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.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alarming Rise in Drug Abuse in Kashmir

Anantnag, Baramulla worst hit

Alarming rise in drug abuse in Kashmir

Tanveen Kawoosa (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: The menace of drug abuse in Kashmir seems to be raging on and on with no apparent end seems to be in sight. Worse still is the fact that the district Anantnag tops with 45% of population consuming illicit drugs according to reports. Data provided by an NGO, Action Aid international indicates a steep rise in the consumption of illicit drugs especially by youth in the two major districts Anantnag and Baramulla.

According to study, the younger generation in the age group of 15 to 30 years is more indulged in drug abuse and males outnumber the female drug abusers in the district Anantnag. The study while quoting physician in sub-district hospital Anantnag, states that 45% of people are involved in the addiction. However, in Baramulla district, involvement of 40% of population has been reported. The uninterrupted illegal cultivation of Marijuana, Hashish, Bhang, Opium in various parts of the state in violation of the norms and laws prescribed under various legislations, is the basic cause of the spread of this menace, the study maintains The most affected areas in the district Anantnag include, Tulkhun, Sangam, Dupathyar, Sampthan, Nanil, located at a 7 km from Bijbehara. The substance used includes Poopy seeds, Phuki product of poppy, Charas, Ganja, Corex, Alprox, Diazipam. "School children being less risky group are employed for harvesting and processing of addictive substance,'' said Arjimand Hussain, Project Manager, Action Aid International "In the process they become more vulnerable to this menace,'' he adds. According to the report, doctors in the District hospital Baramulla, estimate that 40% of population are involved in the drug abuse.

The affected population mostly comprises drivers and youth from rich families. IV injection, cough syrup, alcohol, alprax and brown sugar is main addictive substance consumed. The study details that both school and college students are involved in this illicit practice. The study further alleges that the main suppliers are military camps and hotels in this district. "Several factors play a key role in initiating youth into addiction. Irrespective of their educational background drug abusers can be surprisingly ignorant of the extent of damage that addiction can cause,'' said Dr Sumeera, Sociologist She further states drugs are taking captive millions of our children, and even killing them. To prevent the present situation from further worsening, substantial measures need to be taken at the earliest. "If we don't do something right now about drug abuse, we are in danger of losing an entire generation of our children,'' adds Sumeera.

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