India’s external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is apprehensive about what they think is a new form of cross-border terrorism. Former Kashmiri militants who had crossed the border to receive arms training in Pakistan are returning with their families—mostly of Pakistani origin—across the Nepal border. R&AW has red -flagged the entire process, stating that Pakistan’s ISI would use this opportunity to facilitate the entry of hardcore militants to disturb the peace in the region. The agency feels that the process of rehabilitating them may backfire in the long run, despite the fact that their return home more than two decades after crossing the fence during the height of insurgency in the 80s and early 90s has brought cheer in the Valley.
The proposal ‘Return and Rehabilitation’ was notified by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on November 23, 2010. According to the Jammu and Kashmir government, the policy is aimed at Kashmiri militants who had slipped across to Pakistan and have now given up arms and are willing to return to the country.
Since then, the state and the Centre, through a joint effort with Pakistan, have been facilitating the return of the former militants stranded in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Though the response to this scheme has been overwhelming, intelligence agencies are cautious over the hidden agenda of PoK’s terror groups.
Major General (Retd) GD Bakshi who spent more than a decade fighting terrorists in the Valley said the process reminds him of a sinister ISI plan that was executed in the 1970s to repatriate terrorists to India, who played a key role in fuelling the 1989 insurgency.