Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hoping Against Hope: Mrs. Parveena Ahangar's lonely fight for justice and truth

Syed Basharat reports on a slow march to justice for a determined mother ...

(Mr. Syed Basharat, 27, was born in Kreeri, Baramulla, and did his schooling in Kreeri, and later in Uri and Sopore. He graduated from the Degree College in Baramulla and completed his Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 2005. He has been a reporter for Kashmir Images, a Srinagar based daily, London based website Gaashonline.Com, and a Srinagar based journal, Globe. Currently, he is working as a special correspondent with Jammu based daily newspaper, The Kashmir Times.)

SRINAGAR, Jan 29: Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar Aijaz Ahmad has issued non bailable warrants against three army majors accused in enforced disappearance of Javed Ahmad son of Parveena Ahangar-president Association of parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).

The three army personnel-Major S N Gupta of 6 Assam Rifles, Major Dinesh Sharma of Mountain Brigade and Major S S Katoch are allegedly involved in custodial disappearance of Javed-11th standard student, who according to family was whisked away by National Security Guards (NSG) on August 18, 1990 from his uncle Ali Mohammad Ahangar's house at Dhobi Mohalla Batamaloo-Srinagar.

Next day Javed's family members filed a missing report at police station Batmaloo and Shergari but no FIR was registered. In search of her son, Parveena approached every nook and corner of the administration including Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar. From PCR she was sent to B. B cant hospital where her son was admitted.

"I went to that hospital thrice but all in vain," says Parveena, who again approached PCR where she was advised to approach the high court.

On filing a petition before state high court which directed the police station Shergari to register FIR in Javed disappearance case. The police station Shergari registered FIR no 17/91 under section 364 (abduction). After police inquiry it was established that three Majors were involved in Javed's detention and subsequent disappearance. On February 5, 2003 police presented charge sheet against the accused army personnel. The trial started but the accused army personnel never turned up. According to Parveena, her family was continuously intimidated by different agencies, who even offered money, job, and bounties to withdraw the case. Parveena, however, didn't succumbed to any pressure. Instead she has played a pioneering role in uniting majority of such families who don't know whereabouts of their loved ones, under the banner of APDP.

Parveena has visited almost every jail in India but to no avail. But even after 18 years, her search has not ended and she still hopes far her sons' safe return. Her struggle gave a new direction to those mothers who share a similar tragedy. With a non bailable warrant issued against the accused army personnel, Parveena sees hope that perpetrators of her son's enforced disappearance would be brought to book. "I will continue this fight until my death. It is not a matter of prestige but justice and truth which should prevail in any circumstances,' she observed.

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