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, December 12, 2010

Sad Statistic: "Hartals" are a Growing Business in Kashmir

While other states break records in exports or academics, Kashmir is a master in shutdowns

Hartals record four-fold increase this year

Srinagar: There has been an almost four-time increase this year in the strikes and protest demonstrations called by separatist organisations in Kashmir, according to statistics of the state's Home department.

While there were 35 ‘hartals’ (shutdowns) in all in 2009, the number of strikes rose to 131 this year, indicating an increase by three to four times, a senior police officer was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Data compiled by the Home department upto November 2010 revealed that there were 131 ‘hartals’ and 134 processions and demonstrations “sponsored by separatists” in the Valley this year.

In 2009, there were only 45 such demonstrations and processions and 35 days of strikes, while in 2008 there were 15 protest demonstrations and 33 ‘hartals’, the data revealed.

There were a total of 2,096 processions and demonstrations sponsored by separatists in the Kashmir Valley in the past two decades and 1,671 such ‘hartals’ recorded since January 1990.

The highest number of 416 demonstrations and processions were recorded in Kashmir in 1992 and the highest number of 207 ‘hartals’ were recorded in 1991, the report said.

The increase in the number of the ‘hartals’ and protest demonstrations was mainly because of the four-month-long violent agitation in the Valley earlier this year.

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