While the decision to free 4500 young boys who have been categorized as first-time stone –pelters is welcome if it helps in carrying forward the peace process set in motion by the Central government, haste in releasing them must be avoided cautioned Brig Anil Gupta, veteran Security Analyst and State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party. While the planned release of first-timers is needed for assuaging hurt feelings of the affected families and is seen as a positive healing touch, the past experience on this issue has not been very encouraging and healthy. A thorough screening to include past antecedents, police records including chances of a remote association with any terrorist outfit, intelligence inputs and family background (to rule out terror sympathizers) must be done before taking a decision to grant amnesty to any stone-pelter, suggested Brig Gupta.
On earlier occasions it has been experienced that after availing amnesty same persons were found recycled for stone-pelting during the large scale agitations that erupted in 2008, 2010 and after elimination of Burhan Wani. These stone pelters are housed in the jails with hard core terrorists who use this opportunity to further radicalize them and brainwash them with extremist ideology. The time spent in detention adds to their frustration and anger against the system which is exploited by the extremists, felt Brig Gupta. After thorough screening, the next logical step should be to De-radicalize them so that they can easily adjust themselves with the main stream and do not again fall prey to the extremist and anti-national elements recommended Brig Gupta.
Taking note of another welcome move wherein the misguided youth is shunning terrorism and returning home to lead a normal life, Brig Gupta felt that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that these young men do not rue their decision to surrender/return to mainstream. In the absence of a comprehensive surrender policy large number of surrendered terrorists in the past have been recycled into the militancy accounting for increased number of local militants.Brig Gupta has recommended that the government should consider establishing De-radicalization and Rehabilitation Camps where all released stone pelters and surrendered militants should be housed for a definite period before they are allowed to merge with the society. The stay in these camps should be used for skill development /skill enhancement and De-radicalization. This will prepare the young men to face the vagaries of life and stand on their feet, act as ambassadors of peace and give boost to the peace process feels Brig Gupta.