The goodwill schools that the Indian Army runs in Jammu and Kashmir are essentially ‘preventive radicalisation camps’, India’s newly recruited Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, has told News18 in an exclusive interview.
Explaining his controversial remark at the Raisina Dialogue that young children being radicalised in Kashmir need to be identified and placed in de-radicalisation camps, General Rawat once again emphasised the need for ‘preventive radicalisation’.
“Why must you allow a person to be radicalised and then de-radicalise them?” he questioned after being asked if he had reconsidered his position on the matter.
The General, however, sought to redefine what he meant when he used the word ‘camp’ for these de-radicalisation efforts. “Camp does not only mean a military camp. The word ‘camp’ can be used in different terms. Open a dictionary and you’d understand,” he said while speaking to News18 at the Defence Expo in Lucknow.
Giving the example of the 46 goodwill schools, he said that not a single child who passed out of these schools had picked up stones or guns.
“We have got Army goodwill schools in the Valley. What are these? Why do we run these schools? Is it my task to run schools? Why am I running them? I am preventing some of these children from going adrift and getting radicalised. So you might call it de-radicalisation but I would say it is preventive radicalisation. These are not camps…”
At a panel discussion held mid-January at this year’s Raisina Dialogue, General Rawat had stirred a massive controversy with his claim that there are de-radicalisation camps going on in our country and even Pakistan was doing the same.