Stressing that generations have been destroyed due to unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday exhorted students in the state to choose laptops and books to help end the cycle of violence.
Addressing a group of Kashmiri students who were supported by the Army and have cleared the IIT entrance examination, he said their success was not an easy feat and they have now become a shining example for the youth in the Valley.
Referring to his stints in Jammu and Kashmir, which has in the recent past seen rising incident of stone pelting, Rawat said his first posting in the state was in 1981-82 when the “situation was good”.
The situation started deteriorating during his second posting between 1991 and 1993, the Army chief said, noting that he also had stints in J-K from 2006-2008 and then from 2010-12.
“I have seen the situation. How many generations will see this gunfire and smoke from explosives?” he asked.
“Generations have been destroyed due to this. The fear that has set in the mind of people of Kashmir and the youth… (that) a militant or the security forces will come.
“So you have militants on one side and security forces on the other. How long will we stay in this atmosphere. We have to put an end to it. We wish that peace is restored there and we carry out our daily work without any problem,” Rawat said.
He also said that the recent spell of unrest has led to decline in tourism in the Valley.
“Kashmir is heaven. We have to again bring it to that level which was there before. The world flocks to see the Valley, but people are not able to come because of the tension,” he said.
He also asked students to return to their roots after they complete their studies and help in the development of the state to alleviate the hardships faced by the people.
“They (the youth) should either have a laptop or a book. Whatever time they get they should devote to studies,” Rawat said.
The Army, along with Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL), conducts ‘Super 40’ programme in Jammu and Kashmir. Funded by PSU Petronet LNG Limited, the aim of the programme is to train students in the state to help them clear IIT entrance test.
Thirty-five students enrolled for this programme. Of them, 24 cleared JEE Mains and are eligible for a seat in the NITs.
Of the 24, nine passed JEE Advanced, an entrance test to get an IIT berth. The remaining 11, who could not clear entrance for the NITs or IITs, have passed the Jammu and Kashmir’s Common Entrance Test (CET) for engineering.