'Keeping youth busy helped usher peace' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Keeping youth busy helped usher peace'

Heading a police force in Kashmir is walking a tightrope over one of the state's deep gorges. Nevertheless, a year after the summer of protests, the authorities have managed to keep peace in the valley.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2011 01:00 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Heading a police force in Kashmir is walking a tightrope over one of the state's deep gorges. Nevertheless, a year after the summer of protests, the authorities have managed to keep peace in the valley.

So what was the modus operandi of the police to keep peace in the Valley?

"We realised the youth population here was around 70%, which can be a problem if their energies cannot be channelised properly...," Shiv Murari Sahai, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir told HT.

Among the first measures the government took to counter this was to reopen schools, Sahai said. Extensive programmes to engage the youth — like conferences, sports and counselling — were undertaken. "As for the trouble-makers, we went for legal action," Sahai said.

The other reason behind the peaceful summer was what the police called a vastly reduced level of militancy in Srinagar.

A reason that contributed to the sharp decline of terrorism was its criminalisation, said Sahai.

Disruption leads to breakdown of educational and training institutions, which leads to less employability and greater frustration. "That's a vicious cycle and crime is one of the spin-offs," Sahai said.