JAMMU: National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday expressed concern over growing inclination among Jammu and Kashmir youth towards militancy, saying shrinking of space has pushed them to the wall, a statement issued here said.
“Compared to just a dozen or more youth drawn towards militancy in a span of years during my tenure as Chief Minister, far more than this number are taking to arms on monthly basis”, Mr Omar Abdullah said while addressing a day-long convention of Youth National Conference, Jammu Region at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here.
Omar described increase in terror related violence as alarming and disturbing, saying terrorism is raising head in the hitherto militancy free areas. “In my tenure, Chenab Valley had been declared as militancy free zone but now the acts of terror are reported from there”, he said and refereed to the killing of a BJP leader in Kishtwar along with his brother, terror attacks in Sunjwan and as latest as recently grenade throwing in busy B. C Road in Jammu. He said terror activities have unfortunately become routine in the Valley and due to lack of vision it is spreading its tentacles in other parts as well.
The former Chief Minister blamed the BJP and PDP for shrinking the space for youth by throttling avenues of jobs for them, resulting in alienation. He particularly referred to most provocative and proactive anti-youth mindset of the former Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti and questioned her moral grandstanding in seeking support of youngsters by expressing so-called remorse over mayhem unleashed by her government against them to placate the BJP. “Ms Mufti must not mistake public memory too short, as not to remember her 2016 doctrine that the guns in the hands of the security forces were not just for showcasing but using”, he said and referred to killing and maiming of teenagers.
Mr Omar Abdullah sought an end to youth alienation by engaging them in positive pursuits and reiterated the commitment of National Conference to work for carving out vistas of opportunities for them. He lauded the spirit of public service among youth participating in the convention and described them as hope of the extended NC family.
“We owe our youth a peaceful, progressive and inclusive Jammu and Kashmir for bequeathing to the posterity”, Mr Omar Abdullah said, adding the NC cadre will have to work overtime to retrieve the state of yesteryears when people used to live in harmony. He said he was aware of youth problems and resolute to solving these once National Conference is provided an opportunity to serve the state. He lamented that initiatives like Himayat, Udaan and SKEPWY initiated between 2009 and 2014 were either abandoned or pushed to back-burner by the PDP-BJP government, depriving youth of the job openings. He said whatever little jobs were provided in their misrule of three and half years, have gone to their kin, relatives or favourites but not to the genuine, deserving and poor educated unemployed.
National Conference Vice President said youth were being ignored and just misled by false promises. In this context, he made a mention of BJP government’s proposed bill on 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to economically weak segments in the general category across the country and questioned intentions of the Centre.
“If BJP was really sincere towards youth, why such a bill has been slated for the last day of Parliament Session”, he asked and advised BJP not to test the sagacity of people who understand the motivation behind such move. He said the BJP has a definite game-plan to generate passions in case the bill faces rough weather in Parliament or does not stand to the scrutiny of courts. “The BJP design in such an eventuality is to tell to the people that they had brought the bill, which was not allowed to sail through”, he added.
Mr Omar Abdullah criticized BJP for playing with the public sentiment by making one after another promise and dared it to explain one of the commitments, be it jobs or implementation of welfare schemes, having been kept. He said due to lack of vision the traders, the business establishments, the industrialists, the peasants etc are suffering.
The NC Vice President complimented youth and the organizers for holding the convention and urged them to gear up for the challenges ahead. He said youth have to play a crucial role in the upcoming elections by ensuring massive mandate for the National Conference, which is visible in every nook and corner of the state. He said power is not destination for the party but it is means to serving them. He called for booth level management in the elections and hoped the youth will successfully shoulder their responsibilities.
National Conference General Secretary Mr Ali Mohammed Sagar, recalled the various initiatives taken for betterment of youth during the tenure of Mr Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister and said the party will continue to work towards assuaging their urges and aspirations. He said youth have been worse sufferers of the PDP-BJP’s misrule for over three years. “This trend is to be reversed by ensuring massive mandate to National Conference”, he added.
Provincial President Mr Devender Singh Rana said that the youth have many hopes with the NC leadership in general and Mr Omar Abdullah in particular, especially as they were left in lurch during the past few years by the PDP and the BJP.
Former minister Mian Altaf Ahmed also addressed the Convention and lauded youth for their commitment to the policies and programmes of National Conference.
Highlighting problems of youth, Provincial Youth National Conference President Mr Ajaz Jan said that youth of the State in general and the Jammu region in particular were determined to bring about a change and have a strong and stable government in the State under Mr Omar Abdullah.
“A strong government alone can meet the challenges and aspirations of youth”, Mr Jan said.
The convention was addressed by functionaries of the provincial and district level committees.
Besides functionaries of the YNC of the Jammu region, senior leaders, former ministers, legislators and heads of various party wings were present on the occasion.