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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kashmiri Youth - I: How low can it get?

Romance with the gun has burdened the society with more ills than anyone can fathom

Pressure of studies forces six boys to plan crossing LoC

Baramulla: It was the pressure of studies that forced six students of Islamia Model School and Government High School, Palhalan, in the Pattan area in Baramulla district to plan crossing the Line of Control (LoC) to take up arms training.

The police last night arrested the students in the age group 12-14 from Rigpora village, near the LoC, in Kupwara district. “Our teachers used to beat us and we were under a lot of pressure from them and our parents.So, to take revenge from the teachers, we planned to cross the LoC and take up arms training,” said Abdul Rashid, a student of the seventh standard.

He,along with, Umar Sultan, Mohammad Yaqoob Bhat, Mohammad Saleem Sheikh, Shqriq Ahmad Mir and Ishtiaq Ahmad Tantray were today handed over to their parents by the police. “While playing cricket, we decided to cross the LoC to take arms training and then join jihad in Kashmir,” said Umar Sultan, another student.

Their parents said they had ‘no idea their children would think of taking such a step’ as they wanted them to study.

“We used to ask them to study.We had no idea they would take such a step. We are thankful to the police for bringing them back to us,” said one of the parents.

“We got a call from a maulvi of a local mosque in Kupwara where the students were staying.He informed us that the boys were planning to cross the LoC”, DIG, North Kashmir Range, AQ Manhas said.He said the police arrested the six after they were coming out of the mosque after offering prayers last evening.

“During questioning, they admitted they had come to the border village to cross the LoC to take up arms training,” Manhas said. “ On their identification, we took into custody two more boys who were also planning to cross the LoC”, Manhas said.

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