Kashmir police fight off stone throwers – peacefully

Anantnag, 19/10/2015:Kashmiri Muslim protestors clash with Police during protest at Batango village, south of Srinagar on Monday,Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in eight police station areas in Kashmir and several separatist leaders put under house in view of a strike called today to protest the death of a truck conductor who was injured in Udhampur petrol bomb attack. PHOTO/NISSAR AHMAD.

Police in Kashmir have started counselling stone throwers and conducting sessions to de-radicalise them, soothe their anguish and battle, rather peacefully, resilient protests that have been recurring in the valley.

And counselling stone throwers is not a process of a one way communication. Police also listen patiently like professional therapists empathise.

One such session was organised on Friday and district police chief Imtiyaz Hussain said it was “aimed to build an understanding so that ways and means are found to prevent recurrence of violent incidents in the future”.

It comes after over five months of unrest that has claimed the lives of some 100 people in the Kashmir Valley. Even as the intensity of the violent protests, triggered by the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, has reduced to a large extent, the valley has been at a standstill for the past five months.

The mental burden of the violence has weighed down heavily on every section of society as the unrest continues and moves into the sixth month.

Education has been the worst sufferer as schools, colleges and universities remain closed, forcing the government to announce mass promotion from Class 1 to 9 for all without conducting exams.

Violence, Hussain told IANS, “does no good to anybody but creates chaos and anarchy only”.

With that understanding, the police officer invited young boys who have been involved in violent activities for the past some months.

Many parents and senior citizens also joined in.

“These youngsters were given patient hearing and their point of view was also heard,” Hussain said about the programme.

Hussain said the boys he spoke to were urged to “concentrate upon their careers and work hard to make up the loss they have borne in education for the past months”.

“Most of the boys were of the opinion that getting involved in stone pelting was a bad decision and it inflicts irreplaceable damage to social fabric and increases sufferings of common people,” he said.

He said he heard them “patiently” before they were advised “not to fall prey to propaganda of vested interests who exploit them for their personal gains”.

Hussain said people in Baramulla suggested to him that such programmes must be organised more frequently “so that stone pelting is brought to a permanent halt to save the lives and careers of youth and mitigate the sufferings of common people”.

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