Police Creates 'counter-rebels' To Check Stone Throwing16 May 2010
Srinagar: In a new strategy to combat stone pelting, the Jammu and Kashmir Police is wooing the youth and even made some of them Special Police Officers (SPOs) to let them deal with their former partners in stone pelting. Atleast 85 former stone pelters and now SPOs have been deployed in sensitive areas to deal with the stone pelters. Stone-pelting has for long been part of Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape and a chronic problem. “A massive exercise was undertaken at the police station level to identify the youth, who were engaging in stone- pelting,” sources said. A senior government official said during the survey, it was found there were three categories of stone-pelters - skilled unemployed youngsters, students and unskilled unemployed youths. “Many youth, who had made a profession out of stone-pelting in the Valley, were now being inducted as SPOs. 85 of such youth were deployed in areas that are prone to stone-pelting to deal with the menace. Ever since their deployment, the incidents of stone-pelting have come down drastically,” he said. The official said, “A computer hacker knows the mind of a hacker. Similarly, we experimented by employing those indulging in stone pelting to counter stone pelting. The result is definitely encouraging”. Officials said to prevent youth from being weaned away by separatists, nearly 3,100 youth in various parts of Valley were called to local police stations. “They were given computer and vocational training to help earn livelihood while some 1,800 student 'pelters' were sent on 'Bharat Darshan' tours,” they said. The screening process, according to them, was done in a meticulous manner. “The vocational training and the trip outside the State has opened the eyes of many youth, who have understood the futility of ‘playing into the hands of separatists’,” they said. Police has already booked 100 youth under Public Safety Act for their alleged involvement in the stone pelting.