J&K New Year Gift : 5,500 first-time stone pelters to be granted amnesty in 2018

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Call it a New Year gift to the misguided stone throwers, Jammu and Kashmir government is reviewing cases of 5,500 youth in a bid to save their academic career and amalgam them into the mainstream.

Under the amnesty scheme for misguided youth, cases of around 5,500 first-time stone pelters of 2016-17 are being currently reviewed by the expert committee constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Earlier, in November, cases against 4,327 youths involved in 744 incidents of stone pelting and other law and order problems during 2010-2014, were withdrawn under the Chief Minister’s amnesty scheme. Around 634 youths involved in 104 cases of 2008-2009 were given amnesty under this scheme.

“Due to the improvement in situation this year the government took a decision of amnesty for those children who were misguided and not involved in heinous cases so that their career is not ruined. Same committee has been authorised by the government to review the cases of 2016-17. There are cases against 5,500 children and the committee, which I am chairing, is examining them,” said Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, director general of police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir.

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Jammu and Kashmir police have brought back 74 boys from the jaws of militancy this year in the valley. Plus the new homecoming policy for local militants too have yielded positive results. “Seven boys have come back to join their family. I hope more boys will come back. Our effort is that the local terrorists should drop guns and we will help them to join the mainstream,” said Dr Vaid.

The Director General of Police said this year around 206 terrorists have been neutralised, of which 84 were locals and 121 foreign terrorists. “It (local recruitment) has come down drastically and I am sure things will further improve,” he said.

Additional Director General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Ahmad Khan said this year they have targeted leadership of militants who besides taking active part of terrorism were recruiting youth to militancy.

“This year they have started operation in the areas where for some reason police was not able to enter for two years. There was resistance at some places. During the course of encounters there were some civil casualties because of cross fire. We have been appealing people to avoid going to sites where encounters are on,” said Khan.

This year around 24 civilians have died near the encounter sites across Kashmir. “There is misconception that Operation All Out is about killing. It is not like that. Part of it is killing but it is about overall improvement by way of getting youth back, surrender and counselling,” he said.

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