The time is now to save Jammu from Radicalism

Sahil Mahajan

Serious situation is developing in Jammu region – radicalization is taking roots and its spillover effect is unavoidable . In the hills of Jammu region , the ideology of radicalism is flourishing as an answer to the developments within the country and across the borders . That there were celebrations in some parts of the region when Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15 offered an irrefutable evidence how the ideologies of radicalism were converging within and outside . The takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban is a momentous moment in the landscape of South Asia,. Like all other places , it has travelled to the hills of Jammu . This is quite ominous.
Before it spreads , there is a need to understand and address the issue. Even during 1990s , when Kashmir was in grip of militancy , Jammu stood as rock solid against it . Not that there were no militant outfits operating in Doda- that time Doda district meant what today are three districts of Ramban , Kishtwar and Doda , or for that matter in Rajouri and Poonch, but that was restricted to few misguided youth . The hills witnessed massacres of Hindus at almost all places. The pain of these massacres was shared by all communities . Now that pain is becoming selective and the communal divisions are sharpening . Otherwise, it would not have been possible for the people in hills to tilt their feelings toward celebration over the Taliban victory. These feelings expressed openly or in the privacy of homes make no difference , because these indicate that the element of alienation joined by the radicalism is playing havoc.
This problem cannot be left unaddressed . The tendency to allow the things to take their own course and cut only when these burst out is a bad therapy . Jammu, hailed as bastion of peace that resisted many provocations in the past , cannot be allowed to fall prey to the communal disharmony and radicalism .
It calls for innovation of ideas , because what is at stake is the core essence of the region – the unity, patriotic constituency and communal harmony . It cannot be squandered away . This requires a realistic approach of reaching out to the people at all levels and throughout the landscape of hills and plains. There should be a unified approach in which the narrative of hills versus plains should be eliminated once and for all . This requires pragmatism to understand that what can bridge the gaps
Apart from the political outreach in which all the people of the region are made stakeholders , there is a need for economic resources and opportunities to cement the relationship leading to the political , economic empowerment and enhancement of the social relations . There can be few other means to reduce the physical and psychological distances . This is the need of the hour.
Delhi should play its due role . Delhi is capable of doing things and reversing the wrongs of the past. The time do all this is now.