Srinagar: J&K police chief SP Vaid said on Monday that sports was a “very strong domain” for the government to engage youth in and draw them away from militancy in Kashmir.
“The smile on the faces of the youth was bewitching,” the Director-General of Police said while addressing participants at a boat-rowing contest held on the Dal Lake.
“We wish that we get many more players, budding players, from Kashmir valley and the whole of J&K in this (sports) area, which is basically our strong domain in the state of J&K,” Vaid said.
He said that police want a “tension-free, lovely environment”, so that “the smile on the faces of youth returns”.
“It was so nice to see the smile on the faces of children in this strife-torn valley,” he said, after receiving a salute from the participating sportspersons who rowed boats in Dal Lake near Nehru Park.
“The day we all should long for is when a smile is there on the face of every child,” he said.
The DGP said that sports was “very helpful for youth”. “(It) will engage youth so that they do not get into drugs, don’t take up guns,” Vaid said. “(It is) very sad to see bloodshed and sadness on the faces of the youth. We want that happiness returns so that a good atmosphere is rejuvenated here. We wish happiness returns to the future generations of Kashmir.”
“These (sports) activities definitely contribute towards peace,” he said.
The DGP said that counselling of Kashmiri youth is very important. “(But) don’t put every responsibility on police… everyone has to contribute… teacher, elders, parents… to make youth understand what is important and good (for them).”
He said that police had counselled some 60 youths “who had drifted towards militancy”. “The end (of a militant) is very bad and sad,” he said, while asserting that such youths need to be given an opportunity to return to the mainstream.
“We have sent orders down the line to give opportunity to those who want to give up arms,” he said. However, he added, “Operation All Out will continue till peace comes to Kashmir.”
When asked about posters increasingly appearing of Al-Qaeda linked militant Zakir Musa, the DGP said, “He has taken up arms so he is a militant (for us)… don’t care what people say.”
Showing concern for the Dal Lake, the state police chief asked everyone to contribute towards its conservation.
“This Dal Lake is the soul of the Valley, especially of Srinagar city. Nothing pains us more than to see it dying,” Vaid said.
“Unless we all put in efforts, nothing can be done,” he said.
The DGP remained tight-lipped on the issue of Rohingya Muslims living in Jammu and Kashmir, demands for whose deportation back to Myanmar and calls for solidarity with them to safeguard their refugee status, are both growing.
Asked whether Zeenat-ul-Islam is new chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba in the Valley, Vaid said, “what is in a name? I have heard that the vacancy for (LeT) commander’s position is still open and no one is ready to take it.”