Radicalisation of youth in Kashmir, Gulf funding
In a recent print media exposure of flow of Havala funds from Gulf in the Valley for setting up of infrastructure for the radicalisation of youth in Valley particularly Muslims has added to the woes of not only security forces in Kashmir but the older generation of people who feel disturbed by this new trend. It is not for the first time these reports have been leaked but earlier also many instances have been found of the same nature with many modus operands but with the sole aim of radicalising the youth by boosting their moral, exploiting religion beliefs. As per news reports that the new generations are indoctrinated to follow the new set of Islam as represented by the ISIS and al-Qaeda which is against the tenets of Islam that is followed in Kashmir, based on the Sufism on the pluralistic nature of the Valley. In my early columns I have made detailed description of the radicalisation of youth in Kashmir as well Rohaingy refugees of Burma. Earlier also security agencies have expressed apprehensions that there can be more self-radicalised youth who can join them in future and can become a new and powerful militant group in Valley.
It is fact that the older generation people are offering their prayers at traditional mosques while as the new breed of young generations prefer to visit new mosques set up by these radicals who are funded by those who have links with their masters across the border and Gulf countries. It is a well known fact and there is nothing like secret in it. But the main reason why it is undetected is the lack of political will and State’s resolve to fight the menace of illegal money.
If the flow of illegal money can be checked there is considerably hope that the militancy will come down but the fact of the matter is that it is not easy to check it. The illegal money is sent to Valley from Gulf after passing through many layers after which the dirty money becomes white and that is why it is also called money laundering. i.e., the dirty money is converted into clean money. Stone pelting incidents were supported by the money sent by Gulf. In one occasion the JKLF leader was arrested with the black money. Many people were found missing and is presumed to be consumed by the
Last month our Prime Minister Narindra Modi during his visit to Brussels said that we have to create an atmosphere to curb radicalisation of youth. He further said that the no religion talks about terrorism. He was speaking to a gathering of Indian Diaspora in Brussels.
In a recent World Sufi Conference in New Delhi also, the conference discussed the issues of extremism and ways to work out effective counter-narratives. With a number of Sufi-minded Islamic scholars, writers, journalists, university academicians, social activists and grassroots workers, the event is targeted at finding more constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as a counterattack on the constantly rising global violent extremism. In the same way it is the duty of Islamic scholars in J and K in general and in Kashmir in particular who have to come out from their hibernation and talk to people about the damage that will be caused to the real Islam by these fundamentalists who try to drag the youth to extreme form of Islam in J and K which is not dangerous only for the State as a whole but for the Muslims as well. In the Brussels meet, the Prime Minister brought it clearly that the parents are crying because their children are joining the terrorism. Terrorism can not be ended with bombs and guns but by Islamic scholars, writers, journalists, university academicians, social activists and grassroots workers, by organising events and seminars to educate the targeted youth and finding more constructive ways to spread the Islamic message of peace in real sense.
Some time back Govt. also expressed concern over the presence of Rohingya Muslims in India. They are persecuted in their homeland in Myanmar and could be vulnerable to radicalisation. A few months back, in an encounter in South Kashmir, one of the two foreign militants was identified as Chota Burmi, a native of Myanmar (Burma). His real name is Abdul rehman al Arkun i.e. Abdul Rehman of Arakan, (a state of Myanmar). These Refugees are helped by some NGOs in providing them the basic amenities and arranging to provide education to their children in Madarassas. Earlier it was being taken as casual and mere rumour and the Govt. did not pay any heed to redress the problem. Interestingly all the refugees are living in Narwal Bala area on the outskirts of Jammu city. The presence of these Rohingya Refugees in our State is a dangerous and fraught with risks.
Needless to mention the militancy of such a scale and for such a long time, at any where in the world can not afford to continue with out the money being pumped into it and Kashmir is no exception. Take the case of ISIS or al-Qaeda in Iraq, Iran or Syria, Lebanon, Palestine etc, the money from Saudi and other Arab countries continue to flow. In Kashmir also it is being sent through Havala and is difficult but not impossible to track.
It is the high time for the Govt. both at the Centre and State level, to tackle this issue on priority with out wasting any time before it escalates at the point at which there is no return. We have to engage investigating agencies like Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax authorities and CBI to unearth the network behind the Havala racket and smash it to curb terrorism in our country. We have made many mistakes rather blunders in the past by neglecting the incident at the spark level where it could have been put down but allowed it to grow to the extent of becoming fire and that time it isn’t possible to control it. How can militancy continue unabated for the last more that 30yeras (right from 1986) with out financial support and the support comes from across the border, ISI and Gulf Countries.
We should take lessons from 1986 and 1989-1990, when there were enough indications of growing militancy in Kashmir but at that time the then Govt. either ignored or were ignorant, and did not take it seriously and claimed that these are a few misguided youth and is a short livid. Rest is all history and we have paid a heavy price for the last more than two decades and are still paying. Same can be the case with the students in educational institutions also who are vulnerable to fall prey to terrorist activities of growing ISIS. Govt. must carry out the detailed investigation about the revival of radicalisation and has to be over cautious against the radicals, before the situation escalates and virus spreads in educational institutions of which JNU and NIT, was a trigger.
(The writer is a Social Activist and Convenor, Democratic Panun Kashmir)