Home ministry tells govt to set up panel for reviewing cases against student protesters

Home ministry tells govt to set up panel for reviewing cases against student protesters
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Suggests Mehbooba formulate new surrender and rehab policy

Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to set up a panel led by the Director General of Police or the Additional Director General to review and close cases of students involved in stone-throwing protests in the Valley.
The panel would review the cases of students and youth who were not covered under the amnesty the state government has granted to first-time stone throwers. A Home ministry document accessed by Kashmir Reader said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was told about it by Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting in New Delhi.
The panel’s recommendation would cover more than 9,000 youth and students involved in pro-freedom protests in Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, the PDP-BJP government had announced a general amnesty for first-time protesters in the Valley. The scheme, according to government figures, resulted in cases against 3,600 students and youth being withdrawn.
“Stone-pelting cases of non-grievous nature against the students and youth should be closed and withdrawn so that they get a chance to focus on their study and pursue their career without any psychological pressure,” the government report said.
According to sources, the move followed the Government of India’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma’s meeting with Rajnath Singh in Delhi in the aftermath of his Kashmir visits. “This humanitarian step (withdrawing cases) has been aimed at giving such youth/students another chance to rebuild their career without any stress of being labelled as criminals for the rest of their lives,” said the document.
Worried by the rising graph of Kashmiri youth joining militant ranks, the Home ministry has also recommended formulating a new surrender and rehabilitation policy for militants giving up arms. Militant ranks have swelled in the last two years, especially after young Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in 2016. Nearly two hundred Kashmiri youth have since joined the militancy.
At the outset of this year, an Aligarh Muslim University scholar, Abdul Manan Wani, from the relatively calm northern Kashmir became a fresh Hizb recruit. His joining militant ranks has worried the government forces who see him as having the potential to convince more youth in the region to take up arms.
To blunt the threat created by the rising militant graph, the Home ministry suggested that militants giving up arms be provided “economic rehabilitation and suitable training to run their businesses… (enabling) them to return to the mainstream and lead a dignified life”.
Last year saw families of militants making passionate appeals on social media to their militant sons after an Anantnag footballer-turned-militant Majid Khan returned home. But the emotional appeals could not make much impact on the militants as, according to the government, only four youths shunned militancy and returned home last year.

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