Government will review cases against youth arrested during unrest: Mehbooba

Srinagar, Nov 5 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said her government would review cases against youth arrested during the nearly four-month-long unrest and take a lenient view on those arrested for stone-pelting etc for the first time.

“We will review those cases where students and first-timers are found to be involved. We will talk to their parents and get their assurances that their wards will not participate in protests in future.

“We can’t go on arresting people. There should be a different and empathetic plan of action to contain the situation,” she said in her address at a meeting of divisional and district level civil and police officers here.

She asked the civil and police administration to prepare a roadmap for “healing the wounds” of people.

“Kashmir has witnessed a very painful and frustrating situation over the past few months. Now as the situation is returning to normalcy, we have to prepare a roadmap to pull our people out of this agonising and complicated situation and heal their wounds,” she said, urging civil and police administration to reach out to the families of those who died or suffered injuries and also devise a strategy so that their miseries could be lessened.

“Those who died or suffered injuries are our own people. Reach out to their families. I should get the exact figures so that we can take a decision about their future.

“It will be good to involve elders and local Auqaf Committees in the process,” she said.

Expressing concern over local youths joining militant groups, Mehbooba Mufti said the civil and police administration should take steps to wean away such youth from the path of violence with compassion.

“Such misadvised youth must be given an opportunity to return to normal life and provided an honourable livelihood,” she said.

Invoking the state’s rich cultural traditions, she said these values of amity and brotherhood can help in combating the extremist onslaught.

“We can’t fight everything with guns and jail. We will have to look for alternative means to ensure peace and stability in the state,” she said.

Expressing deep concern over the menace of drug addiction in the Valley, she said the district administrations should make it a priority to set up Drug De-addiction Centres for afflicted youth.

During the meeting, the chief minister was informed that the situation is slowly returning to normalcy with almost 90 percent drop in street protests during this month as compared with July.

Complimenting the state police and other forces for handling the situation with as much as possible restraint and putting the Valley on the path of normalcy, Mehbooba Mufti said the worst phase of the prevailing crisis is over and “the after effects are going to be dealt with more empathy”.

Expressing deep concern over the burning of schools in Kashmir Valley, she said such incidents have inflicted colossal loss on the society at a time when the process of development has been halted due to the ongoing situation.

“Such incidents will not only destroy the social fabric of our society but it will also impact the future of our children who are toiling hard to shine in every field, despite the odds,” she warned.