Rajnath Singh reaches J&K for an official 2-day visit

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his current trip to J&K may have given the dialogue with Kashmiri separatist leaders a miss, but rather, he seemed to have sent some positive vibes to the Kashmiri youth.

From stone pelters to sportspersons, Singh apparently wanted to bond with the young and restless of the valley.

While addressing a gathering of nearly 5,000 sportspersons from the state in Srinagar on Thursday, Singh said that he is seeing a 'new dawn emerge' from the state and that the talent and enthusiasm of Kashmiri youth is unparalleled.

Be it was clicking a selfie with 10 year old kickboxing champion, Tajamaul Islam or announcement of over Rs 100 crore package for building sports infrastructure in the valley, the Centre is keen on reshaping the thought process of the Kashmiri youth.

The youth in Kashmir have been centre to the current wave of violence especially with the stone pelting incidents on a rise.

More than 30 have been killed in Kashmir violence

But, the BJP led government at the centre seems to have gone ahead with its decision of granting amnesty to 4,500 stone pelters even as various intelligence agencies opposed the move. Street protests by the youth often result in civilian casualties, which further aggravates the tension and hostilities with the armed forces.

Singh while addressing the sportspersons conclave said that his government wants to replace Tabahi( destruction) in the valley with Tarrqi (development). These gestures seem to be in line with the recent statement of J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti where she said that she wants to replace the stone in a Kashmiri youth's hand with a bat and ball.

But is winning the youth over an alternative to the dialogue with the Hurriyat leaders?

Veteran journalist and political commentator, Mohammad Sayeed Malik believes it cannot be so.

The ultimate objective remains talks. A dialogue with all the stakeholders is imperative to sustainable peace in Kashmir. But all these initiaves are steps to building a conducive atmosphere so that talks will be held.

He told the International Business Times, India that these are essentially the same confidence building measures (CBMs) which was agreed upon by the coalition partners, PDP and BJP.

"The situation in the valley needs to be normalized and the violence brought down so that talks begin. The extension of Ramzan ceasefire, creating opportunities for youth, and amnesty to stone pelters are the steps to building a peaceful atmosphere," Malik said.