As May 21 would be observed as "anti-terrorism day" across India, New Delhi has asked Jammu and Kashmir to take a pledge on this day to wean away youth from "violence and terrorism" to promote peace.
Though the day is observed as anti-terrorism day across India every year, this time the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), government of India, has modified guidelines to all the states including J&K.
According to order issued by Shri Prakash, Joint Director to Government of India, department of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dated May 4, 2017, sent to Chief Secretaries of all states, including J&K, the main objective behind observing anti-terrorism day on May 21 is to "wean away youth from terrorism and cult of violence."
"Sufferings of common people should be highlighted on this day," the order reads.
The states have been asked to hold debates and discussions in schools, colleges and universities on the issue of "dangers of terrorism and violence."
The order calls for "an anti-terrorism and anti-violence pledge to be taken in all Government offices, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and public institutions."
The states have been asked to observe the day in a "most befitting manner."
"There is a need to mass education program, to highlight ill effects of violence and terrorism; to have imaginative use of prominent personalities and to distribute anti-violence T-shirts," the order reads.
The MHA also lays stress on involving voluntary organisations, social and cultural bodies to have their own programs through lectures, talks, discussions, musical and recitation programs, and cultural programs.
All government offices, PSUs and public institutions have been asked to read this pledge: "We the people of India, having abiding faith in our tradition of non-violence and tolerance, herby solemnly affirm to oppose with our strength, all forms of terrorism and violence. We pledge to hold and promote peace, social harmony and understanding among all fellow human beings and fight the forces of disruption threatening human lives and values."
Sources said the modification in MHA guidelines with regard to observing anti-terrorism day comes in the wake of recent protests by the students in various colleges and schools in Kashmir.
In Kashmir, May 21 coincides with the martyrdom anniversaries of late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone. On the same day in 1991, the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated.
A senior official of a Deputy Commissioner's rank told Greater Kashmir that Kashmir has never observed anti-terrorism day at district level.
"I haven't seen any major official function in connection with anti-terrorism day in my tenure. Holding seminars in schools, colleges, and universities, about this day is totally a new thing to me."