‘Guns, stones give nothing to Kashmir’

JAMMU, February 8 (Agencies): Guns and stones have given nothing to the people of Kashmir Valley “except death and destruction”, says senior political leader and Agriculture Minister Ghulaam Hassan Mir, adding that he believes the youth of the valley can change the destiny of the people through positive thinking and action. Mir has called for “a shift in the strategy” in the Kashmir Valley that saw a violent summer last year, to achieve a “place of dignity for the people of Kashmir”.
At a time when there is a clamour for the reduction of troops and withdrawal of the special powers of the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Mir has been holding meetings in the state and particularly in the Valley on his campaign for a “shift in the strategy”. Mir, who is president of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Nationalist Party which he formed after parting ways with the Peoples Democratic Party in 2008, is asking people to “take their frontline role in decision making of the state by channelising their skills through technology, economy and education, as the guns and stones have delivered nothing to the people of the Valley except death and destruction”.
Talking about his campaign, Mir said: “This is the outcome of ground realities on the situation. Today our youth are struggling to find government jobs, and the reality is that there are not enough jobs to accommodate all of them. Hence, the frustration drives them to those who exploit them.” “They (youth) have been exploited for the past several years and in the past more than 20 years what we have seen is the extension of the frustration. The problems have multiplied. A campaign based on emotions was launched and the consequence of that is that there are more security forces and more laws and the struggle has been reduced to seek their withdrawal,” he said, referring to the armed insurgency that was launched in 1989 and till date has claimed more than 50,000 lives and displaced more than a million of the population in Jammu & Kashmir.
“The youth in Kashmir have the capability to excel in the fields of economy, education and technology and find a role in the decision making process through competition,” Mir said, and cited the example of Shah Faesal who topped the list of IAS candidates last year and three others from the state who made it to the civil services. Ridiculing the separatist propaganda that the international community was pressuring India to offer concessions on Kashmir, Mir said the fact of the matter was that “President Barack Obama of the United States and heads of the state and governments of four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council visited India, a recognition of the importance of the nation in the international sphere, and none of them spoke about Kashmir.”
Mir said that he “trusts the youth of Kashmir” and they “alone can change the destiny of the people of Kashmir through positive thinking and action and I see the signs of that already emerging on the landscape of Kashmir”. The summer of 2010 saw more than four months of violent unrest, triggered by the death of teenager Tufail Mattoo in June after being hit by a teargas shell. More than 100 people were killed in clashes with security forces.