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, May 17, 2008

Child Abductions - What is going on?

An editorial in the Rising Kashmir highlights a need for closer introspection on the issue of growing child abductions. "We as a society need to contribute towards corrective measures and not simply wait for the state apparatus to respond."

Child abduction: It is a pointer to the deeper social problem

Srinagar: The incident of a minor being abducted in downtown Srinagar, has raised some very disturbing questions. It is a fresh tragedy that has struck the people of Kashmir. What happened at Habba Kadel in the broad day light is not the first incident of its kind. We have been witnessing it from sometime.

Recently in one of the posh localities of uptown Srinagar, a minor girl was saved by the nearby shopkeeper from being abducted by some unknown persons when she started crying while being forced to sit in an auto rikshaw. It is a serious social problem that calls for immediate attention.

It is very painful to learn that police didn’t take the matter seriously when an FIR was registered at the concerned police station after the case of abduction at Habba Kadal, as the relatives of the abducted minor accused. Imagine the family of a minor who has been abducted. It completely devastates the life of that family.In many ways, having a child abducted and not ever knowing his or her true fate, is worse than the child's actual death. In this state the psychological trauma that the parents go through is simply indescribable.

Habba Kadal incident should shake us up as a people. The minor Mehran Lateef was abducted from his home after coming from school. With locals accusing the police of showing lackadaisical attitude the matter turns from bad to worse. If police doesn’t gear up itself to meet the challenge people will be left with no other alternative than to pour into streets and express their anger.

To avoid such painful incidents from happening we need to dig out the very source of this problem. Such problems are always related with the overall status of society. Since from past many years different kinds of unwanted elements have crept into our society, it is in the form of different criminal activities that these elements later express themselves.

To identify such elements and crush them down, we as a society need to contribute towards the corrective measures. Since the state apparatus are too busy with a peculiar kind of political action, it is not a realistic approach to leave such matters exclusively to them. Although public pressure needs to be mounted on the concerned authorities to perform their duties, people need to mobilize and activate other social institution to meet the crisis.

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