J&K: Amit Shah appeals youth to weed out terrorism

J&K: Amit Shah appeals youth to weed out terrorism

Srinagar : On Saturday, while addressing the youths at Kashmir, Union Minister Amit Shah appealed the youths to contribute in development of Kashmir Valley. He appealed the youth to weed out terrorism saying that the government won’t be able to do the needful. At one point acknowledged that the Centre had indeed imposed a “curfew” in the Valley in 2019 and that it may have “hurt” people.

Addressing a gathering of youths in Srinagar on his first visit since Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked, Shah said: “Friends, more than 40,000 people — militants, security forces and civilians — have lost their lives. Do we have to end it (militancy) or not? Is it possible to have terrorism and development at the same time? Can it happen? You tell me. It can never happen. The first condition for development is that there should be peace here.”

The home minister added: “Who will weed it (militancy) out? Can the government do it? Na bhai na (No, brother, no). The government can only make an effort. The job of stamping out terrorism has to be done by the 45,000 members of the youth clubs who are standing in front of me. You have to become ambassadors of peace and take the message to all youths of Jammu and Kashmir that this is not the road to take our journey forward. It can never be.”

He was referring to the 45,000 youths who are members of various sports and other clubs across Jammu and Kashmir. While some were present at the gathering, many others attended the event online.

Boosting the confidence of the younger generation, Shah stated that there is immense potential for every youth of this country. “Modiji has started a lot of startup programmes and has created several platforms so that our youth from the village of Jammu and Kashmir stays in the village and stands on the platform of the world,” he added.

Shah’s overture to Kashmiris suggests a realisation that the government’s iron-fist policy to curb militancy may not have worked.

There has been a spate in violence and civilian killings in the Valley, although one of the stated objectives of the dilution of Article 370 in 2019 had been to counter militancy.

The home minister claimed the “curfew” and the “Internet shutdown” imposed in 2019 after the scrapping of the special status was meant to save lives, trying to address the anger over the unprecedented clampdown that lasted months.

This is the first time the government has acknowledged a curfew, claiming all along that only restrictions had been in place.

“Despite that, if someone is hurt…,” Shah said and put his hand on his chest. If the gesture was seen as a precursor to an apology, it did not come at this venue.

He continued: “I want to tell you all that for the long-term good you were given a short pain. Just as for malaria, doctors recommend a bitter medicine. This was that kind of pain which saved your kids.”

Shah said some people had cried themselves hoarse after the 2019 clampdown.

“At that time (2019) there were attempts to ignite emotions. There was a conspiracy and some foreign powers were also involved. Had we not imposed a curfew, we do not know how many elderly parents would have had to lift the coffins of their children. Who was saved through the imposition of the curfew, can somebody tell me? It’s the Kashmiri youth,” Shah said.

The home minister iterated the Centre’s position on the restoration of statehood, saying it would be done only after the delimitation and Assembly elections.

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