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, April 8, 2010

Valley Pandits Challenge J&K Government Data

Sanjay demolishes J&K Government's credibility in providing wrong (less harsh) data pertaining to his community as a result of militant activity in Kashmir. The Press Note and the related news story are reproduced below.

(Mr. Sanjay K. Tickoo, 47, was born and raised in Srinagar. After graduating from Hindu High School in Sheetal Nath, Srinagar, he completed his B.Sc. degree from S. P. College, Srinagar. Currently self-employed, his hobbies are reading and traveling. He is among the 4,000 brave Pandit souls who have weathered the worst of the militancy in Kashmir, and is proud to call himself a citizen of Kashmir who stayed put in the valley. He is the President of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti - KPSS.)

Pandit group contests official figures

Srinagar: Challenging the figures provided by the government in the Legislative Assembly recently about the killing of Pandits and damage to temples in the Valley during the past two decades, the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarh Samiti(KPSS) today said that members of the community are still leaving their birth places because of reasons other than security.

In a statement here today, president of the KPSS Sanjay Kumar Tickoo said the statement by the government on the floor of the House was “shocking”.

He said the KPSS in 2008 conducted a survey across the Kashmir Valley to know about the Pandits, their property, places of worship and other things.

Tickoo said against the total 75,343 Pandit families, 74,692 migrated from time to time to other parts of the country.“These figures also reveal that members of the Pandit families in the Valley are still draining out,” he said adding “obviously, it is not the security reason”.

This clearly indicates that the state and central governments have failed in restoring their faith as nothing positive has been done to stop this effectively.

"What about those who did not got themselves registered with the state and central government and were also forced to leave the Valley from time to time," he questioned and said it means that the state government was not going to own them back if the normality prevails in this part of the world.

Tickoo said the survey of KPSS reveals that there were 651 families at 104 places living in the Valley by the end of March 2008. However, on the contrary government claimed that 808 Kashmiri Pandit families are still in Valley which is totally untrue, he said.

Tickoo said as per official figures 219 Pandits were killed during the past 20 years of militancy.
But as per details available with KPSS, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits were killed during the past 20 years, he said adding 403 of them were identified.

He alleged that cases of mass killings of Pandits have been closed by the government because of no evidence. But, the KPSS has already filed a compliant before State Human Rights Commission about the closure of these killings, he added.

Challenging the state government that only 170 temples out of 430 have been damaged in the Kashmir Valley during the turmoil period, he said 665 places of worship were damaged.

He also challenged state government’s claims that 90 temples have been renovated for which Rs 33 lakhs have been spent.

“Let the government publish the list of temples it claimed to have been renovated during the past 20 years alongwith the cost incurred on each temple,” he demanded.

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