New Delhi: While a controversy rages around whether Sayed Liyaqat Shah is a militant who wanted to surrender or a terrorist who wanted to target Delhi, the government will review the surrender and rehabilitation policy for militants, sources have told NDTV.
The Centre will work with state governments to make the surrender policy work better, the sources said, adding, it is time for a larger policy framework on surrender and rehabilitation of militants.
Last week's arrest of Liyaqat by the Delhi Police has created a political firestorm. The Jammu and Kashmir government says he was a militant who was headed home from Pakistan as part of an amnesty and rehabilitation scheme for men who had crossed in Pakistan. The Delhi Police insists that Liyaqat entered India via Nepal to execute a terror attack in the capital to coincide with the festival of Holi.
NDTV has accessed documents purportedly processed by the J&K government that list Liyaqat as 51st among 223 individuals seeking to return to India under the amnesty scheme to rehabilitate former militants. (Read)
The Omar Abdullah government in J&K says the 45-year-old had applied for return to Kashmir last year and his name was cleared by all agencies of the state and central governments after a thorough check confirmed that he did not participate in terrorist activities. Mr Abdullah has emphasised that the Liyaqat case could undermine the crucial surrender policy and discourage others from using it.
The elite National Investigation Agency or NIA has been handed the case. The agency is expected to seek Liyaqat's custody. The demand for the NIA probe into the arrest was made over the weekend by Omar Abdullah.
The chief minister yesterday also said that the Delhi Police has failed to explain how Liyaqat, returning to India with his wife and children, was on a terror mission. "If a man comes to attack a shopping mall, will he come with his wife and children? I am hearing for the first time that a militant came to attack holding the hand of his wife and carrying weapons in the other hand, as if going for a picnic."
Sources say the Centre is looking for a larger framework for the surrender and rehabilitation of militants as the controversy over the arrest exemplifies the need for better coordination amongst agencies. The centre had sanctioned the amnesty scheme in 2010.
The Delhi Police has said that if Jammu and Kashmir officials had cleared Liyaqat's return, they failed to inform anyone else including those manning the border where he crossed into India.
Liyaqat's wife, Akhtar-ul-Nisa, has said that he flew with her and her teen daughter from an earlier marriage on Pakistani passports to Kathmandu in Nepal and that he was separated from them and arrested at the border.
The J&K Police is also investigating the mystery surrounding the arrest of Liyaqat after his accomplice Mohammad Ashraf Mir surrendered before the counter intelligence wing of J&K Police. Mir and Liyaqat had travelled in the same plane from Pakistan to Kathmandu. Mir is likely to be released on bail today.
A group of people, who had come from Pakistan, under the rehab policy are protesting, saying the government has done nothing for them and they are not even getting any identification card.