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, March 14, 2009

Data About Female Foeticide in J&K State Points to Alarming Trend in the Jammu Region

The data is clear - compared to Jammu region, Kashmir valley loves its daughters but needs to do more

Jammu: Beset with male child syndrome, the dwindling sex ratio in the state yet again reflected “criminal psyche” of people towards fair-gender in the male-dominant society.

Fresh survey by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics for 2008 in all 22 districts of the state has once again brought to the fore a grim picture.

Among 22 districts, Udhampur has attained the dubious distinction of having lowest sex ratio of 880 females per 1,000 males in sharp contrast to 894/1000 males in 2006.

Likewise, 2008 statistics of Rajouri (895), Reasi (899), Samba (896), Jammu (889), Kathua (913), Kishtwar (931), Poonch (920), Doda (933), Leh (939), Kargil (916), Anantnag (944), Bandipora (948), Baramulla (939), Budgam (930), Ganderbal (948), Kulgam (908), Kupwara (930), Pulwama (933), Shopian (948), Srinagar (940) and Ramban (973) also reflect mindset of the people.

In 2006 Rajouri had 894, Jammu 878, Kathua 911, Poonch 906, Doda 943, Leh 951, Kargil 939, Anantnag 933, Baramulla 932, Budgam 923, Kupwara 917, Pulwama 961 and Srinagar had 950 females per 1000 males.

Official sources told The Tribune that female foeticide has gained alarming proportion in five districts of Jammu, Reasi, Rajouri, Samba and Udhampur where sex ratio is not even 900 females per 1,000 males.

A senior doctor of Government Medical College said: “Female foeticide has been going on in private nursing homes and the government has utterly failed to check the crime.”

“One girl child out of seven female babies is being eliminated inside mother’s womb in Jammu district alone,” he said, adding that if the trend continues, districts like Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi in particular would witness a steep decline in sex ratio in the coming years. Time has come for the administration to tighten noose around disgruntled radiologists, and society at large, too, should wake up to the unethical practice, he said.

A retired official of the Directorate of Health Services candidly admitted that the state government has failed to implement the J&K Preconception and Prenatal Sex Selection/Determination (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 2002 in letter and spirit.

Though sex determination still goes on in various clinics, the government alone could not be held responsible for this malady, he said, adding that the people themselves were responsible for promoting the unethical practice. To get rid of the menace, the society had to be awakened and NGOs and schools should contribute their bit in educating the people and the children, he said.

(The Tribune)

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