Will ensure those joining militant ranks return home: Mehbooba

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today vowed to break the “vicious cycle” of youth taking up arms on the death of a militant and said efforts were on to ensure that those joining militant ranks return home.

She said that her government would continue its efforts to bring back local youth who had joined militancy to end the “vicious cycle” besides strengthening panchayats after successfully conducting the elections next month.

Jaish-e-Mohammad’s “Afzal Guru squad” that has claimed responsibility for major terror attacks in the Valley recently is a challenge for not only the government but for all of us, she said in her reply to the motion of thanks on the Governor s address in the state assembly here.

“(Slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander) Burhan wani was born at that time (when NC-Congress was ruling the state) and those (militants) who will be born today somebody else will face them,” she said.

Mehbooba was apparently responding to the remarks of legislative party leader of opposition National Conference and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who had yesterday said, “You talked about my role in creating Burhan Wani when I was the chief minister. Just think how many Wanis have you created under your rule.” 

“Young boys get glorified by taking arms in their hand and uploading the picture on social media sites. My effort is that the local militants should get back,” Mehbooba said.

It was in this endeavour that one militant was caught alive in an injured condition during a recent operation after firing on the security forces throughout the night, she said.

“We are thankful to the parents who are appealing to their wards to return from the path of militancy. Many a youth had returned and we are not harassing them. We are happy that they are coming back,” Mehbooba said, adding “we have to reach out to the people especially to the youth of the state”.

On an Aligarh Muslim University scholar joining Hizbul Mujahideen in Kupwara district a few days back, she said his class fellows ad also appealed him for his return and “we are hopeful that he too will return to his weeping family”.

“Our effort is that the local youth give up gun and return back to their homes. It is our loss as one militant is getting killed, his native village see another boy taking up the arms. It is a vicious circle and we have to break it,” the chief minister said.

As a major initiative, Mehbooba said, her government had announced an amnesty to stone-pelters by withdrawing FIRs registered against them.

“About 8,000 to 9,000 youth, I don’t have the exact figures, will be benefited by withdrawal of FIRs. We have started the process in 2016 but had to stop it due to the unrest (triggered by the killing of Burhan Wani),” she said.

On the Panchayat elections scheduled to start from next month, she said her government would ensure full power to the local bodies and make them partner in the development of the state. (PTI) 

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