Camps functioning in India to de-radicalise J&K youths: Gen Rawat

General Bipin Rawat
There are de-radicalisation camps in India for Kashmiri youths completely radicalised by extremist elements, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said. | PTI Photo

There are de-radicalisation camps in India for youths completely radicalised by extremist elements, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has said.

The camps could isolate young Kashmiris who have been completely radicalised, he said.  “Pakistan, too, has such camps to counter the fallout of their own propaganda,” he said at a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi on Thursday (January 16).

Children as young as 10 or 12 years old were being radicalised in Kashmir, General Rawat said. “These people can still be isolated from radicalisation in a gradual way. But there are people who have completely been radicalised,” he said.

Seeking to address the ideology of radicalisation, he said radicalisation could be effectively checked if the right people were targeted. “Containing radicalisation was key to effectively combating terrorism,” he said. Radicalization could be countered with effective programmes. “Radicalisation is happening in schools, universities, from religious places and sites, and then there are groups of people who are spreading this,” he said.

Tracing the ups and downs of the process, he said radicalization was rampant after the death of Hizbul Mujaheedin terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016. He said Kashmir witnessed stone-throwing protests, in which boys in their early teens were seen participating.

The year after Burhan Wani’s death, South Kashmir – Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, and Anantnag – became the operating ground of terrorists, where they struck at will, he said.

He rubbished allegations that the Indian Army was heavy-handed in Kashmir. Making a case, he said, the people faced pellet injuries when they tried to pick up stones from the ground to be used against the army. The personnel aim at their legs and the people are wounded on the face when they bend down to pick up stones, he said.