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, February 19, 2010

The Dog City

Muzaffar says canine menace continues to dog the city


Muzafar Wani

Srinagar: Four days back when Ghulam Qadir Sofi of Zaina Kadal left his home for having his hair cut, the old man had no idea that a group of stray dogs ruling the street outside would make it sure that he doesn’t reach the saloon.

Instead he soon found himself at the SMHS hospital with a bitten and blood drenched right leg where he paid Rs 800 for anti-rabies injections. “The hair cut cost me dearly,” says Sofi who was attacked by canines, adding that he was given prescription that has to continue for four weeks.

Sofi is not alone, however.

Officials at SMHS hospital say that at least 40 patients bitten by stray dogs are treated at the hospital every day of which 25 are first-timers. “Dogs have taken up the charge of city that is why the patient rush is increasing every week. And the figures are increasing every week,” says Health Inspector of the hospital’s Anti-Rabies Clinic Muhammad Yousuf Mir.

According to the official figures, in SMHS 3940 dog bite cases were registered in the year 2009 and on an average 11 cases were registered every day. The administration is preparing the list on how many cases were received this year so far but officials say more than 225 anti-rabies injections were utilized.

“The number of deaths caused by rabies has decreased but there is a continuous increase in the number of patients who are targeted by dogs and come to SMHS for treatment,” the health inspector says.

The treatment for rabies is free at SMHS which was initiated by the SPM department of Medical College Srinagar under the supervision of Dr Muneer Masoodi, however, the patients who come in category three, are required to buy the immunoglobin injections from market outside. “It costs a patient somewhere around Rs 400-450 for 5ml injection,” the official says.

But there are many who can’t afford the treatment and end up either partially infected or sometimes lose the battle of life. Abdul Rehman of Dalgate was initially treated for rabies but the stray dogs had attacked him ruthlessly so much that he needed more than Rs 2000 for medicines on eth first day of canine-assault. “I fear my treatment may remain incomplete. I can’t afford the medicine,” says Rehman, who was bitten by rabid dogs few days back.

Danish, a seven-year boy from Achabal who was being treated at SMHS was, however, unlucky. Stray dogs had mauled his face and the kid died within 14 days of infection. “Bite on the face or near anywhere on the head, in majority of the cases, prove fatal since the virus incubate quickly till it reaches the brian,” believes Dr Muhammad Saleem Khan, Senior Lecturer SPM, Medical College Srinagar.

Rising Kashmir tried to seek comments from Health Officer Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dar, whose department is responsible for controlling population of dogs in the city. He said, “I am not authorized to talk on the issue. Better you talk to Commissioner.”

SMC Commissioner, Tufail Ahmad Matto, couldn’t be reached for his remarks despite repeated attempts.

(Rising Kashmir)

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