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OPINION: De-radicalization- easier said than done?

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OPINION: De-radicalization- easier said than done?
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“Radicalisation has been multi-faceted and so the initiative of de-radicalisation by the government has to be holistic targeting multiple agencies at once…..”

By Muskan Rafique
23 Oct 2020

India is an emerging super power the credit of which can be majorly attributed to the youth of the nation. However, the progress has been marred by radicalisation of youth in different parts of the country; a problem which has plagued the nation for the last three decades.

According to Ministry of Youth Affairs, the population in the age group of 18-30 years is considered as youth which constitute about 35% of the total Indian population and hold the key for the future of this nation. The prevailing socio-economic factors such as dissatisfaction with the government, unemployment, caste system, non-state actors have resulted in exploitation of the vulnerable youth and led them to detrimental paths by certain anti-national elements. This has disturbed the harmony and the balance of the society. As far as the youth of J&K is concerned, it has been radicalised mostly on the basis of the religion which has prolonged the problem of terrorism in the state; a major detrimental factor for the nation. It is pertinent that factors which have contributed to radicalisation of youth in J&K are brought forward and dealt with appropriately.

The Role of Media has been a major factor in radicalisation. National as well as international media has been putting concentrated efforts in agitating the youth of the state. Harping on trivial issues and blowing them up as significant threats to a particular religious community has been a tool of manipulating the perception. Social Conditioning of youth in their childhood, filling their minds with negative thoughts and projecting the state machinery as the villain has affected the mental health and upbringing of the youth. This later prejudices the mind of the individuals against the state and inclines the individual to take part in anti-national activities. Unemployment and Alienation makes the affected section of the society vulnerable. The exploitation of vulnerable section has resulted in a full generation of youth taking up arms against the state. The Concept of Jihad has been at the forefront for radicalisation. The anti-national elements have fed to the youth a contorted definition of Jihad to serve their own politico-religious agendas.

Radicalisation has been multi-faceted and so the initiative of de-radicalisation by the government has to be holistic targeting multiple agencies at once. The core of the effort is to focus on integration of youth of Kashmir in the mainstream society ensuring gainful participation of the youth in building the state. The efforts can begin by establishing partnership with religious leaders and urge them to bring about a positive change in the society.

The environment for upbringing is to be made socially conducive and safe. This process starts with the family imparting moral values to their children and growing up in a community which lays emphasis on harmony and compassion. The education system should be complimentary to the social environment which makes sure that an individual doesn’t deviate from his moral values and chances of radicalisation get negated. Governance of the state should have integrity and foresight so that efforts which are put in to improve are persistent and long term. Equal opportunities are to be ensured so that all sections of society can reap benefits of the concentrated efforts made by all government agencies. The government should have extensive focus on addressing the grievances of the youth to tackle any brewing dissent within the society. The government agencies through their participation promote a positive image of themselves and adds to the perception management factor as well.

In conclusion the gainful participation of youth in building the state will have resonating effect in improvement of the nation as a whole. The same youth will go on to join the different agencies of the government such as Administrative/Public services, Armed Forces, Research and Development sectors, Education sectors as well as the Private/Corporate sectors. Economic development, equal opportunities, course correction and secular approach are few steps which will motivate and keep the youth on the path of progress. The growth of the nation will pick up full steam when the youth is de-radicalized from all evils of society and are made a part of the nation building process. Jai Hind.

The writer Muskan Rafique is a student of Economics from University of Kashmir and a Home based entrepreneur from Srinagar.

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