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LG urges religious leaders, community elders to spread message of peace

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As a first, conference on ‘Confluence of Religious Leaders in Kashmir” held at SKICC to counter ‘radicalization’

Srinagar: Underlining the importance of peace for development and resolution of issues, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Tuesday urged the community elders and religious leaders to spread the message of peace and harmony among the new generation.

Speaking at the day-long conference on “Confluence of Religious Leaders in Kashmir” held here at SKICC, Sinha appreciated the efforts being made to discuss the role of religious leaders and women in creating violence-free society, counter-radicalization and modernization of ‘Madrassa’ (seminary) education.

The conference witnessed huge participation of around 550 religious heads including Moulvis and Muftis, as many as 200 women and 200 youth, an official press release said.

Prominent religious leaders including Sheikh Muzaffar, Mufti Nisar Ahmad, Maulana Muzzafar, Tariq Ahmad ,Mufti Aslam Sahib, Khalida Parveen, Rakesh Kaulji, Maulana Mufti , Sakhi Rathore, Maulvi Javaid, Maulvi Shabir, Moulana Abdul Majeed Parray, Mufti Ghulam Mustafa, Mufti Mudasir Mohammad were present on the occasion.

Terming the conference as a “historic moment for Jammu and Kashmir”, LG said that Jammu & Kashmir has remained home to diverse religious and cultural influences which have deeply enriched its pluralistic ethos.

“No development and progress is possible without sustained peace, communal harmony and brotherhood,” Sinha said while emphasizing the need for restoration of the pristine glory of J&K as an abode of peace, amity, communal harmony and brotherhood, and urged the people to come forward in achieving this goal.

“Violence has no place in any civilized society and peaceful co-existence is the best means to resolve problems,” he added.

Addressing the issue of “radicalization”, LG urged the community elders, religious heads and torch-bearers to spread the message of love, peace and tolerance among the youth.

“Radicalization should not be associated with a specific religion. There is a need for Islamic scholars to formulate a policy and a process by which a helpless person, who is exposed to a violent ideology, is prevented from getting radicalized,” said the LG.

He also highlighted the significant role of family, community influencers, religious and spiritual heads in the “counter-radicalization process to thwart any attempt being made from across the border to incite communal hatred in the society.”

He further urged the religious heads and women to play an active role in prevention of drug addiction.

On social media based propaganda, the LG called upon all the stakeholders to make collaborative efforts “to check the violent ideology and propaganda being spread on social media by certain groups for radicalizing our young population.”

He said “although the level of radicalization is comparatively much lesser in Jammu Kashmir, it is very important to focus on counter-radicalization for ensuring social harmony and national security.”

The LG also underlined the important role of mainstream media to counter such elements and extremist ideologies.

“These efforts are not written ideologies or some philosophies, but it is about humanness and helping the personality of an individual to grow in the right direction,” Sinha maintained.

“Many people distorted the message of Islam and apart from Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, there are many clerics and preachers who have raised voice against deliberate distortion and misinterpretation of the selected portion of Islamic texts. There is a need to check propagation and wrong interpretation of texts from holy books, besides realizing our responsibilities to show the right way and direction to the one who is treading a wrong path,” the LG said.

Terming Jammu and Kashmir as “an ocean of spirituality”, Sinha said “here the values of humanity and tolerance emanating from the united culture of Shavisim, Buddhism and Sufism have always flourished over the centuries.”

He made special mention of Sufi saint Baba Farid and Adi Shankaracharya and asked the people to spread their message of humanity and love.

“If you see any religion of the world, it teaches us only two paths – the paths of meditation and love. The problem arises when the original values of the religion are ignored and the spirit of love, kindness, compassion, renunciation, which develops the ‘Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava’ and communal harmony, is harmed. It is our responsibility to correct the wrong rhetoric and misinterpretation to preserve the feeling of love and harmony,” said the LG.

“Many cases have come up in which even a very educated person gets radicalized. We need to counter radicalization through Sufi traditions,” he said.

Speaking on the talent and potential of the J&K youth, LG said that under the guidance of the Prime Minister, the UT administration is putting in all-out efforts to provide them with rightful opportunities.

Highlighting the reformative measures being taken in the education sector by the government, the LG said that from this session, education will be imparted in all five official languages. Translation of local folklores and those of other states for cultural exchange and understanding is being done to promote the spirit of “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”.

“The stories of courage and sacrifice of our role models like Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Maqbool Sherwani and Women Self Defense Corps, would be told in schools,” he added.

Speaking on work being done for modernization of education, the LG observed that vocational courses have been started in all schools from class 9th in accordance with the suggestions of the new National Education Policy. Apart from this, vocational training is being provided to 44,351 children in 715 schools under the “Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan”, he added.

Underscoring the initiatives taken for strengthening the skill development and entrepreneurship ecosystem in J&K, the LG said that in the last two years, revolutionary measures have been taken to channelize the young energies into the right direction.

The government has signed an MoU with the Bombay Stock Exchange to provide banking, finance and stock market training to the youth through the Mission Youth program. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, two CIIIT centers have been set up in Baramulla and Jammu in collaboration with Tata Technologies. Under the Himayat program, young boys and girls are being provided employment.

During the last six months, 17,800 young boys and girls from all panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir have become entrepreneurs and are also providing employment to other people of the villages, he informed.

An unprecedented Rs 28,400 crore New Industrial development scheme was announced that will provide employment avenues and opportunities to around 5 lakh youth, he said.

Moreover, the work done during the last 18 months in the field of skill development and Medical education, was not done in the last 70 years, he added.

In the next two years, “we aim to ensure that no house is deprived of electricity, water and access to roads,” the LG maintained.

“I am confident that the young generation will contribute significantly in making Jammu and Kashmir the most developed region in the country,” he concluded.

Speaking on the occasion, Moulana Muzaffar also stressed on the need to put a special focus on “misrepresentation of Islamic teachings”, adding that the “certain elements within the community are distorting the Islam’s message for peace, love and harmony”.

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