From Guru's Hometown Sopore, Jairam Pledges Assimilation Of Kashmir Youth

From Guru's Hometown Sopore, Jairam Pledges Assimilation Of Kashmir Youth

6 April 2013
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: In a major political statement to assert that Kashmir is back on tracks following execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Union rural minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday visited the valley's most protest-prone district and separatists' bastion Sopore, also Guru's native place, in north Kashmir. Addressing a gathering at a premises of Himayat centre at Sopore town, 55 kilometres north of Srinagar, Ramesh reached out to the valley youth with a fresh pledge. 'During the current year 15,000 youth of Jammu and Kashmir would be imparted training and provided employment in private companies under Himayat. Around nine lakh women will be organised under Umeed scheme,' said Ramesh, who concluded his three-day visit to the valley on Saturday. He said the valley women will be trained in 90,000 Mahila Shayita Sumoh (Women Self Help Groups) during the next five years under Umeed in four blocks of Lar, Khanshahib, Basholi and Chenani. Aimed at mass assimilation of Kashmir youth into mainstream, the Union minister said the relocation allowance for youth working in companies outside the state under Himayat has been enhanced from Rs. 1000 for two months to Rs. 2000 for six months each employee. 'Every youth completing one year service in private company under Himayat would be given computer tablet,' he said. It was first ever visit by any senior politician to Sopore ever since Guru's hanging, which left Kashmir in a cycle of protests and curfews for weeks together. Though there was a separatist shutdown on Saturday, the volatile Sopore saw no major incident during the presence of Ramesh, who was accompanied by chief minister Omar Abdullah. It was Abdullah's first visit too after Guru's hanging on February 9. There was a minor stone pelting incident away from the venue. Sopore is also home town of Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Assuring safe stay of youth outside, Abdullah said, 'The state government overnment would be in continuous touch with other states. Besides the government is keeping liaison with citizens of Jammu and Kashmir working outside.' The chief minister stressed on youth to shun inhibitions of working outside. 'There is vast field available in the country for them to earn their livelihood and prove their talent and mettle. Minor incidents of scuffle between Kashmiris and outsiders during day to day life process outside the state should not be given different colour and blown out of the proposition,' said Abdullah. Himayat and Umeed, both central schemes, were launched in 2011 after the valley witnessed three consecutive years of street violence, mainly participated by youth, mostly unemployed. On Friday, the Union minister promised that the ambitious projects, Umeed for empowerment of women and Himayat for capacity building and employment of youth, would be soon extended to all 143 rural development blocks in the state.