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.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Unraveling the Mystery in Shopian

Fayyaz scores a bulls-eye with a hard hitting report on new facts that are emerging regarding the Shopian tragedy

(Mr. Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, 48, was born in Bodina, Budgam, and received his primary and secondary education in Budgam and later at Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He completed his Master's degree in Kashmiri language and literature from the University of Kashmir in 1987. After working with Rashtriya Sahara and Kashmir Times in 1993-94, and later for 13 years as Srinagar Bureau Chief of Daily Excelsior, he is woking as Resident Editor/ Srinagar Bureau Chief of Jammu-based English daily Early Times ( since April 2009. He is also a filmmaker whose forte in audio-visual media is Kashmir's composite culture, heritage, ecology and social issues. Since February 2008, he has been regularly anchoring Take One Television's bi-weekly hard talk show "Face To Face With Ahmed Ali Fayyaz" which is watched by more than three million viewers in Srinagar, Jammu and other urban areas of Jammu & Kashmir.)

CBI breaks riddle of Shopian swab fudging

SRINAGAR: In a significant breakthrough in the investigation of alleged rape-cum-murder of two young women in Shopian on May 29 this year, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has unearthed the mystery of fudging of the vaginal swab of Neelofar Jan and Aasiya Jan 10 days after it took over one of the most challenging assignments in Jammu & Kashmir. Making a startling disclosure in presence of government officials and members of Majlis-e-Mushawarat Shopian, the lady doctor who had conducted the gynecological examination of the dead bodies on May 30 and declared to the crowds that both the women had been gangraped and murdered, has now revealed that she had actually collected the vaginal smear from the gloves used on some different female patients in the adjoining district of Pulwama in South Kashmir.

Informed sources told Early Times that in the third consecutive session of sustained questioning, Dr Nighat Shaheen spilled the beans and revealed to the CBI team that she had not obtained any vaginal smear during per vaginal of the dead bodies of Neelofar and Aasiya at District Hospital of Shopian on May 30th this year. According to her revelations, she had in fact collected some smear from the gynecological gloves used on some different female patients at District Hospital of Pulwama, where she remained posted before her suspension in June.

Slides of the same smear specimen---initially unsigned but later signed and sealed by Dr Nighat Shaheen---had been sent to CBI’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in New Delhi where they turned out to be inconsistent with the viscera and other tissues earlier collected from the two dead bodies for the post mortem by a team of doctors and forensic medicine experts. Sources said it was now being investigated whether Dr Nighat Shaheen had resorted to the fudging to protect or frame anybody or she had failed to collect the specimen due to the rigor mortis pleaded by her colleagues before Jan Commission of Inquiry.

Sources said that the CBI team got Dr Shaheen’s confessional statement recorded on camera in presence of several officials as well as some members of Majlis-e-Mushawarat Shopian who also signed the statement as witnesses on the spot. According to these sources, Dr Shaheen led the CBI team to the ward at District Hospital Pulwama late last night and identified the spot where she had used the surgical gloves to collect the swab of some different women. However, efforts to speak to Dr Shaheen failed repeatedly for her telephone was found switched off or not reachable for the whole day today.

According to these sources, CBI also learned that the lately appointed SSP of Pulwama, Syed Kifayat Hyder, had also written a confidential letter to IGP Kashmir over a month ago to inform him that Dr Nighat Shaheen had reportedly collected the smear from some living female patients at District Hospital Pulwama rather than from the two dead bodies at District Hospital of Shopian. Even as Special Investigating Team (SIT) of J&K Police, headed by SP Shah Deen Malik, was believed to have made necessary entry into its case diary, it was not immediately clear what action had been taken by IGP Kashmir after learning about the vaginal swab fudging.

Sources said that CBI was now examining the call records of Dr Shaheen’s telephones and the people she remained in touch with for one month after the recovery of the dead bodies in Shopian on May 30th. This is expected to lead CBI to the people if any in the background as also the motive of the fudging. The lady doctor is reported to have said that she had done the process “under public pressure”. Officials associated with the investigation do not rule out polygraph test of the lady doctor under tight scanner now.

Meanwhile, CBI has constituted a team of doctors and forensic science experts which arrived in today from New Delhi for conducting exhumation of the two dead bodies and their fresh post mortem under the supervision of former Director of AIIMS Dr Dogra at 0700 hours tomorrow. The team stayed at CBI’s makeshift guesthouse at Humhama and it would start the process of fresh medico-legal operation under tight security arrangements at Shopian early in the morning. DC Shopian, Abdul Majeed Khanday, said that three duty magistrates, including two lady officers, besides Neelofar’s husband, Shakeel Ahmed Ahangar, and father, Abdul Hai, would remain present all through the post mortem exercise.

Dr. Sazawal also wrote on this topic on September 1, 2009. The link to his article is:

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