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Updated: August 2, 2010 11:45 IST

Anti-socials fomenting trouble: Omar

Special Correspondent
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A protester throws a stone on a burning vehicle during the funeral procession of a youth, who was allegedly killed in a clash with police, on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday.
A protester throws a stone on a burning vehicle during the funeral procession of a youth, who was allegedly killed in a clash with police, on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday.

With violence across Kashmir Valley escalating, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday appealed to the people to rise to the occasion to restore peace and normality in the region.

Mr. Abdullah said the prevailing situation in the Valley was worrisome. Some anti-social elements were hell-bent on fomenting trouble, mayhem and bloodshed in the Valley to satiate their political designs. “We should not provide any excuse or opportunity to the anti-social elements who want to build their castles on the blood of innocent youth. Such anti-social elements would not be allowed to play havoc with the lives of the people.”

He said children's education was the first casualty of the prevailing situation. “Our children are not able to pursue their studies. Their future is at stake and under such circumstances, they will not be able to compete,” Mr. Abdullah said and appealed to parents not to allow anybody to play with the future of their children.

Mr. Abdullah made a passionate appeal to the people of all shades to come together not for the sake of politics or power but for the sake of the people of Kashmir and their well being. “From day one, I have advocated withdrawal of the AFSPA and phased reduction of the Army from the Valley, but for that a conducive atmosphere is a must,” he said.

Referring to the problems of the youth, Mr. Abdullah said: “They are angry and I understand their anger… I am looking forward to a better future for them.” Unemployment is the single biggest issue. And the government is committed to providing jobs to the unemployed. He said that in the coming months his government would launch a massive recruitment drive.

Police the main target

The last three days have seen the worst-ever mob violence in Kashmir, with angry youth destroying state property at will. The situation has left the police defenceless.

In the latest phase of the violent agitation, which started with the killing of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo on June 17 in police action, the police are the main target. Since Friday, at least six police stations have come under mob attack.

Saving them from destruction came at a heavier price of shooting, which left many dead and injured. But the protesters did burn down the Special Operations Group's camp in Kreeri township in Baramulla. An outhouse of the police station in Pattan was also torched along with a vehicle.

Scores of policemen, including a Superintendent of Police and his junior colleague, were injured. “Some of them have been disabled for life,” a senior police officer said. He said that though they belonged to Kashmir, the policemen were being targeted as they were considered to be “agents of the government.”

“It is the worst-ever crisis I think we as police personnel are facing. We have to protect the government interests and property and at the same time we live in the society and have to live here,” a top official, pleading anonymity, told The Hindu.

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