The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday withdrew cases against 4,327 youths, mainly first-time stone-throwers involved in 744 cases of disturbing law and order in the past one year.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced the decision after a high-powered committee, headed by Director-General of Police S.P. Vaid, submitted its report to her in Jammu.Regular monitoringAn official spokesman said cases against these youths stood withdrawn. “The DGP has been asked to regularly monitor the progress in the matter and furnish a fortnightly report,” reads the communication from the Home Department to the DGP. An official spokesman said the decision “marks the revival of the process of withdrawal of cases started by Ms. Mufti immediately after taking over last year”.In the past, the Mufti government set a process of reviewing cases against youths involved in incidents from 2008 to 2014. “The process, unfortunately, got disrupted due to the continued violence and unrest in the latter part of last year,” the spokesman said.A total of 848 cases, involving 4,957 youths, had been withdrawn since last year. “She [the Chief Minister] is committed to withdrawing cases against youths found ‘not involved in heinous crimes’,” said the spokesman.The release of first-time stone-throwers was also recommended by the Government of India’s Special Representative on J&K, Dineshwar Sharma, who completed his first visit in the second week of November. He later made a presentation before the Union Home Ministry in Delhi.“The decision is a ray of hope for these young boys and their families. It is an opportunity for them to rebuild their lives,” Ms. Mufti said. She hoped the decision would help in creating “a positive and conciliatory atmosphere” in the State.