New Delhi: While pelting stones by Kashmiri youth has become a matter of serious concern for the state government, in a shocking incident, a woman who pelted stones at police recently said she wanted to play football for India.
According to a report in The Times of India, Afshan Ashique, Kashmir’s first female football coach, said even though she pelted stones on CRPF personnel, she wanted to represent the country in football.
“Yes, I pelted stones yesterday. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to play for India,” the 21-year-old said.
The report adds that Afshan was on her way to a playground for practice with 20 other girls when they saw a group of boys pelting stones at police across the road, near Srinagar’s Pratap Park.
While Afshan asked the girls not to panic, things went out of control when one of the cops misunderstood them as stone pelters and slapped one of the girls.
“I told the girls not to panic and asked them to wait. Police misunderstood and assumed that we were there to pelt stones. A cop walked up to us and slapped a girl and called her names. That enraged us. I wanted to stand by the girl, so we all started pelting stones at police,” Afshan added.
The police however had a different version as one of the officers said, “Police and CRPF have been maintaining maximum restraint, which is evident from the fact that no student was hurt.”
While the government is to find an end to the ongoing crisis, Afshan strongly believes that sports could be the solution.
“I am clear in my mind that our future is with India. I debate with stone-pelters and try to persuade them to come to the field and play football instead. The solution to the conflict might emerge from sports,” she said.
Afshan has been playing football for the last five years and has been training over 30 girls under a state government initiative.
Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti is said to have met the top brass of multiple security agencies asking them for counselling of the youth.