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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cause and Effect

Will Kashmiri Pandits return? No amount of rhetoric will work until and unless the State Government does not create political and economic space to give them a level playing field for survival

Supreme Court Calls for ATR on Migrant Kashmiri Pandits

Legal Correspondent (The Hindu)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file an action taken report on housing, employment and payment of cash compensation to Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave their land.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar gave this direction on a public interest petition seeking a White Paper on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits living here and in other parts of the country.

The petition by the All-India Kashmiri Samaj and others wanted the displaced Kashmiris involved in all future meetings, negotiations and agreements being entered into by the government concerning the Kashmir Valley. It said the Kashmiri Pandits should be declared internally displaced persons as per the principles laid down by the United Nations General Assembly.

Taking into consideration the petitioner's plea, the Chief Justice asked Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising to associate leaders of the Kashmiri migrants and file the action taken report in four weeks.

Earlier, the ASG said Rs.7.5 lakh was being given as compensation to those whose houses were completely destroyed and to those who were willing to return to the Valley and wanted to construct a house; and Rs.2 lakh for those whose houses were partly destroyed.

Also, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to the Valley, had announced a relief package of Rs.1,600 for each migrant Pandit family. The monthly compensation per family staying in Delhi had been raised from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 6,000. However, senior counsel S.L. Ganju, appearing for the petitioner, said only Rs. 4,000 was still being given. Ultimately, these migrants had to return to the Valley, and for this, they had to be involved in the consultation process.

Moreover, though about 2,000 people were killed during 1989 when the Pandits were forced to leave the Valley, there was not a single prosecution.

The CJI told counsel: “First we will concentrate on the economic issue and then we will consider other issues. We are not concerned with politics, keep politics out.” (9 November 2010)

No Migrant Family Returned to Valley: GOI

New Delhi: The Government of India Tuesday said that no migrant family has returned to the Kashmir valley.

“No family (migrant) has returned to the Valley and it is not possible to indicate any time line for the same,” Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
Maken said nearly 59,000 families are reported to have migrated from Kashmir following the outbreak of militancy in the 1990s and none of them has returned to the Valley till now.
“Due to the onset of militancy in the 1990’s, 58,697 families are reported to have migrated from the Valley and are temporarily settled in Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country,” he said.
Giving details of the various measures taken for rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, he said 200 flats have been constructed at Sheikpora in Budgam district.

Two model clusters in Matttan and Kheer Bhavani containing temporary shelters for Kashmiri migrants have 18 flats and 100 one-room tenements respectively, Maken said

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