Srinagar: Just a few months back youths in Kashmir used to turn out in huge numbers to fight pitched battles with the security forces in the state amidst a renewed period of violence.
On Wednesday too hundreds of youths assembled outside a security force camp in Srinagar; but this time the motive was different – to secure a job as constable with the state police.
The state has a high unemployment rate and the scene would not have attracted much attention in normal circumstances. But the fact that many of these youths were believed to be involved in clashes with police last summer makes today’s development notable.
This time the police held an on-the-spot recruitment drive, which was mainly confined to residents of Khanyar area in the old city, here.
Khanyar area includes some highly volatile localities
where stone-pelters had engaged police and CRPF in running
battles during the five-month-long unrest in the Valley last
The youths now want their share in employment in the
"I am here because I have nothing to do. I completed
my graduation in 2004 and since then I am unemployed," said
27-year-old Sajad Ahmad Shah.
He admitted that creation of employment opportunities
could help in containing stone-pelting but said unemployment
was not the reason behind such an exercise.
"More employment avenues can stop stone-pelting but
why stones are pelted is a different issue," Shah said.
Faisal Ahmad, who did not meet the minimum height
standard to appear in the recruitment drive, said he had come
because he wanted a secure job.
"There is an advantage with it (police), you get a
proper pay," he said, adding "I work as a daily-wager in a
furniture workshop and the amount I earn is not enough to
sustain my family."
All the youths, who appeared in the recruitment drive,
denied to have participated in the stone-pelting but a CRPF jawan
on duty at the camp claimed he had identified at least 100
youths who had indulged in stone-pelting in different parts of
"I saw around 100 boys who were stone-pelters and I
have seen them (hurling stones) at Nowhatta, Khanyar and near
Islamia College," said constable Raj Kumar, posted in Kashmir
for the past six years.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SM Sahai, said
"if there is a criminal case against anyone, he will not be
recruited in the force".
"The exact number of youths who will be recruited will
be decided by the response and quality of the people we get.”
"There is nothing unusual in the recruitment drive as
we carry it out in areas which have no representation in the
police department," the IGP said.
(With PTI inputs)