20-year-old Majid Khan, a promising young footballer who left home to join Lashkar-e Taiba, had surrendered last week after one such heart-rending appeal. The message of his mother, which was widely circulated on social media, had brought hope to others like her.
"Two of my daughters are unmarried. I want my son Sajad Ahmad Shah to return home," said a resident of Handwara. "He got married less than a year ago and has a small kid. What will happen to the baby?"
The mother of 18-year-old Irfan Ahmad had appealed, "Please return home, for God's sake. Show some compassion."
Security forces in the Valley have said they will extend all help to terrorists who want to get back to the mainstream. Special instructions have been given to the Jammu and Kashmir police to try and capture local terrorists alive. A helpline, Madadgar, with the number 1441 has also been formed to facilitate the return of such young men.
Sources say the government is planning to revise the "surrender policy" so the men find it easier to dissociate from terror groups. The previous policy was for those who crossed the Line of Control for training, sources say. The revised policy will focus on ending home-grown terror.
"The surrender policy was formulated in the early 2000. It hasn't been revised so far. We want the government to bring a revised surrender policy. But a lot of discussion and improvement is needed for that," said SP Vaid, the chief of the state police.