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

Kashmir Stonewalling the RTI

Muzaffar highlights poor implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, following the State's historical record of stonewalling laws meant to promote public good

(Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat, 35, was born in Wathoora village in the Budgam district and matriculated from Tyndale Biscoe Memorial High School in 1993. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Dental Surgery from from the Karnatka University in 2000. He has a private dental practice in Chandoora and is a social activist dedicated to educating public on the Right To Information (RTI) legislation. He is the Convener of the J&K RTI Movement and associated with the Commonwealth Human Rights Intitiative (CHRI) office in New Delhi.)

RTI Act Not Implemented Fully in J&K

Srinagar: The J&K RTI Movement Convener, Dr Muzaffar Bhat today said the J&K Right to Information Act was yet to be implemented in the state in letter and spirit.

“We are yet to receive information under the Act on assets of IAS officers, National Mental Health Policy and old age, handicap pensions from GAD, Health and Social Welfare departments,” Dr Muzaffar said in a statement.

“In fact CM’s office intervened in one such case and CM’s political advisor wrote a letter to Social Welfare department several months back, but we are yet to receive any reply,” he added.

“The PIO’s do not provide information within stipulated time under the Act. We have filed applications in state Home department in March regarding details of custodial disappearances and other rights issues, but till date we have not received any reply. We wanted to file complaint with the State Information Commission, but the it is yet to be constituted,” he said adding the RTI applications were being “thrown in dustbins” by the departments.

He said almost all the designated Public Information Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers of various Government departments “had not received” any formal training on implementation of J&K RTI Act 2009. “Since the enactment of Act 2009 in March 2009 the Government has conducted only one training programme for the officials,” he said adding the people were not aware about RTI law and not a single programme had been sponsored by the Government for creating awareness among masses through radio, TV or print media.

No comments: