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, June 8, 2009

Exercising the Rule of Law in Moments of Great Emotion

Tanvir says democracy means letting the law run its course

(Mr. Tanvir Sadiq, 31, was born in Srinagar and attended the Burn Hall School. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Information technology and management from Orissa University. He is the youngest Municipal Corporator of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and was elected from Zadibal Constituency. He has contributed regularly to local newspapers like the Kashmir Times, Kashmir Images, Greater Kashmir, and Kashmir Monitor. He was associated with many programs on Disaster Management of J & K and did a couple of programs on highlighting urban poverty. He is active in State politics and his interests are writing and social work.)

Truth will triumph

It is a given for any person to become enraged at the suggestion that two innocent girls were raped and murdered in Shopian. But it is very easy to join the mob and participate in a witch hunt than to suggest that we stand back and think calmly. After all, one can never be criticized for saying things that are the popular sentiment at the time. Sadly, without any witnesses and strong evidence, the common sentiment in Kashmir is that our two little sisters in Shopian were raped and murdered. I am not denying that a heinous incident took place in Shopian, but I would like to suggest that we wait till all details of the incident are investigated by experts.

The truth is that we still do not know all the facts that surround these tragic deaths. Just like all Kashmiris, I have read all the news stories, confirmed from reliable sources, and have come to the conclusion that the experts should be given time to find out the truth about this most unfortunate incident. If the forensic experts conclude that the girls were in fact victims of rape and murder, then no stone should be left unturned to hunt down the perpetrators, and in bringing them to justice. But the emphasis is on the term “if”, which means that we should trust the doctors, investigators, and the Kashmir police ( Considering they are themselves Kashmiris, perhaps with young daughters of their own) to perform their job thoroughly and only then draw our conclusions.

The other option is that we leave our justice system to the mob and various other political groups with their own vested interests, who will decide the outcome of any tragic incident that happens in Kashmir. In that case, we would not need any forensic experts, no DNA testing, and no police investigation because the leaders of the mob will be deciding the outcome of any unfortunate incident that takes place in Kashmir. It makes me so sad that people are not able to see through the crocodile tears of PDP leaders such as Mehbooba Mufti. As if any complaints against the security forces were ever investigated, let alone concluded, during the time her party was in power. Therefore her antics of attempting to march to Shopian makes no sense other than make her look desperate for attention.

I am fully aware that there is a trust deficit for the administration in Kashmir because of the actions and hollow promises of successive previous governments here. But is it fair that we banish the word “trust” from our vocabulary for ever? I do not think it is fair because I truly believe that the saying “When deeds speak, words are nothing” applies to our current CM. He squeezed out the truth about the Bomai murders even when everyone saw a dead-end. He made sure that justice was served in the Khaigam murder even when the perpetrators were calling it a militant encounter. Given these facts why should I not believe Omar when he asks me to wait till the experts conclude their investigation?

Let me for a moment examine the argument of the leaders currently inciting Kashmiris. They want us to believe that the current administration is hushing up the case somehow. This argument is preposterous. If this were the case then the inquiry into the Bomai murders would not have implicated the army personnel against tremendous pressure from the army or the investigation into the Khaigman murders would not have concluded that the CRPF men committed a murder. The investigation in both cases was called by Omar Abdullah and was carried out independently by the Kashmir Police without outside pressure from the CM’s office. If the CM was somehow trying to hush up all cases of human rights violations, then he would not discriminate about which case to hush up and which case to proceed forward with.

I fail to see why the current investigation would be hushed up or altered in any way. Not only is a man of impeccable character like Justice Jan leading this investigation, there is also a team of doctors assisting in the investigation. It will be very hard for the truth to be suppressed collectively by all these respected Kashmiri professionals investigating this case. I have full faith in the investigators, forensic experts, the doctors and the DNA specialists to determine whether the young girls were raped and murdered.

And lastly, if we do not see reason then I believe that the greatest tragedy in the deaths of our dear sisters is the hijacking of this incident by some self obsessed leaders for their own narrow interests. I believe that law should take its course in all such unfortunate incidents, and for any civilized society it is imperative that we let the investigators thoroughly do their job and get to the bottom of a case without outside pressure. We want the truth to emerge no matter how bitter it is.

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