The disempowered youth of Kashmir!
By: Zahid Sultan/Bhat Irshad
The anger in Kashmir, particular among the young, is deep rooted and manifested in different forms. The ‘present’ in Kashmir is badly bruised and a hope for a better ‘future’ has all but disappeared. In some instances such a situation finds its expression in the emotion of anger while in others a sense of deep despondency. It is also due to the constant theatre of violence enacted here every now and then.
Lack of sincere political outreach from the central government and the vicious stalemate that has consumed several decades has generated deep resentment and alienation among the masses. The sense of alienation and disempowerment among Kashmiri youth is at its highest and if there isn’t anything positive done on the ground very quickly, it might be too late. The alienation and radicalization in Kashmir is the result of multiple factors playing at different levels but dysfunctional and unaccountable institutions of the state, which are at the helm of affairs, are escalating the sense of disempowerment.
There have been several instances when the youth of the valley have clearly demonstrated that none of the political camps-whether separatist or mainstream- enjoyed their support and rather made it clear that the policies and strategies adopted by the political elites were largely viewed as either flawed or outdated.
Take, for instance, the recent decision of State Administrative Council [SAC] to approve the regularization of SSA and RAMSA teachers. While the decision has been applauded by many, it has however further alienated the unemployed youth, the scholars, the post graduate students in the state as they see the decision as a faulty one that blocked their entry into the services. This is a drag. The unemployed youth of state are not against the regularization of SSA and RAMSA teachers but the question is whose position they are taking?
The vacancies which the government announced in 2018 did not go to those who deserved them instead the SSA and RAMSA teaches got adjusted on those vacancies. This is one such example as to how the youth in the state is alienated that sometimes leads to radicalization. Youth regard such decisions as ‘deliberate moves’ to disempowering the youth. The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Satya Pal Malik’s initial youth oriented message on different media outlets was/is highly applaud but what followed in practice was has dejected many.
The role of mainstream political leaders is worth mentioning. From 1947 we the people of Jammu and Kashmir are victims of hegemonies and family rule and those who are pretending to challenge the same are themselves empowering dynasty rule in one way or the other. The leaders are pawns in the hands of their masters. Right from 1947 till today our demands of basic necessities such as roads, electricity, water supply, proper drainage system etc are yet to get fulfilled and the irony is that our mainstream parties often discuss the issue of Kashmir rather than issues of common masses.
The mainstream parties are in conflict with each other for decades now to get their self interests fulfilled. During their successive governments, both Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference didn’t do anything concrete and gave nothing to the aggrieved people except a steep rise to corruption, nepotism, frauds, scams and facilitating conflict narratives through their political rhetoric.
Things must change; there must be a people-centric approach in order to calm down the tempers in this godforsaken valley. It is important that youth centric initiative are taken at the earliest so that there are chances for de-radicalization among the youth.