Youth In Kashmir Lacks Political Space

Younis Kaloo
Srinagar, Aug 16 (KNB): The youth of Kashmir are one of the ignored of the youths in the world, with no platforms to voice their opinions, share problems or express what they want. This is evident from the fact that no student politics or activism is allowed to flourish in  our educational institutions, either in colleges or universities, which otherwise is normal in other varsities of the world, including India where in institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Delhi University (DU) student unions are allowed.
Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU), formed by students in 2007, was considered to be a beginning of the new dawn for the youngsters at the university, providing themselves with a platform to speak for themselves and others.  But the university authorities soon banned the union and demolished its office in 2010 saying they do not recognise KUSU as the students’ body and that no student’s union is going to be allowed on the campus. Since then, students have been demanding that the student politics be started again on the campus.
However, in a written reply to an RTI seeking a photo copy of the order, which  banned the union, filed by J and K RTI Movement, the university officials revealed in 2017 that the union was not officially banned. The reply to the RTI said, “There is no such record or circular regarding the subject”.
The other reason that even has been voiced by the incumbent MLAs is the ‘dynasty politics and nepotism’. It is said that political parties in Kashmir choose their kith and kin over others who have worked for the party for years. The example in this case is the recent interview of the disgruntled PDP MLA Molvi Imran Raza Ansari with Rising Kashmir. Ansari said that bringing Tasaduq Mufti into the Party has disheartened the political workers who were associated with Mehbooba Mufti and her party for 15 years and have given their blood for it.
In an exclusive interview with Kashmir News Bureau recently, Youth President PDP Waheed-ur-Rehman Para said, “Bringing young people to join democracy is a challenge. Currently, we have only 2 percent of young people in assembly which is nothing. Since 1947, the percentage of youth in mainstream has been very less in terms of MLA or MPs. But we still have to find ways and bring in people. Our party has got a lot of young people and they are doing very well”.
Para also said, “We are a young state with young population. In all the three regions, we have young people in all the institutions: administration, politics, art and others. But, because of the circumstances on ground and because of the aspirational issue, many youth join militancy. We are all children of the conflict because of the environment around us”..
However, Waheed remarked, “Wherever the revolutions take place in the world, ultimately democracy is the solution.  We already have a democratic model”.  (KNB)
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