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12 militants surrender before J&K CM
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 23, 2007 20:18 IST
Twelve militants on Sunday surrendered with arms before Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad in the newly created Ramban district of Jammu region.
Among the dozen militants that laid down their arms before the chief minister, 10 were operating in the general area of Gool in Ramban district while two operated in the Kellar area of Pulwama district in Kashmir, according to an official spokesman in Srinagar [Images].
The development is seen as a severe setback to militants and is bound to instill confidence in the minds of the people in the concerned areas.
"Three militants namely Manzoor Ahmad alias Furqan Ali, Mumtaz Ali alias Asif Rahi and Abdul Qayoom alias Imran Khan [Images] were the longest surviving and the most dreaded militants active for more than a decade and served as the main source of motivation in the militant cadres, keeping militant activities simmering in the area between Banihal to Reasi which is likely to become substantially quiet now," the spokesman added.
Speaking on the occasion, Azad said that the "surrender of militants was the result of confidence building measures taken jointly by the Central and the state governments to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir [Images]."
He said during the past 19 years as many as 4,000 militants had surrendered before the authorities.
The chief minister said militants were "increasingly realising the futility of violence and wanted to abdicate the path of terror and join back the national mainstream."
He said situation in the state was fast returning to normal and cited the laying down of arms by militants as an indication of this.
The chief minister urged the parents of militants, still holding arms, to persuade their children to return to the path of peace and contribute to the development of the state.
"The past two decades of militancy have left Jammu and Kashmir far behind in matters of progress and development," Azad said.
He said he was hopeful that the agenda of peace and development pursued by his government would encourage more youth to shun violence and return to the mainstream.
The chief minister said, the "militants were also realising that the country that pushed them into Jammu and Kashmir for carrying out acts of terrorism was itself on the crossroads today."
"They have understood that their lives were ruined for no rhyme or reason besides bringing about death and destruction across Kashmir," Azad added.
This realisation, he said, was motivating them to rethink about their activities.