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, February 19, 2009

In the First 12 Days in February, Kashmir Police Wrote 7,20,750 Citations

Kashmiris known for their recklessness are paying a having toll on roads

Record surge in traffic violations in Valley

Srinagar: A staggering number of challans imposed in a short period of time stand testimony as to how brazenly the traffic rules are violated in Kashmir. The traffic department has so far imposed 7,32,842 challans for various traffic violations since January this year. Most of the penalties were imposed from February 1 to February 12 after the traffic department started a drive against the violators. The figure stands at 7,20,750 challans during this period. In January this year, a total of 12,259 challans were imposed with a total of Rs 2306640 fine realized.

During the course, traffic department has slapped penalties on all types of vehicles. Many violators were even arrested and vehicles seized.

The fine was imposed mostly for offences like incomplete or no driving licenses, riding without crash helmets, wrong parking, misuse of tinted glass in the vehicles and commercial drivers working without uniforms.

As per the officials, if the law is strictly implemented, half of the city residents would go behind bars for not having driving licenses.

Senior Superintendent of Traffic Police, Kifayat Haider told Rising Kashmir that thousands of challans slapped in a short span of time are testimony to the surge in violations of traffic rules.

“We fear that if we implement the law strictly, then half of the city residents who drive vehicles would find themselves behind bars for various violations of traffic rules,” SSP Traffic said.

He added that despite imposing heavy fines, the traffic violations have not stopped. “It seems people are ready to pay for penalties. They pay for not seizing their vehicles. But they do not rectify themselves,” Haider said.

“I admit that whatever change we anticipated we never achieved,” he added. The SSP said the two-wheeler riders topped the list of violations with 70 per cent of the overall penalties recorded against them followed by the light motor vehicles. About the road accidents, Haider said they occur due to two main reasons: road conditions and licensing problem.

The drivers who become victims of traffic accidents had not taken precautionary measures like wearing helmet and seat belts and avoiding the use of mobile phones while driving.

On traffic awareness, Haider said majority of people do not know about the traffic rules. “Even those holding legal documents like licenses know nothing about the basic rules,” he said.

Meanwhile, the SSP Traffic reiterated that the drive against violators would continue. “We are not sparing even policemen,” Haider said. “We have fined many police officers for they have tinted window panes of their vehicle with black film,” he added.

Urging people to cooperate with the traffic department, Haider said, “We want people should take active role in this regard. They can come to us with their complaints. They can also tell us where we are lacking so that we would together effectively manage safe and jam free driving.”

(Rising Kashmir)

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