The amount of stone-pelting in Kashmir has reduced by 90 percent in 2017 as per the chief of the Jammu and Police S P Vaid, and slowly the stone-pelters, especially the youth and first time offenders are integrating back into society.
The 21-year-old Afshan Ashiq gained prominence when she was photographed by media last year, angrily pelting stones at security forces.
Instead of pursuing a life of protest and violence, Afshan channelled her energy towards sports. A football lover, Afshan is now the captain of Jammu and Kashmir's all-woman football team and dreams of becoming a national level football player. Her life story may soon become a biopic as a renowned Bollywood filmmaker is planning to make a film on her life.
"I don’t want to look back. My life has changed forever. I want to be an achiever and do something to make the state and the nation proud," said Afshan.
On Tuesday, Afshan met with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the need for sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir.
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"When we told the home minister that Jammu and Kashmir lacks sports infrastructure, he immediately called up the Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and requested her to do the needful to help us," Afshan said.
"The minister also told us that Rs 100 crore had already been sanctioned (under the Prime Minister's special package) for the state," the captain of the CM’s-XI team told PTI.
After meeting Afshan and her team, Rajnath Singh tweeted, "Met the young and energetic girls of J&K’s first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age ‘Gender Benders’ these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future."
Met the young and energetic girls of J&K’s first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age ‘Gender Benders’ these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future. pic.twitter.com/3ZlMwhzkXm— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 5, 2017
During the meeting with Rajnath, team members conveyed that with proper sports infrastructure in the state, the youth would have an outlet for their energy and nobody would join terrorism.
Team manager Tsering Angmo, hailing from Ladakh said, "With proper infrastructure in place, the youth can take up sports to nourish their talents and no one can brainwash anyone. No one will join terrorism or indulge in stone pelting."