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

Gender Politics or Criminal Assault, Either Way Shopian Murders are a Tragedy

Nida touches the raw nerve on an issue that has gripped the valley

(Ms. Nida Rafiq Shiekh, 22, was born in Srinagar. She passed her Matriculation from the Presentation Convent High School and completed her 12th grade from the Mallinson Girls High School, both with distinction. She graduated from the Women's College, Srinagar, in 2007 and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in mass communications from the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the University of Kashmir. She is a free lance writer who likes writing about the Kashmir issue and other topics like communal violence that have torn apart the Kashmiri society with tragic consequences. She loves writing and reading, and hopes to become a serious journalist and a documentary film maker some day.)

Kashmiri Women in Rage

The alleged rape and killing of a teenage girl and her pregnant sister in law at Shopian and the subsequent hostile attitude of the state government in dealing with the sensitive issue has created a lot of anger and resentment among the Kashmiri women.

In the recent times a number of incidents have taken place where the victims have been women. As a result the growing violence against them has increased the insecurity of Kashmiri women and filled them with rage.

“It’s a shocking incident and every woman should feel the pain of the Shopian victims and it’s high time that we stop being silent spectators to the brutalities done against us and raise our voice for our own safety” said a zoology professor at Womens College, M.A. Road, Sadaf Bashir.

The editor of Media Education Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir, Muslim Jan considers this incident a shame on the democratic set-up. “The culprits should be punished and the inquiry process should be speedy. Otherwise we should not call this a democratic set-up.”

Many feel that the on-going protests should not stop till the truth is brought to the fore. Dr. Zahida who runs Mother Care Clinic for women in Srinagar, said, “The strike should not stop till justice is done with the family who has lost their two young daughters, even if it means to increase the problems of the common masses. We should keep in mind that this could have happened with anyone here.” She said adding that the on-going strikes are the only way through which people can show their resentment currently.

While some feel that it is a tragedy which has been politicized. The owner of Ramzaan College of Education, Rabia Khanday said, “I have a daughter too and I can understand what the family of the victims are going through. People who are responsible for this should be immediately punished so that the sense of insecurity that is prevailing among the women in the valley stops.” She also believes that this very sensitive issue should not be politicized.

Mantasha Binti Rashid a student of social work in Kashmir University is in pain because of this cruel incident. She said, “This kind of incident has not taken place in the valley for the first time. It happened in Kunanposhpora and now again in Shopian but every time the government fails to deliver justice which is highly disappointing.” The one month period that the government wants for the inquiry is to cool down the sentiment and then to forget about it, adding she said.

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