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, September 6, 2008

Keeping the Kashmiri Nation in the Dark

Afsana's investigative report is interesting and yet not surprising

(Ms. Afsana Rashid, 29, was born and raised in Srinagar and attended the Minto Circle High School. She graduated from the Government College for Women with a Bachelor's degree in science, and completed her post-graduation degree from the University of Kashmir, obtaining her Master's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. She has received numerous world-wide recognition and awards for covering economic depravation and gender sensitive issues in Kashmiri journals, which include Sanjoy Ghose Humanitarian Award, Bhorukha Trust Media Award 2007, and the 2006-07 UNFPA-Ladli Media Award. Her work on "Impact of conflict on subsistence livelihood of marginalised communities in Kashmir and Alternatives", was recognized by Action Aid India in 2005-06. She has travelled abroad attending a workshop on "conflict Reporting" by Thomson Foundation, Cardiff, UK, and a seminar for women in conflict areas by IKV Pax Christi, Netherlands. In February 2008, she compiled a book, "Waiting for Justice: Widows and Half-widows.")

New Delhi in contact with Separatists

Afsana Rashid

Srinagar: The Government of India (GOI) is in constant touch with some of the separatist leaders who have been arrested more than a week ago and New Delhi is hopeful that some breakthrough would be achieved while taking on board these people while traversing on the path aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue.

Highly placed sources told this newspaper that the GOI wants to take on board important separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) and Mohammad Yasin Malik, chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) before arriving at any decision aimed at solving the Kashmir imbroglio.

“New Delhi is fully aware that leaders like Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik have a say in the Kashmir valley and it is important to take them along while arriving at any solution of the Kashmir problem. These leaders visited New Delhi thrice during the past one week or so and deliberations were carried out with them. More rounds of the talks are likely to be held in the coming days,” said the sources.

The three separatists were arrested during the intervening night of August 23 and 24 in the wake of “Lal Chowk Chalo” programme last week announced by the Coordination Committee.

“The three separatists were taken to New Delhi thrice during the last eight days to hold talks with the GOI and the process is likely to continue over the next few days. After their return from New Delhi these leaders have been placed at Cheshmashahi,” said the sources.

The sources said that people living in the Jammu region have received a shot in the arm after the agreement between Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) and the panel appointed by Governor Narendra Nath Vohra.

“The Samiti would soon come out with its demands revolving around a parallel concept (as autonomy in Kashmir) and equal allocation of funds to Jammu region. Following the deal with state government, the Samiti is gearing to demand equal status for Jammuites in secretariat and equal funds for that region. These people are also going to demand that the heads of departments in the Jammu region to be locals (Dogras) and not from the Kashmir valley,” said the sources.

“As Kashmiris demand the status of autonomy, the Samiti too is planning to come out with some similar concept. They no longer want to stay with the Kashmir valley as a state. These people have been encouraged after the deal between the Samiti and the governor appointed panel. They believe that there every demand would be fulfilled and the same is driving them to move ahead,” said the sources.

(Daily Khidmat)

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