MHA decides to widen ambit of ‘amnesty’ for Valley youth

In a bid to win hearts and minds of Kashmiri youth involved in various offences including stone pelting, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to widen the ambit of amnesty for Valley youth by asking J&K government to constitute a “high powered committee” that would review and withdraw cases against youth, especially students.
MHA decides to widen ambit of ‘amnesty’ for Valley youth
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In a bid to win hearts and minds of Kashmiri youth involved in various offences including stone pelting, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to widen the ambit of amnesty for Valley youth by asking J&K government to constitute a "high powered committee" that would review and withdraw cases against youth, especially students.

The committee, a reliable source said, will ensure all the cases against the youth are withdrawn and they are allowed to shape their future afresh.

The MHA, according to the source, has also asked the State government to frame new surrender and rehabilitation policy for the youth willing to quit militancy and to prevent youth from taking up arms.

The decision in this regard was taken by MHA top officials in New Delhi on Wednesday and a formal communiqué has also been sent to J&K government. 

A source privy to the move revealed to Greater Kashmir that to help the youth of Kashmir in reshaping their future, a high powered committee will be constituted that would review the cases of youth, including students involved in various offences especially stone pelting. "Students will be primary beneficiaries of this amnesty," the source said.

"The committee will ensure that the cases against the youth are withdrawn forever and their mental agony is removed so that they live with their dreams," the source said. There is already a committee headed by director general of police that is reviewing the cases of stone pelters.

On November 20 last year, J&K police said on the directions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, 4500 cases of first time offenders were under review. 

Mehbooba had made an announcement that youth not having more than one FIR against them would be granted amnesty. However, New Delhi claimed it was their brainchild in a bid to create an atmosphere of reconciliation in the wake of appointment of interlocutor Dineswhar Sharma.

After granting amnesty to almost 4500 stone throwers who were involved in stone pelting in year 2016, the government announced second time amnesty for those involved in stone pelting in year 2008, 2009, 2010, and also in 2017.  According a source the number of youth to be given amnesty has reached 9000. Recently, Chief Minister announced in the State Legislature second time amnesty to those who have more than two charges against them. 

About the new policy for surrender, the MHA has stressed that the policy should entail economic rehabilitation of those who would surrender besides providing the youth skill development training to ensure they can sustain their livelihood.  Since the killing of young militant commander Burhan Wani, on July 8, 2016, a large number of youth joined various militant ranks in Kashmir, especially in the southern parts of Kashmir.

The MHA, as per the source, has also directed the State to set up advisory boards for migrants to address their grievances. "The board will also look into the grievances of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, West Pakistan Refugees, Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) refugees and Chamb refugees putting up in Jammu," the source said.  

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