Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Thursday said cases against minors and those “misled into stone pelting” in the Valley will be withdrawn. The Union Home Ministry late last year had ordered to withdraw cases against youths involved in stone pelting. Singh appealed to the youth not to tread the path of destruction and said the Centre and the state government had initiated several schemes to help them secure their future.
While addressing a Sports Conclave at SK Indoor Stadium in Srinagar, he said, “Sports can bring a change in your lives. Children can be misguided easily but we know the truth that is why we have withdrawn all stone-pelting cases against them.”
Lauding the state government for carrying out works for improving the sports infrastructure, the Home Minister said funds will not be a problem for promoting sports in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Funds will be provided for promotion of water sports at Mansar and Pahalgam… Funds will be arranged for development of sports infrastructure,” he said.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was also present on the occasion, echoed similar sentiments. “Children from Jammu And Kashmir should also be given atmosphere and opportunity to develop like that of the other parts of the country. So that stone pelting, bombing and gunning stop and these children get a chance to grow,” she said.
Singh, who is in Kashmir to review the suspension of anti-militancy operations, said the “fate and face of Kashmir will be changed”, even as he unveiled a list of projects related to creating employment opportunities and sports infrastructure to attract youths.
“We will help the youth to be recruited in armed forces. The centre will help the youth of J&K in finding their way. But I appeal to the young generation of the state to not indulge in any kind of wrongdoings,” he said. “Jammu and Kashmir has a lot of potential. The young in the state have a lot to offer but they are now in the dark. I promise you that we and the state government will change this,” he added.
Later in the evening, Singh will likely attend an Iftar hosted by the Mufti, an official said. He would also hold meetings with the security brass in the backdrop of recent incidents of stone pelting, attacks on security forces in the Kashmir valley and infiltration attempts along the border.
Singh’s visit comes amid an offer for talks with the Hurriyat Conference. The separatist amalgam, however, had made it clear that it was ready for a dialogue only if there was clarity on the initiative, Jammu and Kashmir was declared “disputed”, and a few other conditions were met.
(With inputs from agencies)