Why The Visit Of GOC Kilo Force Maj Gen Salaria Is Hugely Significant For Palhalan

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Why The Visit Of GOC Kilo Force Maj Gen Salaria Is Hugely Significant For Palhalan

Gayatri Mohan

On December 10, Palhalan, a village in North Kashmir, had an unusual guest. It was Maj Gen SS Salaria, GOC Kilo Force.

Those who are not familiar with Kashmir will not understand the significance of the GOC’s visit. But the people of the village know why the GOC coming to Palhalan is hugely important for them.

The visit of the GOC is proof that Palhalan has come a long way from its tumultous years. It is now ready to join hands with the rest of Kashmir for growth and development. Palhalan is ready to leave its dark past behind and move on.

Palhalan’s Dark History

Palhalan, situated in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, is Kashmir’s largest village. It also has the highest population for any single village in Kashmir.

Unfortunately, Palhalan had a dark reputation for long. It was once infamous as the ‘City of Hurriyat G’. In fact, the youth of the village ran a very highly followed Facebook page by that name in 2010.

For decades, Palhalan was marked by volatile response of the people towards any welfare or development initiative of the government. With consistent radicalization and indoctrination, separatists and terror operators made the village a fertile ground for secessionism. Children were misguided from early childhood to be violent towards any and every functionary of the state.

As a result, nobody from the police, the army, other security forces or from any government department could enter the village.

Despite steady government efforts, the situation in Palhalan went from bad to worse. Finally, the government ordered a ten-year ban on any recruitment from Palhalan for the state services.

The Changing Dynamics Of Palhalan

Over the last couple of years, the residents of Palhalan have become aware that they had to pay a price for the rampant violence exhibited by them. They realized that because of the village’s turbulent past, they are being left out of the rapid development and progress happening in the rest of Kashmir.

Due to early indoctrination, a large number of youngsters and even boys in Palhalan face multiple FIRs. The FIRs were registered because the youth were violent towards the security forces or the state functionaries. The state ban on recruitment had led to a feeling of hopelessness among the youth.

The youth have realized that their violent action was the consequence of a highly radicalized and vitiated environment. Many of them realize the gravity of their errors and want to move on now.

‘We Had Never Expected That The GOC Would Visit Our Village’

Speaking to Kashmir Connect, Mr Javed Iqbal, a youth leader and Apni Party leader from the village said that the people had never expected that the GOC would visit them and address their problems. “People are feeling that while the entire Kashmir is surging ahead with new energy, their past is proving to be the impediment for their growth. They want to get rid of the stigma associated with the village. This is why the visit of the GOC is a major validation of their efforts to move on and leave the past behind. The visit of the GOC is proof that the good intentions of the people and their willingness to be part of the developmental process is being recognized and acknowledged,” said Mr Iqbal.

Interaction with GOC At Local School

The interaction of the Panches, Sarpanches, local Imams and other religious leaders and other eminent citizens of Palhalan was organized at the Govt Higher Secondary School in the village.

The display of creative prowess by the students of the school mesmerized the audience. While the school boys fascinated everybody by presenting a Sufi Kalam, the girls were a notch up in terms of singing talent. A song sung in Hindi and Kashmiri in the same breath was a treat to hearts and minds of the audience. Such hidden gems of Palhalan are our future. These are the youth who have broken the shackles of indoctrination and radicalization.

To promote such rare talent, various platforms are being provided to this group of girls. Soon we shall hear them on Radio Chinar 90.4 FM. Indeed, this is a small step for the girls but a giant leap for Palhalan.

The GOC said that he was very happy to see Palhalan on the road to development. He urged the villagers to be steady in their efforts to make Palhalan one of the most progressive villages of Kashmir and emerge as a model village.

The visit of the GOC is proof that Palhalan has come a long way from its tumultous years. It is now ready to join hands with the rest of Kashmir for growth and development. Palhalan is ready to leave its dark past behind and move on

To promote such rare talent, various platforms are being provided to this group of girls. Soon we shall hear them on Radio Chinar 90.4 FM. Indeed, this is a small step for the girls but a giant leap for Palhalan

SEPARATE SECTION

‘By visiting the village, GOC Sahab has acknowledged the positive shift in Palhalan. This shall accelerate the pace of change’

Javed Iqbal

The boys, the youngsters of my village were misguided. They were radicalized by extremist forces. They thought that resistance and antagonism was a suitable response to any welfare initiative of the government, or towards all sarkari officials.

A number of our youth chose violence responses, and FIRs were registered against them. They have realized that they were deliberately led on the wrong path. They want peace, harmony and development now. They want to be given another chance. The youth know that this is possible only if the problem is addressed at the highest level.

The visit of GOC Maj Gen Salaria is a major boost for the youth. They are feeling confident that things can improve. They too can lead a normal life and pursue happy, constructive dreams. There is immense positive change among the youth. By visiting the village, GOC Sahab has acknowledged the positive shift in Palhalan. This shall accelerate the pace of change. I am feeling overwhelmed to observe that my village is finally on the road to development.

By visiting the village, GOC Sahab has acknowledged the positive shift in Palhalan. This shall accelerate the pace of change. I am feeling overwhelmed to observe that my village is finally on the road to development

 

 

 

 

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