Reacting sharply to the comments of Altaf Bukhari, Minister of Education, wherein he blamed the Army for ‘meddling’ in the affairs of the State, Bharatiya Janata Party has advised the minister to be pragmatic and accept the reality rather than locking horns with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who in a statement has warned about the misuse of social media, government schools, mosques and madrasas in spreading “disinformation campaign resulting in radicalisation”. In a statement issued here today, Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of the Party has stated that the statement of the Army chief should be viewed positively rather than turning it into a political issue since his statement is based on his vast experience of service in the Valley as well as through his interactions with students at various levels. “Even, the Chief Minister of the State has voiced her concern over radicalisation and indoctrination of youths in her recent speech on the floor of the house while replying to the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address. She had also referred to ‘glorification of gun’ on the social media as a matter of concern,” stated Brig Gupta.
“The Army is an important stakeholder in the restoration of peace and normalcy in the State. The Chief is well within his rights and democratic mandate to voice concern against issues which affect national integration and act contradictory to the achievement of the desired goal of long lasting peace and normalcy. There is no denying the fact that the youth in the far flung areas is being radicalised and taught that the J&K State and India are two distinct identities rather than being one. It is a matter of worry not only for the State but the entire nation more so for those who are the custodian of nation’s integrity”, reads the statement.
“Bukhari should know the Army’s contribution to education sector in the State. The Army runs many Army Goodwill Public Schools in J&K which are considered as model schools and provide unhindered quality education to our children” stated Brig Gupta.
It was the Army which took the initiative of restoring schooling in the Valley through its “School Chalo” programme when the schools were being burnt one after the other and the education system had virtually collapsed in the Valley as an aftermath of killing of Burhan Wani”, reminded Brig Gupta. Using a local slogan ‘Chyem Ne Zaroorat Daulat-o-Rubab, Faqat Gochum School Te Kitab (I don’t need money and fame, I need books and school)’, the Army officers and men motivated the parents to start sending their wards to the schools, recalled the statement.
Terming the trend of radicalisation among the youth as an “aberration” is a gross miscalculation on the part of the Education Minister and his refusal to accept the presence of elephant in the room is certainly to misfire and prove disastrous for the State, warned Brig Gupta. It is in the best interest of all to take the statement of Gen Rawat in a constructive and positive manner and institute remedial measures wherever needed rather than dismissing it as interference in the domain of Education Minister, advised the statement.