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J&K: 24 hardcore militants surrender
April 20, 2007 22:44 IST
Twenty-four hardcore militants laid down arms on Friday and were reunited with their families, some after nearly eight years, at a ceremony organised by the army in Rampur, a defence spokesman said.
The militants, who had gone to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training, have crossed over to this side recently and laid down arms before General Officer Commanding 19th Infantry Division Maj Gen Ramesh Halgali in the presence of senior civil and police officers besides their parents and close kin, the spokesman said.
"We cannot believe our eyes as we are seeing our sons after six to eight years," parents of the militants said.
The spokesman said with Friday's surrender, the largest in northern command on the Line of Control, the number of ultras who have given themselves up in the recent past to the infantry division in Baramulla has gone up to 146.
He said the surrendered militants owed allegiance to Hizbul Mujahideen, Tehreek-e-Jehad, Hizb-e-Islami and Kashmir Revolutionary Force.
All the 146 militants, who have laid down arms so far, have gone back to their families and are gainfully employed, he said.
The spokesman said there has not been a single incident so far wherein a surrendered militant has taken to subversive activities.
He said those who surrendered unequivocally spoke of growing disillusionment among Kashmiri militants in PoK. There is a widening rift between local and foreign militants, the spokesman said, adding that the ultras who surrendered said they feel safe and free here and wanted to expose Pakistan's false rhetoric in support of Kashmiris.
He said despite ceasefire on the borders, Pakistan is abetting cross-border infiltration.
The militants confirmed that terrorist infrastructure in PoK was intact and flourishing, the spokesman said, adding Pakistan's involvement in abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of moral, financial and material support from across the LoC remains undiminished.
However, denuding cadre strength and sagging morale has left no other option to the militants but to lay down arms.
The spokesman claimed surrender has become a major movement amongst the Hizbul Mujahideen cadre. This indicates unwillingness on the part of Kashmiri-dominated Hizb to follow the path of violence and participate in the Jehadi movement and a major step towards the termination of proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
The spokesman said inputs from the militants confirmed that Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin is losing ground support.
"There are very positive indications of Salahuddin adopting the path of surrender movement and extending ceasefire," he said.
Those who surrendered on Friday were forced to cross over to PoK six to eight years ago. They have all joined jehad by compulsion due to circumstances and not by choice.