IMPHAL, Sept 15 � In an attempt to bring the surrendered militants in the North East to the mainstream, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is likely to soon approve a proposal of the Union Home Ministry to raise two battalions in Border Security Force (BSF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) comprising the surrendered militants, Assam Rifles sources said here.
The Home Ministry has already proposed relaxation of norms for inclusion of these insurgents. Sources, however, said only those militants who have not been involved in heinous crimes such as mass killings would be given amnesty through this route. �The file is likely to be cleared by CCS in the coming weeks. It has already been cleared by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh,� said a government source.
These surrendered militants, drawn from Manipur and Assam, would be absorbed in two auxiliary battalions of the forces with a strength of 750 each, says PRO Assam Rifles (South), in a press release here. The stringent selection criteria of the forces have been eased for the militants who have signed �suspension of operation� agreement with the State Governments. Apart from allowing recruitment up to the age of 35, the government has also relaxed educational qualification to Class VIII and done away with the written examination, the release said. However, the candidates would have to pass the physical test which would require running five km in 24 minutes.
Based on their performance in the force, they could be absorbed in regular paramilitary battalions later. The men would be provided educational facilities and encouraged to pass Class X exams which could make them eligible for absorption in regular battalions. Sources said these men, however, would not be pressed into combat duties initially and would not be handed any weapons. They would just train and study and depending on their performance absorbed later. The training programmes would include various vocational courses that the militants would have freedom to choose from. The men would also get a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,500 apart from ration money and uniforms, the release added. A similar drive in the North East in the early 1970s had been successful, prompting the government to revive the plan.