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

Lack of Credibility Accentuates With Fake NGO's

If people would really get involved in civics, fake NGO's would be a thing of the past

Fake NGOs collect crores in Ramadan

Abid Bashir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: Alarmed by the growing number of "fake" Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), especially orphanages in Kashmir, State administration has sought peoples' help to initiate action against the "fake" organizations, which collect crores of rupees as donations during the holy month of Ramadan.

According to police sources more than 1,000 NGOs including 373 orphanages have been registered in the State during past 10 years. "It has been noticed that only few hundred work on the ground throughout the year while others make their presence felt in Ramadan to collect donations," they said, adding, "There is no accurate figure available about the total number of NGO's registered during the past 20 years".

After the emergence of fake organisations, the heads of Kashmir's renowned and registered orphanages have called upon administration to act against such NGOs and banish them from collecting donations.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Masoud Samoon sought people's support in tackling this menace. "It is really a serious issue but a difficult one to handle. How could we know that an orphanage or a trust is fake unless people inform us? I appeal people that in case they come across any such organizations, they should inform us or police so that action could be taken against the fake NGO", Samoon told Rising Kashmir.

He said that unless people cooperated with them it won't be possible to deal with the issue.
Over the years it has been observed that scores of people, majority being from villages surface on the very first day of Ramadan with receipt books and collect donations in the name of Zakat and Sadkah from people. However, nobody knows where the money goes.

Ashiq Bukhari, chairman of Jammu Kashmir Yateem Khana, a registered orphanage having more than 350 orphans and 250 widows told Rising Kashmir, "Collecting donations in the name of fake orphanages has become a serious problem. Something tangible has to be done by the authorities to control this menace. Our policy is clear: we don't have any receipt books and don't go for door to door campaign to seek donations. We have published our message on the posters stating that whosoever is willing to donate his/her sadakah or Zakat should directly come to the orphanage and earn heaven."

He admitted that scores of people, who run fake intuitions, surface in Ramadan and collect lakhs of rupees as donations. "This needs to be stopped as they are depriving the genuine orphans and widows of their due," Bukhari said.

Demanding action against fake NGOs, he said, "We are ready to support administration in tackling this grave issue. We want to eradicate this menace".

Muneer Ahmad, chairman JK Yateem Foundation, seconded Bukhari and said they too have the same policy as that of Bemina orphanage. "We too don't have any receipt books and don't collect donations. The donators visit our office for donations. Thanks to Allah, there is no scarcity of funds in our orphanage."

He said that they will support every move of the administration to identify the fake NGOs so that necessary action can be taken against them.

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