Introduction to KashmirForum.org 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.
www.kashmirforum.org

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Breaching the Controlled Narrative in Kashmir

Saleem breaches the mafia style nexus between separatist and official government machinery by exposing a breaking news story contrary to the set narrative

(Mr. Mohammad Saleem Pandit, 45, was born in Srinagar. He completed his schooling from the Tyndale Biscoe Memorial School, and his B.A. from the Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He subsequently completed the L.L.B. degree from the University of Kashmir. He ventured into journalism by starting a new fortnightly magazine called, "Submission." Later he joined the Indian Express Srinagar Bureau, and since 2000, has been the Srinagar Bureau chief of the Times News Network, TNN.)

Embrace Islam or leave Valley, Sikhs threatened

SRINAGAR: Sikhs in the Kashmir Valley have received anonymous letters from Islamic militants asking them to either embrace Islam and join the protests against civilian killings or pack up and leave the Valley. The 60,000-strong Sikh community is the single largest minority group in the Valley.

An organisation of Kashmiri Sikhs said that several community members have received these letters. "Community members have received unsigned letters at various places," said All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (ASCC) coordinator Jagmohan Singh Raina. He said the community has decided to stay put and fight these "evil designs" at a meeting in Srinagar on Thursday.

Raina quoted a letter as saying: "When you are enjoying the joys here, why can't you share the grief and sorrow of Kashmiris as well? We know you are afraid of bullets... Hold protests inside gurdwaras or leave Kashmir." He added, "Some letters have asked Sikhs to embrace Islam."

Raina urged both factions of the Hurriyat, JKLF and PoK-based United Jihad Council to take serious note of the threats to maintain amity and brotherhood in the Valley.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has reassured the Sikhs saying they shouldn't feel threatened and should ignore the "fake letters". He assured the community that nobody would force them to join the protests.

Earlier, Geelani has made an emotional appeal against forcing minorities to join the protests and said harming them would be like "inflicting a wound on his (Geelani's) body".

The state unit of Akali Dal (Badal) president Ajeet Singh Mastana described the threats as acts by anti-social elements. "The threats can't break us and reduce our love for our motherland," he said.

IMMEDIATE REACTION OF J&K GOVERNMENT

Govt denies harassment of Sikhs

Terms it propaganda, conspiracy

Rising Kashmir News

Srinagar: Government has strongly denied the report published in a national daily regarding harassment of a particular community in Kashmir by a majority community by way of letters. A government spokesman termed the report as a deliberate attempt to malign a strong secular image of people of Kashmir outside the state. He said that letters written by any one mischievous person can’t be projected as view of majority.

The spokesman said that all the communities are living amicably in the valley and cited the instance of a group of people, who performed last rites of their brother belonging to other community just the other day, which was hailed by entire media.

The spokesman while terming the story of the national newspaper as a figment of imagination and falsehood said that the valley of Kashmir is the bedrock of strong, secular ideology, which has been established by it during all the testing times. He further said that news report is aimed at creating confusion at a time when the situation is slowly moving towards normalcy.

He said it seems handiwork of those elements, who are bent on creating wedge between various communities to foment trouble. He said that recently three weeks before one isolated ugly incident which occurred at Tral was unanimously condemned openly by entire population. Even the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah intervened in the matter and all delegation who met him gave assurance for strengthening of mutual relationship and brotherhood.

Meanwhile, the spokesman appreciated the other sections of the media who have always supported the government and the people of Kashmir in projecting the secular image. He said the clear example of this is the successful Amarnath Yatra, where lakhs of devotees paid obeisance at holy cave and the people of Kashmir warmly facilitated their pilgrimage.

Likewise, the spokesman said that the Muslim and Sikh communities in the valley have century old relationship based on mutual respect and love for each other.


TALIBANIZATION OF KASHMIR - A REALITY OR MYTH?

Check out the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvQEE9lEFo8

1 comment:

Rajesh said...

A beautiful insight.