Stressing that generations have been destroyed due to unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Tuesday exhorted students in the state to choose laptops and books to "help end the cycle of violence."
Addressing a group of Kashmiri students who were supported by the Army and have cleared the IIT entrance examination, he said their success was not an easy feat and they have now become a "shining example for the youth in the Valley."
Referring to his stints in Jammu and Kashmir, which has in the recent past seen rising incident of stone pelting, Rawat said his first posting in the state was in 1981-82 when the "situation was good."
The situation started deteriorating during his second posting between 1991 and 1993, the Army chief said, noting that he also had stints in J&K from 2006-2008 and then from 2010-12.
"I have seen the situation. How many generations will see this gunfire and smoke from explosives?" he asked.
"Generations have been destroyed due to this. The fear that has set in the mind of people of Kashmir and the youth… (that) a militant or the security forces will come. So you have militants on one side and security forces on the other. How long will we stay in this atmosphere. We have to put an end to it. We wish that peace is restored there and we carry out our daily work without any problem," Rawat said.
He also said that the recent spell of unrest has led to decline in tourism in the Valley.
"Kashmir is heaven. We have to again bring it to that level which was there before. The world flocks to see the Valley, but people are not able to come because of the tension," he said.
He also asked students to return to their roots after they complete their studies and help in the development of the state to alleviate the hardships faced by the people.
"They (the youth) should either have a laptop or a book. Whatever time they get they should devote to studies," Rawat said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Army said its Kashmir Super-40 initiative for coaching the J&K youth for engineering entrance examination (IIT-JEE) "broke all previous records when nine students of its 2016-17 batch cracked the highly-competitive and prestigious IIT-JEE advance."
"The success achieved this year was overwhelming 40 per-cent where nine out of batch of 36 (31 boys, five girls) qualified, surpassing the best of IIT coaching centers in India," the statement read. "28 students, including two girls, had previously qualified in IIT-JEE Mains, the first step of selection process, in April 2017. 24 successful students of Army's Kashmir-Super 40 accompanied by Maj Gen R P Kalita, GOC Dagger Division interacted with the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, at Army HQ Delhi on 13th June 2017 wherein they thanked the Army for shaping their careers despite grave challenges in the valley."
The statement said Army chief while appreciating the "courage and commitment" of these students, urged them to "motivate the youth of Kashmir to shun violence and effectively contribute in nation building."
"He promised all help to the deserving youth of Kashmir towards a bright future. The students later met MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh who lauded the efforts of the Army towards constructive engagement of the youth, the statements said.
The 'Kashmir Super-40' coaching program is conducted by Army at Srinagar in coordination with it's training partner, Centre for Social Responsibility and Learning (CSRL) and Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL), since 2013. "This program provides a platform for the underprivileged but talented students of the state to compete at national-level. The 11-month free lodging, boarding and coaching programme is provided to the selected 40 students of J&K at 'Zero Cost'. The students have credited their success to outstanding coaching, personalized guidance and excellent facilities provided at the center. The centre aims to surpass this year's success in 2018 with enhanced batch strength of 50," the statement said.
"The nine successful candidates who have cracked the IIT Advance Exam 2017 are Aqib Amin, M H Mussa, Bashir Ahmed, Nasir Ali, Imtiyaz Hussain Feroz Ahmed, Maisam Ali, Shahid Sultan," the statement read. (PTI/GKNN)