Isolation turns J&K youth into stone pelters: Sikka

Isolation is the main reason behind the increasing number of youth turning into stone pelters in Kashmir valley, said Harinder Sikka, a retired officer of the Indian Navy. Photo: Suman Sarkar.

Isolation is the main reason behind the increasing number of youth turning into stone pelters in Kashmir valley, said Harinder Sikka, a retired officer of the Indian Navy.

Sikka, on whose book, Calling Sehmat, the film Raazi was made, spoke to DH on the sidelines of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
 
Sikka's book, which talks about the sacrifice of Sehmat Khan, a young Kashmiri Muslim girl, who takes on a spy mission in Pakistan, believes that there are thousands of Sehmat's who still live in the valley and will die one day unsung. On the increased number of stone pelting incidents in Kashmir, he said, "No mother can sleep when her son throws a stone." Apart from isolation, he cited unemployment as one of the reasons that pushes youngsters into stone pelting. "It's not about lack of employment opportunities in Kashmir but it's about not letting it happen. The state and central governments are responsible for not generating jobs for youth in the valley." He added that peace will return to Kashmir when the Indian government stops spending Rs 8,000 crore, the annual expenditure on terror control. 

'For past many decades, Governments are spending thousands of crores to do tell terror which actually gets shared by all. In simple words, this enormous amount is ensuring that terror stays alive, as a consequence, innocents die", the author added.

Citing the instance of JK cricket team, he said the young players from the valley played so well recently when given an opportunity. "The youngsters after playing T20 matches across India told me that whatever they are given - ball or stone - it's an opportunity, we throw," he said.
 
He said not everyone in Kashmir is a Jehadi (terrorist); it's not good to label everyone because it alienates the people of the valley. "People in Kashmir are united. There is communal harmony. Exodus happened not because of any community but a chunk of people," the author shared his views on the migration of Kashmiri pandits from the valley during the peak of turmoil. 

Sequel ready

Sikka, who is now all set to release his new book 'Remembering Sehmat', a sequel to the first book, said that his latest book talks about Sehmat in last 10 years -- 2008-2018. "The book talks about the extended life of Sehmat, which is still under wraps, the story of her sacrifices, penance, pain, detachment, loneliness and spirituality."

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Isolation turns J&K youth into stone pelters: Sikka

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