Javid AhmadSrinagar, Nov 10
Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid, Friday said that police’s sports initiative was aimed at keeping away youth from taking to drugs and violence in Kashmir.
The state police chief was speaking at the inauguration of annual state-level Police Martyrs Memorial Football Tournament-2017, which is being played at Synthetic Turf ground, TRC Srinagar’s till 19 November. “It is our effort to bring youth into constructive activities. This is to keep them away from wrong paths like drug addiction, resorting to violence. Some elements don’t want ‘a good Kashmir’, but want to push our next generation towards the wrong path,” DGP Vaid said and added, “ Police effort is to keep away youth from the wrong path and provide them with a platform where they can build their physique and bring laurels to their parents and state.”
The Football tournament is being organised “in memory” of policemen killed while fighting militancy in Valley and 24 teams are participating in the tournament. The yearly-tournament remained suspended during past nearly four years due to prevailing precarious Kashmir atmosphere.
“Due to devastating floods in 2014 followed by law and order problem in previous years, we were unsuccessful in organizing this tournament,” Vaid said. “Although, we expected more teams to take part in the event but due to bad weather the participation was less. I hope next year, over 60 teams would participate in this tournament.”
Kashmir Valley was devastated by floods in September 2014 in which hundreds were killed and property destroyed while a civil unrest post killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Commander, Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 08 2016, witnessed nearly hundred deaths. Thousands were injured and hundreds blinded by pellets fired by forces to quell protests and stone pelting on streets in Valley.
The tournament was started in 1998 in memory of inspector Mushtaq Ahmad Baba, then station house officer of Kothibag, Srinagar, who was killed in a militant attack on 31 October 1997.
DGP informed that Ministry of Home affairs has given nod for construction of three more Astroturf grounds in Kashmir—one each in south, central and north Kashmir. He said sites for construction of these playgrounds were being explored. “In Srinagar, a site has been proposed near police public school while in south Kashmir some two sites have been proposed, including one in Awantipora Police Line. Third Turf ground would come up in Handwara in north Kashmir.”
“Football is a popular game in Kashmir. It is an effort by police to provide a platform to budding players to showcase their talent at the national and international level,” DGP said.
“If energy of youth is channelized in constructive activities, there is no doubt they would remain safe from falling prey to drugs and going towards a wrong away,” Vaid said. DGP said there was a huge decrease in incidents of stone pelting in Kashmir.
“I can’t give figures, almost a week...week passes peacefully without any stone pelting incident. There is a huge decrease in stone pelting incidents,” he said.
Police has been conducting various sports events under civic action programme to help “channelize minds of youth in a positive manner” in Kashmir Valley and keep them away “from joining militancy.”