Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
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In a first, Rajnath Singh to connect with Valley youths at Kashmir University event

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Move seen as part of peace process initiated by the Centre; home ministry has advised J&K govt to formulate rehab policy for youths who shunned militancy.

New Delhi: In a first, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will speak at an ‘interactive session’ of Kashmir University’s annual Science Congress next month, a move seen as an attempt to push the ongoing peace process in the Valley.

According to sources, Singh has been invited to “speak to the youths” by the university’s vice-chancellor.

“The talks to have the home minister at the university for a session are on and it will be a significant visit if everything goes as planned,” Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s interlocutor for Kashmir, told ThePrint.

The Science Congress is an annual event at Kashmir University, which is attended by research scholars, scientists, social workers, authors and professors from a number of universities from within the state and various parts of the country.

“Though there is no specific theme or topic that has been decided upon, it will be more of an open interaction where the home minister will try to address their concerns and issues,” said an MHA official.

“Though the event is due in the third week of March, his visit depends on the situation in Kashmir at that time,” the official revealed, adding Singh will be the first home minister to address students at the university.

The move appears to be an extension of the Mehbooba Mufti-led government’s amnesty scheme to free first-time stone-pelters and quash cases registered against them.

In the first phase 3,685 youths were given relief and another 9,000 are to be considered by the state government.

The home ministry has also advised the Jammu and Kashmir government to formulate a surrender policy for the youths who joined militancy and provide them with economic rehabilitation to bring them back to the mainstream.

Wajahat Habibullah, former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, called it a “politically significant move”.

“It will definitely send a message to the Indian leadership. Considering that there has been so much dissatisfaction and discontent among youths of Kashmir, it is a good idea, provided the youths are convinced and they get the message,” he said.

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