THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Come June, when schools and colleges reopen after the summer break, students, especially in the northern parts of Kerala, will lay their hands on a different topic that they most likely won’t have attended to before. Lessons on the Constitution. Launched by the counter-radicalisation wing of the state police, school and college students of selected institutions will be imparted lessons on the virtues of the Constitution to help them stay safe from extremist ideologies.
Though handpicked religious places in the northern parts of the state have been witnessing such programmes for quite some time as part of the administration’s move to ramp up efforts to sensitise the masses about the threat of such deviant ideologies, this is the first time the student community is being brought under the programme.Intelligence sources told Express that educational institutions have been selected as teenagers were more prone to being swayed by extremist thoughts.“They have more access to the internet as well, so they need to be specially addressed,” said an officer who is part of the project.
Selected schools and colleges from Thrissur district onwards will be covered under the programme. However, contrary to what was being done at places of worship, where religious scriptures were used as the main tool to educate the public, in schools, constitutional values alone will be used.The decision was taken after the police top brass noted that radicalisation was not limited to a community and the best remedial measure would be to equip the student community to understand this before it is too late.
“Radicalisation happens among Muslims and Hindus. We are planning to reach out to students of all communities. The benefits the Constitution offers will be the ideal subject that can be used as a deterrent to those who are inclined towards radical ideas,” said the officer.
The programme is, in a way, modelled on ‘Prevent’, one of the four cogs of the UK’s anti-terrorism strategy. Prevent’s wider objective was to bridge the gap between law enforcement agencies and various communities, but it also aims to positively intervene in the case of those who are susceptible to violent extremism.Sources in the intelligence wing, meanwhile, hinted those who are found to be under the influence of extremist principles would be referred for the de-radicalisation programme.