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Vast improvement in countering insurgency in JK: Sahai

New Delhi, Jun 13: There is vast improvement in dealing with the problem of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir when compared to the situation in the 90s, according to a senior official of the National Security Council.

Speaking at the international conference on “Tackling insurgent ideologies”, organised by Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, S M Sahai, senior joint secretary of the National Security Council Secretariat, said “from what was in the 90’s, till now it is a vast improvement.”

“Statistically, the insurgency has come down,” he told Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow, ORF during the panel discussion on “New Frontiers: The Indian Experience with Countering Online Radicalisation”.

Sahai, who has also served as a top cop in Kashmir, said from a radicalisation point of view, it is not only a ‘Muslim problem’.

With the access of information in today’s age, children are moving out of societal controls. “If you have Gujjars, Jats, Marathas, all vying for more representation in the state, this is because they are moving away from the traditional rhetoric,” he said.

During the Dalit agitation, people outside India were supporting the cause on social media and aiding the agitation, Sahai pointed out.

Sahai said 11 percent of the country’s population is Muslim.

“And it is a huge number of people. If radicalisation was that deep-rooted, we would be at war today especially with people pumping money and information from abroad in their effort to radicalise the population,” he said.

He said the government is allowing the society in India to address de-radicalization at the grassroots, rather than interfering in every case and taking radicalised individuals away and re-settling them elsewhere. Elders in the society play a crucial role in India, he said.

He said in India we don’t bracket radicalised people with criminals. We do not treat radicalised people as we treat criminals, he said, adding the radicalised person considers himself morally superior to the state. Treating both as the same is not the approach towards de-radicalisation, he said.

Sahai emphasised the need for youths to be kept engaged and occupied.

He remarked that policing is not only about preventing and regulating, as India urbanises, but the police force needs to act as instruments of social aid.

He said Indian society’s strength lies in its ability to not fall prey to political divisions, therefore categorising Muslims in way or the other, is not something that the Indian polity will subscribe towards.

The three-day conference, with the keynote addresses from Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar and UK’s Minister for Countering Extremism Baroness Williams, saw participation of nearly speakers from India, Afghanistan, West Asia, Europe and the US.