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, April 2, 2010

The Supreme Court to the Rescue

The Supreme Court restores dignity to a disabled man

Supreme Court comes to rescue of disabled teacher

Khalid Gul (Greater Kashmir)

Pulwama: A disabled teacher’s struggle for justice has finally borne fruit. Moved by Syed Bashir-ud-din Qadri’s resolve, the Supreme Court recently ordered his reinstatement in service while pulling up the Jammu and Kashmir Government for not only being insensitive to the physically challenged person but also being cruel in ignoring his exceptionally good track record as Rehbar-i-Taleem.

Overcoming all odds of being afflicted with cerebral palsy, Qadri completed his graduation from University of Kashmir in 2004. Later, he topped the selection list of candidates for Rehabar-i-Taleem and was posted at Kanjinag School under the Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan in 2005. Though he had a little problem in writing but the medical board and education department certified that he was capable for the job.

But a complaint was filed with the director of education that Qadri being a cerebral palsy patient was not fit to be appointed for the post. After litigation in the High Court and examination at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences, it was opined that Qadri, with insignificant speech and difficulty in writing, would find it tough to perform the duties of a teacher.

But the directorate of education’s expert committee made an on the spot inquiry and found that Qadri was well versed with the subject he taught and did justice to his teaching duties. But in 2007, the High Court quashed Qadri’s appointment.

Qadri moved the Apex Court. His counsel Colen Gonsalves pointed out that the law provided for the reservation in jobs for persons like Qadri suffering from disorders like cerebral palsy in order to allow them to live life with dignity.

A Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph agreed, allowing the appeal and asking the State to reinstate him and pay all arrears treating as if Qadri’s services have never been terminated. The Bench said: “His performance as a teacher was reflected in the exceptionally good results he achieved in his discipline in the classes taught by him. It is unfortunate that in spite of the positive aspects of the appellant’s functioning as a teaching guide and the clear and unambiguous object of the law, the High Court adopted a view which was not compatible therewith.”

It directed the authorities to immediately reinstate Qadri and said he would be treated as on duty during the break in service due to the uncalled for incidents.

“My advice to all the physically challenged persons is to work hard, not to lose hope and fight for their rights,” says Qadri. He said that the government should now speed up the process of his re-appointment.

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