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.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Word is out: Drug Abuse is on the Rise in Kashmir

Drug cartels using JK as transit point

Syed Salman

Jammu, March 28: Drug abuse has acquired serious dimensions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the recent times. The number of drug addicts has increased alarmingly, with drug cartel operating from other countries using Jammu and Kashmir as a transit point making contrabands easily available.

According to unofficial source in Jammu and Kashmir charas and poppy is cultivated in the far off areas, and the destruction of the cultivation is extremely difficult for the authorities on account of law and order problems in the areas.

However, official sources said that the cultivation of poppy crop is strictly banned in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the persons found involved in the trade are booked by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) as the cultivation of crop needs a licensees issued from the NCB. According to facts and figures provided by NCB Jammu, sixty persons indulged in the trade have been booked under NDPS Act during the year 2007 and 44 cases have been registered in this connection.

In different parts of state approximately 677.000 kgs of Poppy Straw, 118.000 kgs of chars, 139 corex bottles, 398 capsules and other substances of drugs like Heroin, bung dust, and canbus powder were seized by the police and NCB till the end of 2007.

Official sources said that Jammu and Kashmir is geographically located between the countries having largest poppy growing areas and the Heroin is smuggled through the state and trafficked to major consumer markets in the world.

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