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, July 23, 2010

Summer of Anarchy - 5

Fayyaz reports that opposition has its peculiar army with a handy weapon of choice

(Mr. Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, 48, was born in Bodina, Budgam, and received his primary and secondary education in Budgam and later at Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He completed his Master's degree in Kashmiri language and literature from the University of Kashmir in 1987. After working with Rashtriya Sahara and Kashmir Times in 1993-94, and later for 13 years as Srinagar Bureau Chief of Daily Excelsior, he is woking as Resident Editor/ Srinagar Bureau Chief of Jammu-based English daily Early Times ( since April 2009. He is also a filmmaker whose forte in audio-visual media is Kashmir's composite culture, heritage, ecology and social issues. Since February 2008, he has been regularly anchoring Take One Television's bi-weekly hard talk show "Face To Face With Ahmed Ali Fayyaz" which is watched by more than three million viewers in Srinagar, Jammu and other urban areas of Jammu & Kashmir.)

'Separatist forces' enforce shutdown with heavy stone pelting on civilian traffic

Srinagar: On the month's first normal day in Kashmir valley, unruly groups of youth enforced shutdown in the afternoon while damaging hundreds of civilian vehicles in heavy stone pelting on traffic and business establishments in major townships. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old boy drowned in river Jhelum during the course of a fierce clash between stone pelting groups and Police in Baramulla, raising the number of youngsters killed since June 11th in Kashmir valley to 16.

Residents of Jalal Sahib Mohalla in old town of Baramulla complained to Early Times that two young boys jumped into the river Jhelum when Police and CRPF were chasing the youngsters during a clash across Azad Bridge at the district headquarters. According to them, one of the boys came out of the waters successfully but 13-year-old Faizan Ahmed Buhroo S/o Mohammad Rafeeq Buhroo was believed dead. However, residents and professional divers failed to recover him dead or alive. Residents said that in retaliation to stone pelting from the unruly mobs enforcing shutdown in the afternoon, Police and CRPF used baton charge and also fired dozens of teargas shells. They held Police and CRPF responsible for the boy's death and asserted that both the boys could have been arrested comfortably.

SSP Baramulla, Sheikh Mehmood, said that according to the preliminary reports available with him, two young boys chose to hide themselves behind a truck laden with floor across the bridge. He said that during the course of clash and teargas shelling, the duo jumped into the river over 200 yards away from the Police and CRPF position. He said that one of the boys was believed to have drowned to death but no dead body had been spotted or fished out till late tonight. He refused to accept that Police or CRPF were responsible for the boy's death. "They neither chased the boys to the extent of forcing them to jump into the river nor fired any ammunition on them. Police have taken cognizance and begun an investigation", SSP Baramulla said and asserted that a detailed investigation would reveal the facts.

Faizan is the 16th civilian to have died in different incidents of violence and clashes between the people and security forces since June 11th in Kashmir. All the sixteen are youngsters.

Earlier today, Kashmir valley witnessed first normal day of the month after two weeks of continued shutdown, enforced by 'separatist forces', and curfew, enforced by security forces. In the backdrop of unprecedented sales, including distress buying of fuel on all petrol pumps, markets witnessed hustle and bustle. Reports of unending traffic jams came in from almost all parts of this capital city besides rural district headquarters and major townships across the Valley.

With Saturday being a half day of transactions at the banks, thousands of subscribers thronged over 200 ATMs of different banks in Srinagar and other parts of the valley to withdraw sizeable amounts of money in view of Hurriyat Geelani's fresh calendar of weeklong hartal. There was panic and chaos at petrol pumps and ATMs. Sources said that over Rs 100 Crore were withdrawn as the bank officials kept refilling the cash machines every hour.

Subscribers shuttling from one neighbourhood to another, complained that most of the ATMs were empty in the afternoon and a large number of them were not functioning.
Hurriyat (Geelani) had relaxed its shutdown programme---part of its "Quit Jammu and Kashmir" campaign---and allowed people to perform shopping by 1400 hours today. However, none of the shops or business established closed down at the given deadline. Suddenly youngsters surfaced at streets at different places in Srinagar and many other towns and resorted to heavy stone pelting on business establishments and the civilian vehicles found in movement. No official figures were available tonight but over 200 vehicles and shops were estimated to have been damaged. "Yesterday security forces were enforcing curfew by force. Today it is the separatist forces who are enforcing shutdown without regard to human rights", many in the capital city complained.

Hurriyat Geelani is enforcing continued shutdown for another seven days from tomorrow.

No comments: