have a claim to a government jobs under a special programme.

The release of top-ranking Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik on November 11, shows that Mufti Sayeed means what he says. "I was set free unconditionally," Malik said on his release.

Malik was arrested on March 25 on charge of receiving $100,000 from a Pakistani conduit to finance insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.

Malik was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and later under Public Saftey Act (PSA), laws human rights activists, liberals and minorities assail as draconian. He was one of the first prominent victims of POTA in Kashmir.

Militancy and security forces’ frequent excesses have deeply wounded the Valley of Kashmir over the last 14 years of civil strife. After so much of bloodshed and grief, it would be very difficult for the new dispensation to win the confidence of the people.

Rehabilitation of victims too is easier said than done. As many as 3,100 next of kin of civilians killed in military operation are yet to get government jobs under the special rule called SRO-43.

A report in Kashmir Times from Srinagar by Massod Hussain said till date government had received applications for ex-gratia relief of 3, 023 deaths of civilians, but only 1,008 have got it "for want of necessary documents from police and hospitals."

Ex-gratia compensation is debited to the security-related expenses (SRE), most of which is reimbursed by the home ministry. In case of Kashmir Police personnel, the ex-gratia compensation is Rs 0.5 million ($10,000), and another Rs 0.2 million ($4,000) from the police welfare fund.

A survey carried out by the UK-based Save the Children Fund said 26.99 percent of the widows received the ex-gratia payment, which was a major help to the distressed families. However, only a few got jobs under SRO-43. 

¯ MG News Desk

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