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, January 28, 2010

Seminar on Domestic Violence at the University of Kashmir

It was all about shallow speeches and blame game. Politicians blamed the Police and the Police blamed the society. But one stark fact stands out: 99% of such cases go unreported in the State

KU hosts seminar on ‘Domestic Violence against Women’

Ishfaq Ahmad Shah (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: Scant knowledge of the subject, blame game, absence of victims’ account, poor time management was what marred the inaugural day of two-day seminar on ‘Domestic Violence against Women’ here on January 22.

The seminar organised by the Department of Students Welfare (DSW) and Women’s Studies Centre (WSC) in collaboration with J&K police began at varsity’s Ibn-Khaldun auditorium with several speeches in which speakers focused more on creating awareness about the problem without actually deliberating on how to bring about that awareness.

Social Welfare Minister and chief guest on the occasion Sakina Itoo while laying blame on police for ignoring reports of domestic violence said that police is not doing enough in this regard.

“Many women have come to me with their woes. All of them were ignored by police. The cops hadn’t registered their reports on domestic violence,” she said.
“I am not saying police isn’t working, but the work is not up to the mark,” the minister said.

Itoo also revealed that she had many times in the past asked several district police SSP’s to forward list of FIRs lodged by widows of militants “but in this regard too, the response was poor.”

Talking to media outside the auditorium, Itoo underlined the need of implementation of act in the State that protects women against domestic violence.

Earlier officials of police present in the seminar expressed their helplessness regarding the issue. They instead shifted blame on media and entire society for increase in the number of women victims of domestic violence.

“The department can’t do anything. Domestic violence against women is a social problem and society as a whole has to stop it,” Inspector General of Police (Armed) Dilbag Singh said.

Refuting Itoo’s claims, he said that 99% of such cases in the State aren’t reported while 12.5 per cent increase in domestic violence against women since 2006 have been registered.

DIG Central Kashmir, H K Lohia also came up for the defence of police saying that police is doing its job effectively. “We are doing our job but there must be fear of law within the society which makes efforts effective. There is loopholes present in every system here,” Lohia said.

He also blamed media for not playing its role sincerely in this regard.
Earlier stressing on the need of having victims’ account in the agenda, the social welfare minister said the function would have been “much better” if women victims would have been offered chance to speak.

Interestingly the moderator of the seminar announced that victims would be speaking at the function, however, the list of speakers distributed by organisers include officials of police KU and some academicians and lawyers.

The speakers stressed on the implementation of laws without going much into the process of its implementation and the present status.

Scheduled for 11:30 am, the event started at 12:30 pm which saw delay in Friday prayers while many among audience missed the entire prayers.
U VC Prof Punjabi also spoke at the event. He advocated the need of creating awareness among masses about the affects of the domestic violence on women.

Presiding officer, Motor Accident Claim Tribunal, Kaneez Fatima, HoD Sociology and Social Work KU, Aneesa Shafi, Registrar KU S Fayaz Ahmad, Nilofar Khan of DSW, WSC also made speeches on the issue.

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