Editorial: Amnesty for stone pelters

Srinagar: Just weeks after the government announced to grant amnesty to first time stone pelters in Kashmir Valley by withdrawing cases against them that are registered in various police stations, various groups of youth have been coming forward demanding inclusion in the amnesty scheme announced by the government.

Just yesterday when the Centre’s appointed interlocutor was in town, a group of youth who claimed to be hailing from Pulwama district in South Kashmir staged a demonstration seeking inclusion in the amnesty announced by the government.

The youth claimed that they have been working hard to come out of the mess they have been trapped in as most of them have opted to seek jobs and other engagements to earn their two square meals. The youth complained that their cases have been listed for hearings in various courts and most of the time they have to travel back to their home district to attend the hearings in person.

Though the group claimed that they were 62 in number and out of these 53 were exempted by the courts for personal appearance however, the rest of them are still undergoing the trauma of attending the hearings after every two or three weeks.

The demand by the youth, that too quite a handful needs to be taken seriously. If the government is claiming that it has acted large hearted and provided amnesty to the youth involved in stone pelting then there has to be no discrimination at all.

Youth who have been booked for stone pelting from the past several years need to be dealt humanely as the amnesty granted by the government is showing positive results on ground. To justify this claim, the indication that youth are coming out and demanding that they too be granted amnesty means that the governments plan is showing some results on ground.

Besides, the logic that goes to announce the amnesty scheme fails if the plan to grant pardon is not all inclusive. The government’s approach needs to be much wider as the 4500 youth who were let off and the impact this announcement of the government is carrying on ground will be negated if a few more youth are not included in the amnesty.

For now, the plan to rope in youth who have been on the forefront of anti-government protests seems working and by being slightly flexible the government can broaden the results which the amnesty scheme has been able to fetch so far.  


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