J&K schools sowing seeds of radicalization
JAMMU, Jan 12: In a significant statement on anti-militancy operations in Kashmir, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said today that this year Army will shift its focus to North Kashmir from South Kashmir in 2017 to prevent the infiltration attempts and declared that troops would destroy all Pakistani posts from where terrorists are launched into the Indian soil.
He said seeds of thought of some kind of “separate identity’’ are being sown in Government schools among the children, which have separate map of the State besides that of India and called for major revamp of education system in J&K to deal with the problem.
Inter-acting with media persons ahead of the Army Day in the Union capital, Gen Rawat said: “our focus of operations in 2017 was South Kashmir. This year it will shift to North Kashmir’s Baramulla, Pattan, Handwara, Kupwara, Sopore, Lolab and some Northern areas of Bandipora so that the infiltration can be thwarted there’’.
Asserting that the people, who rush to site of encounters between militants and security forces, were risking their lives, the Army chief described it as “worrisome phenomenon.
“This is becoming a worrisome phenomenon that people are just rushing to operations to get successful and at time taking risks well beyond their capacities. Why are they taking risks? They are more concerned about tasks at hand to get success, that is why sometimes it is leading to higher casualty rate,’’ the Chief of Army Staff said.
The Army chief’s statement on focusing North Kashmir this year assumed great significance as it had been targeting South Kashmir, which had once become hub of the militancy especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen divisional commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. However, last year, security forces killed nearly 200 militants in the Valley including South Kashmir.
He declared that the Indian Army will destroy all those military posts of Pakistan from where they launched militants and terror strikes into Kashmir.
“We target all those Pakistani posts from where they launch terrorists for infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists are a disposable commodity in Pakistan and Indian Army’s approach is to ensure that Pakistan feels the pain,’’ Gen Rawat said.
Referring to increased number of ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, he said India will retaliate against any threat and will continue the similar approach till it sees reduction in ceasefire violations.
“The casualties which Pakistan has suffered are three to four times more than what we did. Pakistan is sending messages regularly to return to the ceasefire. We are ready but we will continue our approach till we see a decrease in ceasefire violations,’’ the Army chief said.
Gen Rawat said social media and Government schools in Jammu and Kashmir are spreading a “disinformation campaign” resulting in radicalization of youth.
He said a “major revamp” of the education system was needed in the State to deal with the problem.
Gen Rawat said each classroom in Government schools in Jammu and Kashmir has a separate map of the State besides that of India which sowed the seeds of thought of some kind of “separate identity” among the children.
“The damage done to us is through the social media. A very large amount of disinformation campaign is being spread in Jammu and Kashmir which is radicalizing the youth through the social media and the schools,” he said.
Gen Rawat also suggested that some stone throwers in Kashmir were youth from Government schools, and stressed on the need to reform the education system.
“If you go to any Kashmir school, You will find two maps — one is the map of India and one is the map of Jammu and Kashmir. There are always two maps in every classroom. Why should there be a map of Jammu and Kashmir. If you are putting a map of Jammu and Kashmir, then you may as well put map of every State.
“What does it mean to children that I am part of the country but I also have a separate identity. So, the basic, grassroot problem lies here is the way the education in Jammu and Kashmir in Government school has been corrupted,” said Rawat.
He said students from schools like DPS were not found involved in activities like stone-pelting, and added that is why the ‘goodwill schools’ run by the Army are accorded higher status.
The Army chief noted opening more public schools, more CBSE schools, was the way forward.
“In the schools in Kashmir — the Government schools — what is being taught. I will only be happy if you can visit some of the schools and attend the classes and see what is being taught,” Rawat said, without elaborating.
On Pakistan laced with nuclear power, the Army chief said: “if Pakistan raises a nuclear bogey, we will have to call their bluff. “We cannot say that we will not cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff’’.
Acknowledging the suspension of military aid to Pakistan by the United States, Gen Rawat averred it was premature to talk how much of an impact it would have on Pakistan.
“It would be too premature to start saying that everything is going to be hunky-dory, Let’s not expect US to do what we are expected to do,’’ he added.
Agencies adds: India cannot allow its neighbours to drift away from it to counter an assertive China, Gen Rawat said , affirming that time has come for the country to shift focus from western to the northern frontier.
Rawat said countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have to be kept on board as part of a broader strategy to deal with China, and India must make “wholehearted” efforts to continue extending support to them.
Rawat acknowledged that China was exerting pressure on India along the border but at the same time asserted that the Indian Army was fully capable of dealing with any security challenge on the northern frontier.
“I think we cannot allow the neighbourhood to be drifted away from us —whether it is Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan. These nations have to be kept on board, and I think we have to put in our wholehearted effort to ensure we continue to support them,” he said.
China has been trying to expand its influence in countries in India’s neighbourhood including Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, which have traditionally close ties with New Delhi.
“We are seeking support of other nations, group of nations in the region, to see that we are not isolated completely in a situation in Asia against an assertive China. That is the next step that is being taken and therefore you will find that a quadrilateral is formed,” said Rawat.