DHAKA: We are horrified, we are spellbound! If, we try to find the roots of rising radicalism which are often breaching the fraternity and secularism of the mankind, every corner of the society can be blamed. But this is not the best time for blame game. Still, we have some way out to tackle these kinds of bloody hell.
Before this competitive and technologically advanced social structure, we had a society with affluent number of volunteering organizations. Youngsters had enough time for real life socialization, making peer groups, having chat with friends face to face, doing something voluntarily for the betterment of the society and there were seniors to guide the juniors in the organizations.
After the social transformation, individualism developed. We want certificates from our offspring but not the Knowledge; money but not the Conscience. Thus Young generations are stranded to an empty space. Other than extensive study, they do not have any real life event to participate. They do not find any cause to prove their bravery. They don’t have dreams or passion to chase. These are making them easy pick up for the fanatics. The mastermind fanatics are offering them causes, events and adventures to perform in the real life.
It is not wise to point out the finger to a specific body. Yes, anybody (including teachers and parents) didn’t perform their duties in fresh hand. As a result the venom of this fundamentalism already circulated in our social lifeline. Now, we need to set out some specific measures to mitigate the damage that already took place. The followings are my personal recommendations to tackle this curse:
1. In each District Administration and Upazila Administration, there should be a “Terrorism Foiling Unit” comprising related officers (Executive Magistrate, Police, NSI, Assistant Programmer, member from other intelligence group etc.). This unit should have technical facility to monitor and analyze internet and network based threats, have online database of the local jurisdiction, have sources to collect information from different corner of the locality.
2. “Terrorism Foiling Unit” should have special concern to the drop out students. There are lot of students in the country who left their study and passing time with computer games. Parents are happy because their children are apparently out of drugs. So, they do not try to intervene in the contact list that their children posing in the internet. Apparently, these kinds of children are the easy target for such brainwash activities.
3. An additional duty is to impose on Government officials and Public representatives. They need to visit an educational Institutions (School, Madrasa, College, University) in each week and to speak in a general sessions to the students covering our culture, nature, liberation war, achievements, individual passion and dream. District and Upazila administration can prepare a list of speakers and schedule for the institutions.
4. A list of speaker is needed to prepare locally, including religious scholar, teacher, government officials, public representatives to speak in the mosques before Jumma prayer. Islamic Foundation can prepare the list of mosques and speakers with coordination of the local administration.
5. Like educational institutions we need to form social/volunteering/sports/fine arts/cultural organizations/film society in each para/mohalla/area. Participation of all students to these organizations would be mandatory. Authority needs to develop such mechanism. In case of private initiatives, government should extend its financial support to the organizations. In our country, we already have some infrastructure to facilitate these activities. Zila Shilpokala Academy, Shishu Academy, Zila Krira Sangastha etc. All we need is to make the participation mandatory.
6. It should be mandatory for all kind of educational institutions to participate in each national and local events of science fair, sports, tree plantation program, debate competition etc.
7. Gardening, pottery, stamp/coin collection or any kind of hobby nurturing should be given priority in the performance evaluation of the students.
8. Countryside visit, camping, Scouting, cycling, swimming, willful reading of world literature (activities like Bishwo Sahitya Kendro) etc. are to be mandatory for the all kind of educational institutions.
9. Parents needed to understand that s/he should not give his/her all out effort to make tangible assets. His/her children are asset for him and the society if nourished properly. Some family time is much required to guide the generations.
10. Government has taken initiatives to form “Science Club” in each Upazila. But, activities of the clubs are to boost up and it should extend its area of concern. This club can work to foil any kind of bigotry. The authorized team from the club should have power to explain the counter logic and defuse any bigotry that brings extremism.
11. Educational Institution authority need to make sure that each student is participating in at least two extracurricular activities regularly.
12. English Medium Schools and Qawmi Madrasas may have different curriculum but authority needs to bring them under same umbrella to introduce the extra-curricular activities mentioned above.
The above mentioned activities must be monitored from the top level of the government. Terrorism, radicalism is a sharp deviation incurred due to various reasons over a long period of time. With the immediate measures, we need to plan long term basis to eradicate it completely.
BDST: 2129 HRS, JUL 29, 2016
Writer: Ashif Anam Siddique, Assistant Commissioner & Executive Magistrate, Munshiganj.