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CM holds security meet, advocates healing touch towards youth

Srinagar: The worsening security situation in Kashmir was discussed today at a high-level meeting where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the forces to exercise restraint and advocated a “healing touch” towards “our own youth” caught in the cycle of violence.

She said youth engagement should be prioritized rather than viewing it as a routine law and order issue and asked the security agencies to improve interface with the public to allay people’s apprehensions and misgivings about the system.

She was chairing a meeting of the Unified Command Headquarters, the multi-agency security body, here against the backdrop of spiralling protests and violence in the Kashmir valley over the last few weeks.

“The youth unfortunately caught in the cycle of violence are our own youth who ought to be won over with healing touch,” Mehbooba said at the meeting attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and top officials of the state government, the army and the paramilitary forces.

“The Chief Minister directed the security agencies to exercise restraint while dealing with provocative situations,” an official said.

She said that wherever restraint had been exercised, it had shown positive results on the ground for the government and helped in maintaining peace and order.

Advocating holding of counseling sessions for the youth, Mehbooba said it would not only help allay their apprehensions and misgivings about the system but would also give the security agencies a chance to reach out to people through community policing, the official said.

She said youth engagement should be prioritized rather than viewing it as a routine law and order issue and directed that care should be taken to avoid and minimize all collateral damage while conducting operations.

“She also directed that parents of the youth be taken into confidence as and when there is some complaint about any youth and in no way should the family be held accountable for the deeds of the said youth,” they added.

Besides the Deputy Chief Minister, the meeting was attended by Chief Secretary B R Sharma, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister B B Vyas, Principal Secretary, Home, R K Goyal, Director General of Police S P Vaid, GoC-in-C of Northern Command Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, Corps Commanders of various Army formations operating in the state; and Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu.

Senior officers of CRPF and BSF were also present in the meeting.

Mehbooba had yesterday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and emphasised the need for a dialogue with separatists to contain deterioration in the situation.

—PTI