J&K police initiate measures to wean away local youths from militancy

Protesters throw stones at policemen during a protest in Srinagar. (Photo: PTI)
In a bid to wean away local youths from militancy, Jammu and Kashmir police is trying to convince parents of those who are believed to have joined various militant groups to take a lenient view if their kins decide to surrender.

The police decided to take the initiative of meeting the parents amid a spate of intelligence reports about local youths having joined terror groups after the killing of poster-boy for Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit Burhan Wani in July last year.

As the unrest left the police force almost non-functional in many parts of the South Kashmir last summer and autumn, an estimated 80 youths had gone missing from various parts of the Kashmir Valley and were believed to have joined militant outfits either as an active cadre or an over ground worker.

This issue was flagged before S P Vaid, who took over as the Director General of the Police on January one, after which a plan to educate the parents was undertaken.

"We won't like to harm our own children. We are reaching out to the parents and requesting them to convince their children for shunning the path of violence. In few cases, we have achieved success also. We want that our children should fight in debates, competitive exams and not with guns.

"I have made appeals through my district Superintendents of Police and conveyed that all missing cases need to be verified on the ground and corrective steps to be taken. Our first attempt is always humanitarian so that we can bring misguided children back. We have given an assurance that a lenient view will be taken in case the youths surrender voluntarily," Vaid told PTI on Monday.

However, he refused to divulge the details and said that a "course correction" was already underway and discussing the issue would be premature.

The statement came a day after four local militants were gunned down in a joint operation by police, army and the CRPF. The four were Muddasir Ahmed Tantray and Wakeel Ahmed Thokar (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and Farooq Ahmed Bhatt and Mohammed Younis Lone of Hizbul Mujahideen.

While Tantray was an active militant since August 2014, Thokar had joined LeT in September last year. Lone had been recruited in Hizbul Mujahideen only in January this year, while Bhatt was with the outfit since June 2015. All of them hailed from South Kashmir.

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