The J-K government has charted out an elaborate plan to connect with the valley youth, who were highly alienated in the recent five-month long unrest.
For the first time, the government is investing in a big way in sports infrastructure, clubs and recreation centres to connect with more than 30,000 youth in 12 districts of Kashmir valley in the first phase.
“The idea is to change the mindset of the youth who have been feeling suffocated in the recent turmoil. We intend to engage youth in positive and fruitful way,” Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon told the Hindustan Times.
The government this week held a high-level meeting attended by representatives of several sports council, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra, an NGO and district officials. Kashmir inspector general of police Shiv Murari Sahai also participated in the meeting for his assessment and inputs.
The government plans to vitalize all sports clubs in 12 districts. “Sports infrastructure, recreation centres and multiple-activity spaces will be created to help youth burn some calories and remain engaged even after school and college hours. We want to instill a sense of belonging and a sense of participation among the youth,” said Samoon.
All 3,000 sports clubs, with more than 30,000 enrolled youth, will be equipped with sports gear and imparted proper training. “Our target group is up to age of 35 but the priority is up to 25,” said Samoon.
In the five-month long unrest in Kashmir valley, 112 people were killed during street protests in security forces’ action. Most killed were in the age group of 8-25. The street protests, which witnessed significant participation of teenagers and young people, were triggered by the killing of a school boy in a police action on June 11 in Srinagar.
The government has asked NGOs to put forth their proposals and suggestions to co-opt alienated youth.
The idea has patronization of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who is keen to engage and connect with the valley youth once again. Last week, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA from Sangrama distributed cricket and football kits among 70 sports clubs in a school where more than 1000 youth participated. Sangrama witnessed seven deaths in the unrest.