De-Radicalisation should be prioritized in Kashmir valley

Certain occurrences in the recent past in Kashmir do not augur well for the future of the youth. A number of instances wherein highly educated youth, including technical graduates and a research scholar, have joined the ranks of the terrorists. The latest report of a soldier of the Indian army, who had deserted his unit, joining the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), is a wakeup call for the nation. There are reports of youth from UP, Telangana and lately Bihar joining terrorist outfits in Kashmir to fight for their cause lured by the appeal of Universal Jihad. Not only that some of the youth has joined, the suicide terror squads loosely referred to as ‘Fidayeen’, a domain which so far was with Pakistani terrorists. Heavy stone-pelting and crowd convergence at the site of counter-terror operations to interfere with operations and facilitate the escape of hard-core terrorists is another worrying phenomenon, though not very new.
With a youth from Assam, working as a garment shop owner, joining the militant ranks, a doubt has been cast on other migrants as well who come from other parts of the country to seek the livelihood. There is growing appeal and support for ISIS ideology as is evident from the beheadings and brutal killings of the local Kashmiris by the terrorists. There are reports to suggest that pro-ISIS women group Daulatul Islam is taking roots in Kashmir. Undoubtedly, the Kashmir of today is much different from the period when the gun surfaced for the first time in the valley. The educated, tech-savvy, well to do youth is leaving his comfort zone behind to swell the terrorist ranks.
The youth from other parts of the country are transgressing geographical barriers to join their Kashmiri brethren spurred by ideological confluence. The number of local youth joining militancy has outnumbered the Pak sponsored jihadists.
Girls and women are openly coming on the streets as stone-pelters and even joining the terrorist outfits. The situation is fast becoming scary and gloomy. If the nation does not act fast and swift to address the root cause which is spreading like cancer, a very major surgery will be needed to avoid amputation of the affected part.
The security forces (SF) have been battling all odds to eliminate terrorism from the valley and have been successful to a great extent. But the trend of youth joining the terrorist ranks has not declined. What is driving the youth towards extremism? The causes are many; socio-economic, socio-political and politico-religious. The latest trend indicates that radicalisation is the causa principal. Therefore, to prevent the state from steering into a gloomy future, there is an urgent need to address the issue of de-radicalisation.
This new trend among the youth is the manifestation of a new breed of jihadists who are brainwashed through social media and by firebrand clerics on the plea that their religion is in danger, the concept of Universal Jihad. They are brainwashed to believe that the only way out is to establish the law of Sharia. They are made to believe that the concepts like a nation-state or democracy are a hoax and a way to suppress the Muslim.
Through mischievous literature and abuse of social media, they are motivated to believe that Jihad is the way for the introduction of Sharia. To put it simply, the youth is being radicalised. The seeds of ‘communalism’ and ‘religious intolerance’ are also being sowed to radicalise the youth. However, the Kashmiri speaking members of the civil society in Kashmir refuse to accept that radicalisation is a religious issue but insist on it being driven by political issues. De-radicalisation is like detoxification and is not a simple process. There is no single solution to detox a radicalised mind. It would need a herculean and sustained effort by all to include, the administration, politicians, clergy and the civil society.
They may be right to some extent because political mismanagement ever since 1948, mainly in form of false assurances and broken promises has definitely impacted the local youth and hurt their psyche. They are unwilling to be used as pawns any more by the power brokers on the chessboard of power play purely to save their own political fortunes, whether in or out of power. Their technique of becoming venomous against the nation and pro-Azadi sympathisers when out of power and complete mellowing down the moment they sit on the powerful chair has now become a matter of hatred and further disillusionment among the youth. Without the active participation of civil society, the process of de-radicalisation will not get the necessary boost it needs. Youth in any society is a very precious commodity. The society has to decide the path youth must follow. Society needs to give direction and create an environment for the holistic growth of its youth because today’s youth is the leadership of tomorrow. There is need to promote indigenous identity& culture which is much older than the alien Arabic Muslim identity &culture. De-radicalisation is not J&K specific but a national cause. There is a need to have a policy-based, result oriented plan rather than a patchwork like approach.

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