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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Friday said separatists were forcing schools to remain closed because they want to create a community of illiterate which could be used for stone-pelting. Speaking at the passing-out parade of probationary DSPs in Udhampur, she asked the graduating officers to not look upon children on the streets as stone-pelters or miscreants, but as younger brothers or friends who needed their counselling and help. “First they (separatists) thought that if children remain illiterate, they will pick up the gun. But then they realised that in the last 25 years, people have understood that nothing can be achieved through the gun.
So, they now want to create a community of illiterate children for pelting stones. They want them to not only indulge in stone-pelting, but pelt them in such a way that it ends up taking their own lives,’’ she said.
“These children they send to attack camps of Army or CRPF and police stations are from a poor background. It does not matter to them if they get killed or injured,’’ she said. “Once they had put guns in the hands of such children and today they are using them as shields… the children getting killed or injured are of a tender age and from poor families. I have not seen any of the leaders or their children among them,’’ she added. Addressing the graduating officers, Mehbooba said that when they move out of the police academy, the biggest challenge before them will not be militants, but these stone-pelting children. “More than policing, you will have to do parenting,” she said.
She asked them not to look at these children as miscreants and make efforts to persuade them into returning to schools. “These children need counselling and help,’’ she added. She also appreciated the role of the state police in dealing with unruly mobs over the past three-and-a-half months.
‘Pak should take initiative for talks’
CM Mehbooba Mufti said Friday that Pakistan should take an initiative to resume dialogue with India as war was not a solution to any problem. “Like civilised nations, we shall talk to each other and I feel Pakistan should take the initiative,’’ she said.