The Youth Need A Roadmap For Involvement And Empowerment

Honest and compassionate efforts by the system have the potential to propel Kashmir to new heights of peace and stability. The UT Administration must develop strategies that grant privileges to the youth who have been weaned away from the wrong path.

by WebDesk
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After the scraping of Article 370, political activity in Kashmir came to a halt. There was no political engagement with the youth who are mindful of such activities and like to engage politically.
For decades, our politicians had not meaningfully engaged the youth. Political power was passed on from father to son – or from father to daughter – without bothering for the involvement of the common Kashmiri.
In the name of conflict, our politicians had strictly limited political power only to their coterie. They did not want to lose power, and they did not want to share power. Hence for decades together, they kept the common Kashmiri youth in the dark. Their fear springs from their incompetence. They are fearful that a young competent leadership shall take over.
Not only the political dialogue, but other dialogues and robust activities are equally important for a society. The restoration of dialogue with the young minds will accelerate the system that has been frozen by the politicians who were driven by their narrow interests only.
It needs to be borne in mind that active youth engagements pave the way for a larger, composite dialogue with our young and bright youth. These activities contribute to peace building. Now that the security situation in Kashmir has improved remarkably, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the state to keep the dialogue going.
A sizable section of our youth is ambitious. They aspire and work for a meaningful, constructive life. But we also have those youth who think that life is not offering them much. Their energy is not getting channelized in the right direction.
We cannot afford that these youth take to the path of violence. Then it creates a highly negative cycle in society. The negative cycle vitiates the environment and impacts the children.
This is why it is highly important that the UT Administration must play a more proactive role in rescuing the misguided youth from the path of violence, in which they target other people and go down the path of destruction. Through proactive action in every district, every block and every village, the UT Administration must involve the families and the youth alike.
The State, The Family – Both Have A Crucial Role To Play
Vital To Stop The Cycle Of Violence
With the intervention of the state and the family, hundreds of our budding youngsters can be saved.
The family plays a very important role in keeping the young and fertile minds away from violence. We recently saw how a family motivated a young man to surrender after he snatched a service rifle from the cop in Pulwama. The man realized that he had committed an error. After he was persuaded by his family, he peacefully cooperated with the security forces.
To mainstream the Gen X of Kashmir, the UT Administration must engage the youth in fields that can yield positive outcomes for the individual and the nation. For long, we have known that Kashmiris have highly fertile minds and a high intelligence quotient. The Kashmiri youth can do wonders for the society and the nation if they are guided properly.
Youth Lack Facilities At Village Level To Engage In Meaningful Pursuits
Like the rest of the country where children and youth are engaged in co-curricular activities and have no chance for giving thought to negative things, we need a similar atmosphere in Kashmir. The government needs appropriate spaces at the village level. It is important to provide all the facilities to the youngsters to keep them away from discussions that are fatal for them, and which compromise the security of the nation.
I have observed the youngsters across many villages in Kashmir that were considered as major centers of militancy and militant-related activities. I have observed that when the youngsters leave the house in the evening to meet their friends, most of them are talking only about militants and militant commanders.
Why are the youngsters engaging in this empty talk that can have highly negative repercussions? This is because the youngsters don’t have suitable facilities in their districts where they might get engaged with more meaningful pursuits.
The terror operators take advantage of this vacuum to lead youngsters in the wrong direction. The terror operators plant themselves or their conduits in these groups for glamourising militancy. In this way, young brains are brainwashed for the so-called jihad and other anti-national activities.
Youth Feel Lonely, Need Engaging Activities
It makes me deeply sad to observe that part of Kashmir’s youth is suffering. Many youngsters say that they feel lonely. Their energy does not find the right channels, hence they yearn for someone or something that isn’t there.
At this juncture, the UT Administration must initiate viable institutional actions required to establish connections with the youth. There is a need to construct the architecture of hope and dignity for adolescents and their identities. Kashmir needs a new road map for the empowerment and involvement of the youth.
Different segments of the society are disillusioned with the current state of affairs following the 2019 constitutional revisions. On the ground, there is a clear political/ideological vacuum. The breakdown of the political middle ground (represented by mainstream politicians) has exposed Kashmir to radical forces.
Urgent Need For Supportive Guidance Of Misguided Youth
The way the misguided Kashmiri youth are treated needs to change quickly.
It is important for the UT Administration to remember one thing. For the youth who are aspiring and ambitious, the requirements are the same as in the rest of the nation. For them, the UT Administration has to create an enabling environment for growth, where they can find the opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and development.
As a democratic and welfare state, the system needs to do more for the youth that are misguided. They cannot be allowed to go down the path of self-destruction. The state must not decide to deal with an iron-hand with all youth who simply need hand-holding and direction.
It is my ardent appeal to the policy makers – please see the misguided youth as foolish children who should be mentored rather than punished harshly. I myself have seen DCs and SSPs who have adopted kind and sincere efforts to deal with the youth and lead them in the right direction. This is the right model to be adopted.
The Importance Of Honest And Compassionate Efforts
Honest and compassionate efforts by the system have the potential to propel Kashmir to new heights of peace and stability. The UT Administration must develop strategies that grant privileges to the youth who have been weaned away from the wrong path.
It is important to remember that these gullible youth are misguided by terror operators who are deliberately seeking to brainwash and radicalize them. If the UT Administration adopts a very strict approach in dealing with these youngsters, where will they and their families go?
These misguided youth are also sons of Kashmir. They need to be treated gently and compassionately. It is important to wean them away from the path of terror in a firm, kind manner.
If this gentle and firm approach is adopted by the state, it will generate immense goodwill in the society and positively influence the other youngsters. Our youth shape tomorrow’s thoughts and attitudes. Constructive involvement with youngsters should be promoted.
The Black Villages Of Pulwama, And How Their Youth Suffered
I am reminded of Lelhar village of Kakapora block in Pulwama district, and of Karimabad village in the same district. Both were declared as “black villages” by the administration. The youth of these villages could see no light, no future. More and more of them were exploited by the terror ecosystem. Children who grew up in this vitiated atmosphere could not save themselves from the dark shadows around them.
The state can rescue the people and especially the youth from falling into the clutches of the terror players. It is the state’s principal responsibility to free citizens from terror and allow them to enjoy essential rights such as life, liberty, and property.
The state must design and implement policies that will support and encourage the youngsters to speak for themselves without any intervention or intimidation by a third party. Such policies and the enabling democratic atmosphere shall cement the relation of the youth with the state. The youth will find opportunities for growth. Their closeness with the state policies will chart a new future for this militancy-torn region of India.

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