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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Government forms new post to wean Jammu and Kashmir youngsters away from violence

The administration, in the process of allocating a budget for the two new UTs, will also allocate funds for the CEO, Youth. The CEO is likely to be appointed from South Kashmir, a hotbed of local militancy.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2019 05:51 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AS Dulat, former RAW chief and an author of a book on Kashmir, said: “It’s a positive idea but will be a challenging assignment since the youth are enraged and very alienated.”
AS Dulat, former RAW chief and an author of a book on Kashmir, said: “It’s a positive idea but will be a challenging assignment since the youth are enraged and very alienated.” (HT image)
         

As the state of Jammu and Kashmir gears up to become a Union Territory on October 31, the government has set up the new post of Chief Executive Officer, Youth, in an attempt to wean young adults away from violence.

Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was effectively revoked on August 5 and the state was divided into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Valley was locked down and restrictions imposed. Many restrictions have now been relaxed and post-paid mobile connections been restored, but Kashmir continues to observe a self-imposed shut down. Shops and businesses are still shut and attendance in schools thin.

“Jammu and Kashmir is going through a challenging phase. We were prepared for stone pelting, not silent protests. There is concern that more youth will join the ranks of militants and in a meeting with senior officials, we decided to set up the new post aimed at youth,” said an official, who was part of the meeting.

During the 2016 protests that followed the killing of local militant commander, Burhan Wani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged enraged young men who brought the Valley to a standstill to focus on “development, not destruction”.

“Young people who should have laptops, cricket bats or books in their hands were being given stones,” the Prime Minister had said.

The administration, in the process of allocating a budget for the two new UTs, will also allocate funds for the CEO, Youth. The CEO is likely to be appointed from South Kashmir, a hotbed of local militancy.

In 2017, 130 local young men joined militant organisations. The number rose to 208 in 2018 but came down to 98 in 2019. Security officials fear a spike and as one official said, “now that some mobile connectivity has been restored, reports are coming in of missing youth. At least ten are feared to have joined the ranks of militants.”

AS Dulat, former RAW chief and an author of a book on Kashmir, said: “It’s a positive idea but will be a challenging assignment since the youth are enraged and very alienated.”