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How to win over Kashmiri youth?


 Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been on the boil since Independence. Several solutions to the problem of militancy have been put forth. Recently, there was a suggestion that de-radicalisation camps should be organised for the youth.


GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Radicalization
  2. Types of Radicalisation
  3. Radicalisation In J&K
  4. What is De radicalisation?
  5. Significance of De-radicalisation Camps
  6. Challenges associated with Deradicalization Camps
  7. Examples from other countries
  8. Solutions to De-radicalisation


  • Radicalization is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or contemporary ideas and expressions of the nation.
  • The outcomes of radicalization are shaped by the ideas of the society at large; for example, radicalism can originate from a broad social consensus against progressive changes in society or from a broad desire for change in society.
  • Radicalization can be both violent and nonviolent, although most academic literature focuses on radicalization into violent extremism (RVE).
  • There are multiple pathways that constitute the process of radicalization, which can be independent but are usually mutually reinforcing.
  • Radicalization that occurs across multiple reinforcing pathways greatly increases a group’s resilience and lethality.
  • Furthermore, by compromising its ability to blend in with non-radical society and participate in a modern, national economy, radicalization serves as a kind of sociological trap that gives individuals no other place to go to satisfy their material and spiritual needs
  • The Judge Webster Commission 2009 had observed: ‘Radicalism is not a crime. Without exhortation to violence, radicalization alone may not be a threat.’

Types of Radicalisation

  1. Right-Wing Extremism – It is characterized by the violent defence of a racial, ethnic or pseudo-national identity, and is also associated with radical hostility towards state authorities, minorities, immigrants and/or left-wing political groups.
  2. Politico-Religious Extremism – It results from political interpretation of religion and the defence, by violent means, of a religious identity perceived to be under attack (via international conflicts, foreign policy, social debates, etc.). Any religion may spawn this type of violent radicalization.
  3. Left-Wing Extremism – It focuses primarily on anti-capitalist demands and calls for the transformation of political systems considered responsible for producing social inequalities, and that may ultimately employ violent means to further its cause. It includes anarchist, maoist, Trotskyist and marxist–leninist groups that use violence to advocate for their cause.

Radicalisation In J&K

  • General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s dictator-President, started the practise of utilising religious overtones in statecraft.
  • He emphasised the importance of religion in government policy. During his reign, the development of Madrasas began, and they have played a significant role in the Islamization and radicalization of Pakistani youth.
  • Later, as part of low-intensity war activities, this spilled over into Kashmir (LICO).
  • Insurgents who wanted J&K to secede from India began using violent measures to achieve their goal in 1989.
  • As a result, effective counter-insurgency operations were launched.
  • To combat militancy, the Public Safety Act of 1978 and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 were utilised.
  • In Pakistan, hundreds of tanzeems (fighting organisations) were formed to fight in Afghanistan. Some of these were later sent to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • In the pretext of Islam and Kashmiri liberation, Pakistani operatives went about recruiting young people to train in Pakistan.
  • Due to threats from terrorist leaders in the 1990s, many Kashmiri families transferred one of their sons to Pakistan to be trained and subsequently deployed in Kashmir.
  • Governor’s rule remained in place in J & K for a long period, effectively suppressing the democratic process.
  • Homegrown militancy first emerged in Kashmir during protests over state elections in 2008, and then again when the Indian Army killed three infiltrators in 2010.
  • The Hurriyat Conference of All Parties called for violent protests, which led to rioting, the burning of government cars, and “stone-pelting events.”
  • With the emergence of homegrown militancy, the situation on the ground deteriorated.

What is De radicalisation?

  • Deradicalization is a term used to describe the process of persuading someone with strong political, social, or religious beliefs to take more moderate perspectives on topics.
  • Even in the last five years, “deradicalization” initiatives, which are aimed at gently moving people and groups away from violent extremism, have expanded in popularity and reach.
  • Deradicalization is the process of separating a person from their extremist beliefs, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

Significance of De-radicalisation Camps

  • Deradicalisation camps are distinct from past approaches to rehabilitation in that they also focus on persons who have not yet committed a terrorist act.
  • Deradicalisation camps employ modern approaches such as technology and internet communication, which have been effectively co-opted by terror groups.
  • It requires examining if the process can be reversed and how government-led measures can assist in ensuring that committed terrorists do not engage in criminal activities after freed from jail.
  • Focusing on rehabilitation makes sense in light of the fact that dedicated ideologues may never abandon their views, but they may modify their conduct.

Challenges associated with Deradicalization Camps

  1. No standard definition: The terms “terrorism,” “violent extremism,” “radicalisation” and “deradicalisation” are still loosely defined; there is no universal agreement.
  2. Twin Challenges: There were now twin challenges for the Army, the Central Armed Police Forces and the J&K Police. The first were the terrorists for whom the rules of engagement were different The second were the Kashmiri youth who formed the bulk of the protestors — Indians for whom all the rules and laws applicable to any Indian citizen apply.
  3. Human Rights Issues: When stone-pelting incidents took a serious and alarming turn, armed personnel responded with pellet guns and other means of riot control. Injuries, especially eye injuries, were a serious fallout of this response which was criticised for Human rights violation.
  4. Problems of Kashmiri Youths: Kashmiri children in schools and colleges outside the State are often mistreated when any misadventure takes place in J&K. The incidents of violence against minorities, including Muslims, in north India have only worsened problems with Kashmiri youths. The Kashmiri youth feel that they face hostility from the Indian state because of their Muslim identity and so the status quo cannot be effective.
  5. Similar to Detention Camps: The suggestion of de-radicalisation camps for the youth can appear similar to the detention camps run by China for Muslim minorities.
  6. Political Threats: This suggestion will be exploited for political gains by the pro-Pakistani elements and further vitiate the atmosphere.

Examples from other countries

  • UK: By revising the Counter Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) in 2009, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown transformed the country’s counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) into a multi-agency approach, making it more transparent and democratic.
  • Sri-Lanka: Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation programme to combat violent insurgency, which was started by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), provides valuable insight into both the accomplishments and pitfalls of the deradicalisation  programme.

Solutions to De-radicalisation

  1. Different sectors, such as education, social services, and health, should be assigned defined roles.
  2. To combat the ‘hate’ ideology, it is necessary to move away from a State-mandated counselling programme and toward a multi-agency-designed educational programme with community and religious backing.
  3. Elected community officials and faith-based organisations can both play key roles.
  4. ‘Counter-narratives’ and avoiding internet radicalization are important aspects which can identify and assist susceptible people.
  5. Individuals at risk should be identified, the nature of the risk assessed, suitable assistance plans developed, and channel support extended or terminated by local government entities.
  6. As a ‘channel police practitioner,’ the police function has been limited to coordinating.
  7. Human rights organisations can work to look after infringes on freedom of expression and privacy, particularly in schools.
  8. Before increasing counter-terrorist capabilities, policymakers must address “unaddressed socio-economic and political reasons” that are accountable for the increase of violence, according to a Brookings research on violent extremism released in March 2019.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023