Rising crime in teenagers, moral decline, indiscipline, and juveniles’ delinquency is witnessing an alarming rise. The latest report of a teenager homicide exposes the gravity of the situation in the region. The buck stops where? Many sensitive souls like me must have been saddened and shocked to hear the news recently, 15-year-old, BA (name changed), reportedly stabbed to death by another teenager in Dalgate area of Kashmir. With yet another shocking case of homicide hitting the headlines, the gravity of the crime in Kashmir is once again in the limelight with speculations around to find any linkage between growing indiscipline, immodesty, substance abuse with its manifestations as crime.
During the past few months, there has been a surge in crimes perpetrated by minors and an alarming rise in stabbing cases. Acts of violence like this can deeply affect individuals and communities, especially when they involve the loss of innocent lives, such as children. It is indeed a distressing and sorrowful event. Today, youth crime is rife, theft, burglary or even murder are now committed by people of younger ages. These distressing trends have stirred significant concerns regarding the collective responsibilities of the society and the profound social impact it bears. While I don't have access to real-time data or events, I can offer some general insights on the topic. It's important to recognize that addressing rising crime among teenagers is a complex issue that requires collaboration and coordination among all these stakeholders. With each of these entities playing their part in preventing and remedying teenage crime, there is a direct correlation between the lack of engagement in educational activities, environmental culture, abuse of internet cell phones and serious criminal offending in children.
Character Building, Education and Prevention
Parents play a critical role in shaping their children's behavior and values. Education, discipline, upbringing in the simplest sense, socio moral ethics, being able to identify the difference between right and wrong and then consciously choosing to do the right thing is primarily the responsibility of parents. They should be actively involved in their children's lives, provide guidance, set boundaries, and instill strong moral values. If you want righteous children, become a righteous parent.
Family environments and parenting are crucial factors in a child's development. A breakdown in family structures, neglect, abuse, or a lack of positive role models can lead young people down troubled paths. It is observed that extreme behaviors are exhibited by most children from dysfunctional families. Without the supervision from parents or caregivers, children’s extreme behaviors such as aggression, hostility or defiance are given free rein to develop in their later lives. Silence at home, which seems to be associated with a poor prognosis. We are living in an era of temptations that transcends the glittering facade of the temporal order so prone to degeneration and corrupt dealings and relationships of all types and, a moral dilemma can exist in innocence when an individual is torn between right and wrong.
Schools and Educators
These days children spend more time in schools and coaching centers than with family. Teachers are keen observers on the conduct disorder (CD) behaviors and tendencies of their pupils who are willing to engage in corrupt transactions. It is easy to choose between a right and a wrong but to choose less wrong between two wrongs and better between two rights, makes all the difference. We struggle not only with what in fact we ought to do, but also with how in the world we are to decide whether it is right to lie just this once. Schools can contribute by fostering a positive and safe learning environment and inculcating moral education in school curriculum. This includes implementing anti-bullying programs, providing counseling services, and offering extracurricular activities that engage students’ decision-making interactive events in constructive ways.
Society plays a significant role in shaping the behavior of its youth and invests in its prevention efforts. The responsibilities of society in preventing juvenile crime include providing access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, mental health support, and opportunities for personal and social development. When these elements are lacking, it can contribute to an increase in juvenile crime.
To create a safer environment a strong sense of collective consciousness can also help deter crime when neighbors support one another. Selective mutism, insensitiveness by the community at large encourages moral decline and social bad behavior. In a Muslim-majority valley, we the believers on the doomsday, we will be questioned about the role we played to stop youth from getting into this menace. Our Mohalla committees, religious centers (Dar al ulooms) and religious scholars need to come together to fight the issue. The valley is battling a drug addiction crisis; over 10 lakh people were officially designated drug addicts by the Jammu and Kashmir administration this year.
The reach of mosques and Imambaras in Kashmir is far and deep because of their presence in almost every locality in collaboration with nonprofit and community organizations that can provide support and positive alternatives for teenagers. Programs focused on mentoring, after-school activities, and job training can help keep young people engaged in productive endeavors. Encouraging positive peer relationships and discouraging involvement in criminal activities can make a difference. Social workers, peer groups and mental health professionals can provide crucial support to teenagers facing challenging circumstances.
Religious education and upbringing is indeed brimming with valuable lessons that can guide our youth in our daily lives. In the realm of divine narratives and instructive stories, where wisdom shines brilliantly, our youth can embark on a journey filled with courage, enlightenment, and inspiration. The Quran,”Wisdom and Light," transports us to a world where Allah's teachings seamlessly intertwine with virtuous lives, narrating stories that echo through the corridors of time.
Government and Policy Makers can implement policies that address the root causes of teenage crime. This may include investments in education, social services, mental health programs, and juvenile justice reform. Law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing the law and addressing criminal behaviour. They play a vital role in investigating and preventing teenage crime. Teenagers themselves have a role in their own behaviour. They should be held accountable for their actions and taught about the consequences of criminal behaviour. Futuristic career disparities can impact the likelihood of juvenile crime.
Communities with limited economic opportunities may have higher rates of youth involvement in criminal activities due to a lack of viable alternatives. The juvenile justice system also plays a significant role. It should focus on rehabilitation and addressing the root causes of criminal behaviour rather than punitive measures. Many young offenders have experienced trauma or have unaddressed mental health issues. A fair and equitable system is essential to ensuring that young offenders can reform and reintegrate into society. Throughout education and training counselling should not be delayed with the appearance of the first symptom/sign of delinquency. The children can realize their wrongful actions and be given opportunities to turn over a new leaf and transform themselves into useful members of society later in life. The issue of juvenile crime and violence is a complex and multifaceted problem. There is no single solution, and success often depends on addressing this issue and requires a comprehensive and holistic approach involving families, schools, communities, and not leaving entirely to the Government.
From pulpits of mosques to classrooms, the fight against moral decline and indiscipline among youth must be intensified in Kashmir. Drug menace is already gripping the valley as an alarming number of youths get addicted. It is extremely important to provide holistic nurturing and development opportunities to children spanning over intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional realms. Time demands an organised community response given the scale of the problem to play in creating an environment where young people are less likely to engage in criminal activities and more likely to grow into responsible, disciplined, futuristic law-abiding adults. Additionally, it's crucial to collaborate with experts and organizations working on prevention and intervention strategies to address this issue effectively.
(Author besides being a medical doctor, is very active in positive perception management of various moral and social issues. He can be reached at email@example.com & twitter @drfiazfazili)