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.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can we please move on? The state has gone through hell in the past 4 months

Let us give peace a chance

Governor's State Advisory Council has Passed a Peace Resolution

Srinagar: The recently constituted State Advisory Council (SAC) in its maiden meeting here on Tuesday passed a peace resolution to restore peace in the state with the involvement of people from all the shades of life.

The resolution was moved and passed during the first marathon meeting of SAC chaired by Governor N N Vohra on September 30.

The representatives of almost all the political parties barring Congress participated in the meeting and put forth their views before the Governor.
The next SAC meeting was fixed for October 18.

The Governor in his inaugural speech said the State has gone through " a difficult phase" over the past two and a half months and added that the need of the hour was to frame a policy for peace and maintaining age-old communal brotherhood.

"I appeal all SAC members to work together for the promotion of peace, communal and regional amity to preserve the composite culture and ethos of the State," Vohra said.

He expressed profound grief and sorrow over the killing of innocent people during the two month agitation. "The State suffered from in every way especially on economic front. We need to be back on the path of development. For that I need everybody's cooperation," he said at the SAC which is aimed at garnering the support of various sections of society in putting the state particularly Kashmir valley back on the rails.

Senior PDP leader Abul Aziz Zargar, who represented Peoples Democratic Party in the SAC meet said he urged the Governor that more confidence measures should be taken to address the problems of Kashmiri people.

"I put my viewpoint in the meeting and stated that the people of Kashmir suffered immensely during the last two months and major steps should be taken to address their grievances. I also told the Governor that people of Kashmir have been forced into alienation as scars of economic blockade followed by strikes and curfew were still afresh," Zargar told Rising Kashmir.
Zargar said he urged the Governor that the need of the hour was to address the internal and external dimensions of Kashmir issue, which include not only the free movement of vehicles but of people too. In this regard, Zargar reitatered his party's stand vis a vis opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road for trade and statement of Prime Minister in New York.

"The Governor himself appreciated the opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road for trade. I appealed him that more CBMs needed to be taken to make the atmosphere peaceful in Kashmir," Zargar said. "We did not touch the election issue."

Zargar said he sought the attention of Vohra towards the news of giving the land of Pampore joinery mills on lease to CRPF which was published in Rising Kashmir on Tuesday and appealed him not to allow this deal to go through as the land was best for the production of Saffron. "It is a fertile land we should use it for better purpose than to give it to CRPF" he said.

Mian Altaf Ahmad senior leader of National Conference (NC) in SAC said he urged the Governor to hold talks with the groups claiming to be representatives of people. "I requested the Governor stringent policy should be framed to address the problems of Kashmiri people. Governor too is ready to hold dialogue with the people to diffuse the crisis," the NC leader said adding that Kashmir has passed through difficult times and it was time to look beyond the "vested interests" to resolve this issue. He also highlighted the problems concerning Gujjar and Bakarwal community.

State President of rightwing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Ashok Khajuri told Rising Kashmir that he urged the Governor not to allow Congress leaders to take stock of the developmental projects going on in Jammu. Without naming Ghulam Nabi Azad he said took exception to a visit by former Chief Minister to some developmental projects going on in Jammu.

CPI (M) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said he briefed that Governor that owing to the situation that emerged during the last two months a gap has taken place between the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"This gap needs to be bridged at any cost. Otherwise repercussions will be bad and difficult to handle. I urged the Governor to start a reconciliation process to bridge the divide between the two regions to bring back peace," Tarigami said.

Jammu Kashmir National Panthers Party Chairman Bhim Singh stressed that concrete steps should be taken to make atmosphere peaceful both in Kashmir and Jammu as well. After hearing the suggestions of everyone, the Governor passed a 'Peace Resolution' to carve out a strategy to bring peace back in the State.

The meeting was also attended by Ghulam Hassan Mir, Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Prof Riyaz Punjabi, Mr Amrit Malhotra, Anil Suri, A R Tukroo, Ghulam Hassan Khan, Maj Gen (Retd) Govardhan Singh Jamwal, Dr Girja Dhar, Prof Lalit Magotra, Masud Choudhry, M M Khajuria, Mahanat Manjeet Singh, Hakim Mohammed Yasin, Mr Muzaffar Shah, Prof Nusrat Andrabi, Ram Sahai, Prof Sidiq Wahid, Sheikh Abdul Rehman, Sofi Yousf , Daman Bhasin, Amitabh Mattoo, Riyaz`Punjabi and Zaffar Manhas.

On the official side, the meeting was attended by the Advisors to Governor, H H Tyabji, Dr Sudhir S Bloeria, C Phusog, Chief Secretary, S S Kapur, Financial Commissioner, Planning and Development, S L Bhat, Principal Secretary Home, Anil Goswami, Principal Secretary to Governor, B B Vyas, Commissioner/Secretary GAD, Basharat Ahmed Dhar, Commissioner/Secretary CAPD, Mehboob Iqbal Khan and Commissioner/Secretary Health, Atal Duloo.

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