The Bold Voice of J&K

Why schools only; and, not colleges or Madrassas

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Dost Khan

JAMMU: Catch them young seem to be the motto of Pakistan, its notorious intelligence agency ISI and lackeys in the Valley- the separatists- to further the agenda of ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’. After failing to annex even an inch of Kashmir despite four wars and the on-going proxy war, the rogue nation in the backyards has unleashed a low-cost Intifaada, or stone pelting, to sustain and promote unrest in the Valley. This is strategically viable for Islamabad keeping in view global sensitivity towards terrorism.
In a way, the Pakistan strategists have succeeded to an extent in bringing Kashmir problem into huge global focus. Civil unrest serves the purpose of terror-perpetrators across the border more than armed infiltrators. Therefore, all energies are being channelised to induct stone-pelters for carrying forward the vicious agenda. Human resource for the purpose is hugely available across the Valley provided it is garnered, indoctrinated and sharpened well. Apart from monetary gains, the temptation of martyrdom is working well for those charged with the responsibility of indoctrinating young people, especially as majority of them undergo academics in the government schools and not in the Madrassas, which have flourished manifold during the past twenty seven years.
Madrassas being institutionalised mode of spreading radicalization, the Jihad planners across the border were worried over little enthusiasm or motivation among parents to opt these for their children. Kashmiris, by and large, are conscious about the significance of education, which is why they keep their children away from Madrassas. So much so that Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s grand-daughter too has opted to be taught of a premier school of national-repute.
In this backdrop, targeting of schools at the beginning of the current spell of stone-pelting season can be well understood. Not only that the ban was strictly enforced on opening of schools in the wake of shut-down calendars issued by separatists but when the state government went ahead with the decision of holding examinations, trend of putting these afire began. So far 25 schools have been burnt. Not a single eye blinked till Geelani was exposed after his grand-daughter appeared for a term-exam in Srinagar’s high security indoor stadium.
The question arises why only schools are being targeted and not the Madrassas or colleges. This is because the Madrassas are already engaged in producing Jihadi minds while those pursuing academics in colleges are too matured to be indoctrinated. Therefore, burning of schools has been taken up as a mission to keep young minds away from academics and engaged in stone pelting. The affluent parents are already in the process of shifting their wards outside the Valley but poor people have no recourse but to fall as prey to the hounds unleashed from Pakistan.
But for the resentment over term-examination of Geelani’s granddaughter, the burning of schools would have taken dangerous proportion, as nobody even raised an eyebrow. When the Hurriyat hawk spoke against burning of schools, of course under severe criticism from parents, the mainstream parties too jumped into the fray. But, nobody musters the courage to ask how the Madrassas are functioning, unharmed and untouched. The concept of Madrassas, originated from Pakistan, has dangerous ramification. A 2008 US diplomatic cable expressed alarm that Saudi Arabian-financed Madrassas were fostering “religious radicalism” in “previously moderate regions of Pakistan, as children from impoverished families were sent to isolated Madrassas, and once there often recruited for “martyrdom operations”. The concept has been adopted by the ISI which is implementing it in the Valley by reportedly pumping huge funds through various channels. Till the time, these gain recognition with common Kashmiris, the strategists will go ahead with weakening mainstream educational set up in the Valley, unless the governments at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir rise to the occasion firmly and meet the situation. The perpetrators of school burning must not only be booked but also exposed so that Kashmir is saved of producing martyrs in terms of stone-pelters.

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