Not all youths in Kashmir want to pick up gun: students

Mumbai: Not every youth in Kashmir wants to pick up a gun and only a minuscule number is in favour of secession from India, a group of students from the Valley said here.

The students, who are studying outside their home state, shared their views about the ongoing unrest in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

Since then, the Valley has witnessed worst of unrest with violent clashes erupting between protesters and security forces.

A group of six students, who are currently studying in Pune for the last 13 years were invited by the Mumbai Press Club in association with organisation Sarhad.

“Not every Kashmiri is Burhan Wani. May be only 10 per cent of them want to get ‘Aazadi’. Rest 90 per cent people are concerned about development, employment, education for their children, industrialisation. Unfortunately, nothing of that sort has happened which has resulted in the unrest,” said Javed Ahmad, who is pursuing Masters.

Zahid Bhatt, a resident of Badgam district in Kashmir, said that it was the students who bear the burnt of the violence.

“Since last 20 to 30 years, we have lost our near and dear ones at the hands of either militants or security forces or some other agencies. And the most sad part is that no serious efforts have been made to resolve the issue amicably,” said Bhatt, who is also general secretary of initiative Jago Bharat.

“In our childhood, as a Kashmiri, we had an impression that India is only about Army. But when we came to Pune and received affection from people, our viewpoint about India changed,” he said.

Bhatt said that people of the country also needed to change their perception towards Kashmiris and that Kashmir did not only mean the land of militancy.

“One of the root causes of unrest persistent in the Valley is unemployment. If the youth get job, they would get engaged in routine affairs. They would not take to streets and pelt stones at the army,” said Mushtaque Ahmad, a student who hails from Kupwara district.