jan 24th, 2008
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Subject: Now, dole for jihadis' kin
Now, dole for jihadis' kin
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
The Centre has decided to provide a relief package to the dependents of militants killed in encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision, which is first of its kind in India, will cover hundreds of families whose men took up guns and led the Pakistan-backed separatist movement killing and maiming thousands of innocent civilians and men of security forces.
According to a PTI report, besides a relief package for the dependents of the militants, the Government will also come out with an aid package for the Kashmir pandits.
The twin measures were finalised at a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to evolve a "blueprint for a new future" in Jammu and Kashmir.
The agency quoting official sources said the high-level meeting also firmed up steps for easing travel between the two parts of Kashmir and decided to take up the matter with Pakistan at the earliest.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and National Security Advisor MK Narayanan were present at the meeting.
The package would be in place soon after holding consultations with other Central Ministries, including Finance Ministry, sources said.
With 2008 being the election year in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, an announcement of people-friendly packages is likely to be made by the Prime Minister at a later date when he is likely to travel to the border State.
Manmohan Singh reviewed the recommendations of the Standing Committee and a Monitoring Mechanism set up after the third round table on Kashmir last year for ensuring implementation of suggestions made by the working groups on Kashmir.
The Prime Minister, while setting up the two committees last year, had said that his Government was keenly working for a "blueprint for new future" for the State.
The meeting favoured increased cross-LoC movement of people and goods and said consultations with Pakistan should be held for easing the travel of people from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Prime Minister asked the officials in the militancy-hit State to reduce the amount of time taken in clearing passengers for across LoC bus travel, they said.
During the meeting, it was decided to take up the issues of promoting pilgrim tourism in either parts of Kashmir, no travel permit requirement for senior citizens and increase goods exchange with Pakistan, they said.
The important issue to resolve the problems of refugees from Pakistan, who migrated to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, in a time-bound manner was also taken up during the meeting and all concerned Ministries were asked to make a speedy assessment before a package is finalised for them as well, sources said.
The State Chief Minister has been raising the voice for providing financial relief to the kin of militants killed in police encounters, reasoning that it was not the fault of widows and orphans if their bread-earners had taken to gun.