The three regions that made up the former state of Jammu and Kashmir were distinguished from one another by their values in terms of religion, culture and tradition. Only sports could bring them together. The administration has traditionally used sports as a tool for reaching out to and reengaging Kashmiri youth. In Jammu and Kashmir, we typically think of winter sports when we discuss sports. The reality is that this state has a strong sporting culture that extends beyond winter sports. In addition to many adventure sport divisions, Jammu and Kashmir has a cricket and a football team. The state is home to the highest golf course in the world and the most fishing holes in the nation. International sports facilities are particularly interested in the Great Tibetan Marathon, which is held annually at a height of 3500 metres. However, the young who had begun harbouring ambitions of pursing sports as their carrier have lowered their hopes due to the lack of sports activities at ground zero after August 5, 2019. 69 percent of J&K’s population is under the age of 25. Teenagers are more likely than adults to associate with radical causes, which further radicalises the youth. Since August 5, 2019, no one has attempted to engage with those who have been joining terrorist outfits. The average age of youth in Kashmir who become terrorists have been found to be below 30.
The J&K Police’s initiative to contact the “misguided” teenagers again is commendable, nevertheless. Sports events at Ground Zero could aid in thwarting such actions. Long ago, the J&K government established the Youth Services & Sports department (YS&S) and J&K State Sports Council (JKSSC) to develop young people and give them a platform to succeed in sports on a national and international scale. While the JKSSC previously served as both an advisory and an administrative body, the primary responsibility of the YS&S is to guarantee that physical education teachers are deputed to government-run schools. Previously, the government would nominate JKSSC members every four years. Before July 2018, the government, through JKSSC, involved young people in a variety of sports events, from coaching camps to the biggest sports carnival ever and implementing the Khelo India Scheme at the village and block levels in 18 different districts of the state.
The J&K State Sports Council has launched a number of initiatives to advance sports in the region. The Council conducts coaching classes in various fields such as football, volleyball, basketball, handball, cricket, hockey, table tennis, badminton, athletics, weightlifting, judo, gymnastics, kho kho, kabbadi, boxing, wrestling, fencing, skiing, yoga, thang-ta-wushu etc. Regular skiing courses are also organised at Gulmarg. In addition, the Council organises various residential coaching camps so as to prepare the state teams for zonal and national meets. The transportation, boarding, lodging etc of the trainees are borne by the authorities. The Council provides infrastructural and financial assistance to recognised Sports Associations in the state. Matching financial assistance is also provided to the recognised State Sports Associations for hosting of zonal or national level championship within J & K. The goal is to increase the calibre of sports in the state by winning a championship. The Council rewards top performers in the state in a variety of ways. They also suggest athletes for several state honours.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has established numerous prizes that motivate athletes, coaches, and sports organisations in an effort to promote the region’s sports culture. Kashmir Sports Watch, a sports publication launched in 2015, has more than 10,000 subscribers. For such a small state in northern India, Jammu & Kashmir already has 18 stadiums and 23 training facilities dispersed throughout the state as of 2022. Jammu & Kashmir is blessed with snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and pleasant weather, making winter sports particularly popular there. In J&K, skiing, snow baseball, ice hockey, and snowshoeing are all common winter activities. Skiing is a fairly common pastime, particularly in the winter. Skiing is best enjoyed in Gulmarg and Pahalgam, and the region has previously hosted India’s national winter games. So Jammu and Kashmir’s “Indian Alps” are the ideal vacation spot for anyone who appreciates winter sports! Youth energies of an otherwise anarchic young generation were expressed through the enthusiasm and excitement that was developed at that time among youth, especially in the age range of under 14 and under 17. The efforts to uphold and promote peace and security can benefit greatly from the involvement of youth.
The youth could be a key component of sustainability and inclusion and could play a significant role in preventing and fixing the terrorism problem. This might result in the region’s peace building and peacekeeping initiatives being successful. Senior dignitaries and senior army officers have lauded the youth of J&K for their immense potential and capacity and said that the Indian Army had given them a platform to demonstrate their cricketing skills and get ready for a career in sports at the state and national levels. White Knight Cricket Premier League, the Indian Army’s first tournament in the Jammu region, was played over the course of a month and featured intense competition between 10 district teams from the Jammu region of J&K. Sports and activities have always been emphasised by the Indian Army.
With mutual efforts of administration and security forces the fifth season of the Kashmir Premier League has started in order to involve the youth of the Kashmir Valley in different sporting events. The Kashmir Premier League had participation from more than 3200 young people. Around 200 teams from the entire valley took part. In the first round, 10 clubs out of 200 were selected to compete in the final of the Kashmir Premier League in 2022. The Kashmir Premier League was established with the goal of providing young people with a platform to pursue sports as a career, stay away from terrorism, and protect them from drugs and other immoral activities. The Indian Army also put up Jashn-E-Janoob, a sporting event, to encourage Kashmir’s youngsters to participate in sports and lessen militancy in the region. Jashn-E-Janoob, a 15-day celebration, took place in August 2021. Numerous young people enthusiastically participated in the festival and displayed their prowess in Kabaddi, Running, and Martial Arts, among other sports. By constructing cutting-edge facilities and implementing a new sports policy for the Union Territory,
The Central government is attempting to showcase J&K into a destination for athletes. 500 athletes, according to the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, have won medals at various national competitions. The infrastructure for sports has undergone a massive revolution in Jammu & Kashmir. Many new stadiums that meet international standards have been built, and many more are being constructed in other Union Territory districts. Young people in Jammu and Kashmir have been inspired to pursue sports as a career by the state’s Sports Council. Increasing inclusion and social cohesion is necessary for the prevention of radicalisation and terrorism. By creating social capital, assisting in community mobilisation, and encouraging social inclusion and solidarity, sports can play a unique role. By bringing people together across boundaries, ethnicities, and religions, sports can be used as a tool to combat terrorism, radicalisation, and social unrest as well as to promote peace, tolerance, and understanding. Sports have long been regarded as beneficial for promoting communication and creating barriers between different communities. Sports and games could offer a venue for counter-radicalisation when it comes to a serious threat of radicalisation.