Shopian (J&K): Do they thank God or the government? An extraordinary question in the conflict-ridden politics of the Kashmir valley, but the Dars in Narpora village send their heartfelt thanks to both as they celebrate the homecoming of their son after 11 years of being a gun-wielding militant in Pakistan.
After years of fear and uncertainty of not knowing what had happened to their son — who had in 1991 crossed the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan — 65-year-old Abdul Gani and his wife Sara, 60, are looking at hope and a return to some happiness again.
The couple in Shopian district’s Narpora village, about 55km from summer capital Srinagar, say they are thankful to god and the Omar Abdullah government’s rehabilitation policy for making their son’s return possible.
“We had lost all hope. It is as if our son has been reborn after 11 years. We have lived under fear during the last 11 years,” Abdul Gani, who has three sons and six daughters told IANS.
Jammu and Kashmir’s rehabilitation policy, aiming at an honourable return home for youths who had crossed the LoC during the last 20 years for obtaining weapons, has clearly started paying dividend.
Abdul Rashid Dar, who was only 25 when he left home to join the separatist guerrillas across the LoC, is one of those who has benefited. Dar said he and his Pakistani wife came back after the rehabilitation policy announced by the state government in November 2010.
In the 11 years he was away, Dar, who returned about four months ago, met his Pakistani wife Shabina Naaz. The couple has a daughter and a son — seven-year-old Isu and five-year-old Hamzala. The children are going to a local village school, where Shabina, 32, also teaches. And Abdul is tending the family’s agricultural lands. It is a far cry from the tumultuous years he spent away from home.