5,500 first-time stone pelters may get amnesty: Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid

Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid said the government was mulling to give amnesty to 5,500 first-time offenders for their alleged involvement in stone-pelting incidents in 2016-17.

The ‘Operation All Out’ that started in 2017 to wipe out militancy, Vaid said, was a holistic approach, which included counselling the misguided youth to shun violence and rehabilitation of local militants.

In 2017, Vaid said 206 militants, including 85 locals, were killed, while as many as 75 youths were brought back from the “clutches of terrorism” and seven militants shunned arms and rejoined the society. Over 110 locals joined militant ranks in 2017.

“Things are much better than 2016. Very soon people of J&K will get rid of terrorism and violence. We must give chance to those who are ready to come back. They are our own children. I am very hopeful that peace is returning,” Vaid told reporters here.

J&K government has already announced amnesty for 634 first-time offenders involved in alleged stone-pelting cases in 2008-09 and for 4,327 youths involved in cases from 2010-2014.

Even though the number of locals joining militant ranks crossed over 100 last year, police said they managed to break the back of militants by targeting their leadership. Around 15 top commanders from HM, LeT and JeM were killed in 2017.

“This year (2017) we started operating in areas where we could not go for the last two years. We would face stiff resistance there. However, the situation is different now. During the course of encounters there were some civilian casualties due to crossfire. We have been appealing to people to not go to encounter sites,” inspector general of police Muneer Khan said.

Economic Times