Centre Extends Aid to End Kashmir Unrest, But Will it Work?
The Centre’s steps have been questioned by former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah, who said consistent efforts are required.
Dropping cases against over 4,500 stone-pelters, providing better electric supply, a helpline for militants to reach out, and higher compensation packages for slain lawmen; these are some of the measures in the Centre's effort to put an end to the unrest in the Kashmir valley.
Taking the suggestion of the Centre's special representative Dineshwar Sharma following his visit to J&K, the Centre has said it will implement a number of measures to usher peace into the valley.
What Is the Centre’s Big Push?
Over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone-pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.
Over 11,500 cases against stone-pelters were registered from July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, citizens told Sharma.
Of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths who were found indulging in stone-pelting for the first time, officials added.
The Centre may also consider rehabilitating locals who have joined militant groups but have not indulged in any heinous crimes, they said.
My attempt was to change the narrative in the state to peace and for that I need support of youths and students.Dineshwar Sharma
Improved Electricity Supply
Sharma adds that residents in the Valley face an electricity shortage, especially during winters and, therefore, an additional 300 megawatts would be provided to Kashmir this year.
Attempts are being made to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply by the beginning of winter next year, the officials said, adding that talks are being held with the power ministry to implement this project.
Higher Compensation for Martyrs
The central government will also enhance the compensation to the policemen killed during encounters. At present, kin of local policemen killed while fighting militancy or terror, are eligible to receive Rs 43 lakh.
Under a revised proposal, which is likely to get the nod after necessary formalities in the Union Home Ministry, a policeman killed during an encounter with militants will get Rs 70 lakh, officials said.
The ex-gratia component from the Centre will increase from existing Rs 3 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, the officials said.
If the proposal is agreed to, the state police will almost be at par with the para-military forces' jawans who get over Rs 75 lakh in compensation, the officials said.
Officials added that around 30 police personnel from the state police were killed in encounters with militants since July 2016.
Helpline for Militants
Dial 1441 if you want to surrender, is the message from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to Kashmiri youth, who have joined terror groups and now want to return to the mainstream.
The helpline – Madadgaar – can also be used by the families, friends or well-wishers of such youths, who are willing to surrender before the security forces in the Kashmir Valley, a senior official said.
The helpline was launched in June this year by the paramilitary forces with an aim to help any Kashmiri who is in distress.
The helpline will from now on help the youth who have joined militant ranks or their families, friends or any well-wisher to seek help to surrender. We will guide them. They do not know how to go about it and we will help them in understanding and undertaking the initiative.CRPF Inspector General (Operations) in the Kashmir Valley Zulfiquar Hasan
“Find a Sustainable Solution,” Says Farooq Abdullah
Successive central governments have failed "to engage with the political sentiments" in Kashmir in a sustainable and reconciliatory manner, Opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah alleged, in response, and urged the country's leadership to find a sustainable solution to the "political issue".
While various initiatives were announced and started at various junctures, almost all of them were plagued by a lack of political will and consistency, he contended.
The effect of these initiatives is far more crucial to the welfare of our people than purely the intent, and sadly the initiatives were left halfway or were halfhearted to start withFarooq Abdullah
"For any progress towards the goal of ushering the state and the region into a corrective era of peace and stability, this pattern needs to change," Abdullah said.
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