January 2018 News

Extremism Wrecking Kashmir From Within

26 January 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Jammu: Three incidents on Wednesday confirmed the wrecking capacity of the growing extremism and corruption in Kashmir. A principal of Government Higher Secondary School, Pulwama, south Kashmir, asked girl students not to participate in the Republic Day function. His direction shown in a video that has gone viral is more serious than the scholar-turned-militant Mannan Bashir Wani appearing with an assault rifle in a picture. On the face of it, this may seem yet another step in stalling the Republic Day function as part of the continuing anti-India narrative in Kashmir, but it is more dangerous. It shows how the parameters of teaching and learning are being subverted in the garb of anti-India activities. This can push its boundaries further if the past developments in this regard are any basis to be considered. For the past 30 years, Republic Day was celebrated rarely beyond the official functions. The deafening silence on the national festival day is now being converted into a voluble expression of extremism. When the head of an educational institution, under the direct or perceived threat from gunmen, - issues such a direction to students, this amounts to becoming a party not only to the anti-India narrative but accepting the stamp of radicalisation as part of his discourse in the school. The Principal delivered a message that participation in R-Day function was undesirable and unacceptable. A much larger point, however, is that when teachers start speaking like this, what message will the children get - that extremism is better than disciplined education. It may not be true of all children in Kashmir, but the teacher has sent a message that can be ignored at the peril of the original ethos of Kashmir where extremism had no place, whatsoever. The second incident relates to the killing of a 17-year-old Shakir in clashes near the encounter site in Shopian, south Kashmir. Two militants were killed in the gunfight there. It has been concluded that the security forces killed the young boy. It could very well be the case. The boy's presence at the encounter site is not being questioned. That he was there and protesting against the anti-militancy operations out of his love for militants is considered a given in the current Kashmir scenario. The common refrain is that the 'militants are to be protected and soldiers are to be targeted.' Again this theory converges on to the point that anti-India activism to the point of risking lives is something incumbent upon them. And, if they die in such protests, they attain 'martyrdom' and the villain is the security personnel. The political leadership condemns civilian killings. It asks the forces to exercise restraint if not telling them to face the situation, get killed or wounded. In other words, the verdict is against the anti-militancy operations. The third incident is that a large portion of the embankment of the Jhelum river caved in at Lasjan in the suburbs of Srinagar. The possible causes could be: the bundh weakened during the 2014 floods - Lasjan was one of the worst-hit areas - had not been repaired in the past three years. Even if it was repaired, the work done was of poor quality. It also speaks of the corruption and lack of oversight. Kashmiri politicians are masters in turning and twisting such episodes against India, despite having got huge funds for the flood management woks. Shielding the corrupt and corruption is part of the lifestyle in J&K and that is wrecking it from within.