Jammu, Jan 12 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today expressed hope that the AMU student who is said to have joined Hizbul Mujahideen would return home and continue his studies.Also Read - Separatist Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani Dies: Curfew-like Restrictions Imposed in Kashmir, Mobile Internet Suspension Likely

The chief minister made the comments while announcing an amnesty scheme for the first-time stone pelters during the motion of thanks on the governor’s address in the state Legislative Council. Also Read - Plan a Trip to These 5 Offbeat Budget-Friendly Retreats in India to Break That Covid Monotony

Mannan Bashir Wani, a resident of Kupwara district who was pursuing his PhD in applied geology from Aligarh Muslim University was last seen at the campus on January 2. A photograph purportedly depicting him wielding arms appeared on social media on January 6. Also Read - Viral Video: Kashmiri Bride Drives Husband to Sasuraal After Vidaai, Hailed For 'Smashing Stereotypes' | Watch

On Monday, Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin was quoted as claiming Wani’s entry into the militant outfit.

“His (Wani) class fellows and parents have made an appeal to him to come back. We hope he will come back and join them in studies,” the chief minister said.

Mehbooba also announced withdrawal of cases against 9,000 first-time offenders since 2008, in an effort to reach out to the youth of Kashmir.

“It (the cases) makes difficult for them (the first-time offenders) to get jobs and other benefits. We started the process in 2016, but had to stop it due to the unrest (triggered by the killing of Burhan Wani).

“Once the FIRs are withdrawn, they should study and live a normal life as a common man,” she said.

Mehbooba informed the House that she has asked the police to help the local boys, who have joined militant ranks, to return to their families and friends.

“It’s my endeavour to bring them back and ensure no harassment to them. Many have come back, but I regret the glorification of violence by some people on social media,” she told the House.

“I am happy that children are respecting their parents’ call, understanding their pain and returning home. Once they return, we do not call them to police stations and they go straight to their homes,” she said.

Mehbooba said another initiative was taken to rehabilitate those who were injured by pellet guns in 2016, by providing them financial help and government jobs.

Terming dialogue as “the only way ahead”, the chief minister said the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor last year was a “major decision” to undertake sustained dialogue in the state.

“He (Sharma) has been working in J&K for two-three months and saying that he wants to talk to everyone and visit everyone’s home. (But) there is no response.

“What can we do? We are in favour of talks. Let people come forward for talks,” she said, adding that the need of the hour is to get the state out of the vicious cycle of violence.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.