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, June 14, 2010

A Tragedy of Immense Proportions

Ajaz conducts a wake

(Mr. Ajaz ul Haque, 40, was born in Srinagar. He completed his school and college education in South Kashmir. He is presently on the faculty as Producer in the University of Kashmir Educational Multimedia Research Centre (EMRC), and a columnist for the Greater Kashmir. In leisure time he enjoys reading.)

We all Bleed, let's all cry together!

Three innocent civilians of Nadihal Rafiabad wake up from the graveyard at Kalaroos in Kupwara. They wake up to announce that they are amongst those hundreds of other fellow humans who were silenced to death. They fell to bullets thereby helping their killers to go a notch up. What more can one think of when you sell blood to make your career. There are other ways of doing it, but this one is chilling. It shocked us all. But the shock is not new. It has happened earlier too when a man from the street was swooped on, bundled up, shot at and the day next you read the news. `Gunman killed'. For this `daring' act the officers are haloed, company elevated and thus begins the celebration. Gallantry gets a new name. Flesh Trade is an old story. This is Blood Trade.

A tragedy of great magnitude. Condemnations have been floating from everywhere. And who will not condemn this macabre series of murders? It's a story of helplessness for everyone. Starting from victims to their families to those who raise voice against the crime to those who order probe and expect results. What we are experiencing is the repetition of a twice told tale. Time, though has been a healer always, but here time has proved an automatic device to make us forget sooner than expected. Well, whether Hurriyat exposed the incident or media did the trick or opposition pulled it off or Police dug out the rot, that will not matter. It's no way the game of credit-taking, credit sharing or credit-denying. It's a collective concern of restoring human life the sanctity it deserves. We are interested neither in pinning blames nor in awarding medals in a blood-scripted saga like this. Whosoever helped in the disclosure, sure did well. But the admiration must not be our focus. The story is too grim to be read from that angle.

Let tragedies unite us. Wherever innocence is plundered in whichever way, that must pain us all. Shopian is a wound too fresh to be forgotten. What we know is that two individuals lost both their innocence and their breath. All questions about the tragedy were left unanswered for the reasons they know who didn't let the facts be known. Let this one not follow the same track. The disclosure of three innocents may pave way for unearthing another chain of such crimes. Some serious questions are being raised about the rest of the graves at Kalaroos graveyard. If Army authorities say and believe that the graves are that of unidentified militants, who knows and who trusts. May be they are? But this incident does not let us believe so easily. There can be a lot of innocence crying under the tombstone. Facts are getting exposed. Slowly, but surely. How many `unidentified gunmen'. How many faceless human bodies and how many nameless graves. Streams of blood flowing underneath the soil. Who knows!

The success of an investigation never lies in unearthing the facts buried too deep to be brought forth. What when the individuals are identified. What when they are convicted too. It all must end at setting up one precedent of retribution which people of Kashmir have been craving for. Yes, this all is to be done following the course of law. The law of the land which must secure the people of the land. We don't suggest mob-lynching of criminals though emotions demand a punishment worse than that. If violators disregard all norms, punishers may not. But the system has to be so resilient and so credible that social conscience must feel satisfied. That unfortunately has rarely been experienced. Had that been, it would have restored the long lost trust in the system that operates. Voicing concern and protesting against such brutalization of human life is everyone's right. On that count at least, let there be no lines of control. If separatists demand punishment, mainstream politicians may join them. The agenda here is not political, but human. If people come out crying, government must not do a party on the other side, but empathize with this demand of justice. The pain is mutual so the cure too has to be collective. Human life lies above all politics. We all bleed, so let's all cry together!

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