Radicalization of youth is yet another hurdle in the peace & development process in the Kashmir Valley. It is as serious a concern as militancy. Radicalization changes the entire thought process of an individual and his/her all the activities are then governed by radical thoughts which have been forcefully sown in the innocent mind. A radicalized mind thereafter is further lured to a hero’s status associated with becoming a terrorist and the misguided youth is further pushed deeper and deeper into the dark tunnels of terrorism.

Radicalization is a gradual, social process by which one’s thoughts are directed towards extremism and existing democratic, social, fundamental values are ignored. Ideological, racial, religious supremacy is superimposed even at the cost of basic human rights of the people.

Social media is playing an important role in propagation of radical thoughts amongst the targeted population. Moreover, this content can be circulated very fast in the environment on social media with a fake identity by the originator to avoid legal implication. With the improvement in communication facility, the reach of social media has become very large and the radical thoughts can be spread without much investment.

The radical Wahabi thought process which has its roots in Saudi Arabia is gradually spreading its roots in all parts of the world and Kashmir is no exception. Change in dress code; particularly of woman folk and architectural design of mosques are clear cut indications of shift towards radical ideologies in the society.

The separatist leaders, religious teachers, local and foreign terrorist organizations, glorification of slain terrorists, easy flowing money from Pakistan and gulf countries are the main root causes of spread of radicalization in the Kashmiri society. This state was known for its rich cultural heritage and Sufism. It had remained a society that gave equal status to women and encouraged their participation in all activities. But due to spread of radical thought process in the society; the women folk is being forced to remain within the circle drawn around them by clergies and move back to medieval age culture.

Taliban’s takeover of Afghan administration is being seen as a great victory of radical ideology in the region and a step towards global Islamisation. Moreover, it further encourages the process of rebellion towards the state. The peace process has taken a backseat and reign of terror has taken over the control. Such law lawlessness is existing in the Northwest and Northern region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now this ideology is spreading further in Kashmir including its urban, rural and far-flung remote areas.

Radicalization creates dissent, resistance and intolerance among the masses and puts a spoke to the very process of development. Moreover, it spreads like an unseen ghost and it is very difficult to catch hold of the original propagator of radical ideology. A radicalized mind further influences other people in its surrounding and the idea spreads like an epidemic. Hence there is a need to undertake the process of deradicalization at a large scale and put a stop to this negative propaganda before it creates any further damage.

Courtesy : Ali Fayyaz

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