Police counselling ‘misguided’ youth in Kashmir: DGP Vaid

Srinagar: As part of its efforts to bring teenagers back into the national mainstream, Jammu and Kashmir police is counselling the “misguided” Valley youth to prevent them from falling prey to “anti-national propaganda”. 

“Going beyond its mandate of normal policing, J&K Police transforming hearts and minds by instilling national pride in the youth of the Valley,” Director General of Police S P Vaid said in a tweet.

The police has achieved some success as well in the recent time as a group of children who had participated in a parade held on Pakistan’s independence day later took part in the Republic Day parade this year in Shopian district of south Kashmir. 

Vaid also posted a video which showed the children, dressed in Pakistan’s green-and-white and holding a Pakistani flag, marching past a life size hoarding of slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani at Nagbal in Shopian district on August 14 last year. 

The latter half of the video shows the same kids taking part in the Republic Day parade, braving snowfall. 

“We have identified the children vulnerable to inimical propaganda and started counselling them in small groups so that these kids do not fall prey to militancy,” Vaid told PTI. 

He said this programme has been launched in all 10 districts of the Valley and the results have been encouraging. 

The police initiative comes against the backdrop of reports that nearly 100 youngsters, mostly teenagers or youth in their early 20s, have joined militant ranks in the aftermath of the violent protests in Kashmir last year.

Protests broke out across Kashmir Valley on July 9 last year, a day after Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces. 

Over 90 people were killed while thousands others were injured in the clashes between protestors and forces in nearly four months after Burhan’s killing. 

A new trend — of youth storming the encounter sites to help militants escape by engaging the security forces in stone pelting — has the security grid worried as Army Chief Bipin Rawat issued a stern warning to those indulging in such acts. 

General Rawat’s warning came yesterday after he paid homage in Delhi to three of the four soldiers, including a Major, who were killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir on Tuesday. 

The army chief said if they do not relent and create hurdle in the operations of the security forces, then “we will take tough action”.

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