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.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Plight of the Disabled

Syed reports on the latest initiative by Javed Tak, followed by pronouncements of the minister

(Mr. Syed Basharat, 30, was born in Kreeri, Baramulla, and did his schooling in Kreeri, and later in Uri and Sopore. He graduated from the Degree College in Baramulla and completed his Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 2005. He has been a reporter for Kashmir Images, a Srinagar based daily, London based website Gaashonline.Com, and a Srinagar based journal, Globe. Currently, he is working as a special correspondent with Jammu based daily newspaper, The Kashmir Times.

Mr. Javed Ahmad Tak, 36, was born in Bijbehara in the Anantnag district. He received his schooling from Government schools in Bijbehara, and his B.Sc. degree from the Government Degree College in Anantnag. Unfortunately, at the age of 21 he became a victim of a terrorist bullet which hit his spine and disabled him for the rest of his life. However, he overcome mental and physical odds to complete his Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Kashmir, and also completed certificate courses in Human Rights and Computers from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Although wheel-chair bound, Mr. Tak is recognized as a leader who has relentlessly and with extreme passion taken up the cause of disabled people in J&K, seeking full citizen rights guaranteed under the J&K Disability Act but never implemented in the past. He is a founder-member of numerous NGO's dealing with issues and sensitizing public about challenges faces by physically handicapped people in Kashmir. He has received numerous awards and citations for his selfless work and has attended numerous workshops on disability rights around the country.)

Disabled Gear up for Census 2011

Srinagar: In order to ensure the accuracy in the crucial statistics of second phase of Census on the number of disabled in Kashmir, the community of physically challenged people have geared up to sensitise the master trainers for Census 2011.

The lead role has been taken by Humanity Welfare Helpline Organisation (HWHO) a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) working for the welfare of the disabled community in the Valley.

According to Census 2001, there are three lakh disabled people in Jammu and Kashmir. But Javed Tak, a disability activist and the chairman HWHO believes that there are at least seven lakh disabled people in the state.

“The low number is because the question in the 2011 Census merely listed the type of conditions, which world over have excluded many disabled people,” Tak said, adding that the Census enumerators in 2001 were not sensitive. “In fact, the questionnaire in Census 2001 did not include question related to the disabled people. It was only after the hectic efforts of many NGOs and the activists at national disability network the question regarding disabled community was enlisted that too at serial number 15.”

Tak recalled that the much hyped question regarding disabled community in Census 2001 included only 5 disabilities which include speech, hearing, orthopedic, mental retardation and blindness. “Now this question has been enlisted at serial number nine in Census 2011 and many important disabilities have been included like seeing, hearing, speech, movement, mental retardation, mental illness, any other multiple disabilities,” Tak said

The chairman HWHO observed that now disabilities not mentioned in the list will be covered in option ‘any other’. Asked about the training programme of the Census master trainers, Tak said that the HWHO gave the trainers the glimpse about identification, differentiation between visible and invisible disability like deaf and mute are tough to identify. “We sensitised the master trainers about how to interact with the disabled people. We told them about hemophilia, thalasemia, epilepsy, mental illness and other disabilities that can be counted in any other code,” Tak said.

According to Tak the true picture of Census will be a reference for advocacy to start schools, psychiatry hospitals, community based rehabilitation centers and the same can help chalk out programmes at district level for disabled people, proper planning and budget allocations for this ignored community.

“We also sensitise the trainers not to use ‘abusive’ language while interacting and asking the families during Census operation about the persons with visual problems or any other kind of disability. We trained master trainers on December 5 and now we will train /sensitise enumerators at grass roots level who will go and count the people house to house from January 15,” Tak who was invited as a resource person by the Directorate of Census operations Jammu and Kashmir to sensitise the master trainers.

It may be recalled that the second phase of the Census is scheduled to begin from February 9 and will end on February 28. The last census conducted in 2001 witnessed low participation of physically challenged persons in the state.

Earlier on January 4, a he rally was taken out to ensure the maximum participation of the disabled people in the Census programme. Hundreds of persons with disabilities, Anganwari workers and Census department employees had joined the rally.

Fresh survey for being ascertaining population of physically challenged: Sakina

Jammu: All right-thinking people of the society should come forward and contribute in shaping the future of physically challenged population of our State by extending material and moral support to this neglected section of the society.

This was stated by the Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo while addressing a function organized by Special Olympics Bharat-J&K under aegis of Sahyog India, here today.

Among others, Chief advisor, Sahyog India, Khawaja Farooq Renzushah, Chairman Sahyog India, Dr. Ashwani Jojra, S.Narindar Singh, Dr. D.R.Kapoor, Sushant Gupta, Shukantala Joshi were also present and addressed the function.

The Minister said that 1.23 lakh physically challenged persons have been registered so far, who are being paid monthly pension of Rs. 400 through Social Welfare Department. She said though the exact number is not available with the Government, but functionaries of the social welfare department have been pressed into service to conduct survey in their respective areas to ascertain the exact number of physically challenged population. She said Government has received 16000 fresh applications of physically challenged persons and assured that all of them would be brought under the pension scheme as per the norms.

Sakina said only donating money is not enough, but the real charity is to extend physical support to these persons. She said Government is making utmost efforts to bring all deserving persons under the coverage of welfare schemes, run by social welfare department and appealed participants to expand the ambit of their activities in other parts of the State. She said the long spell of turmoil in the State has left a large number of people handicapped and impressed upon the management of the organization to hold similar programmes in border districts of Rajouri and Poonch which have witnessed tough times of militancy.

Stressing for holding more such programmes, Sakina said that it would go a long way in exploring the hidden talent of the students of this catogory. She said the children, who participated in the game events testify that they could excel once guided properly.

The Minister said that the Governor and the Chief Minister are taking personal interests in improving the condition of physically challenged population of the State. She said the matter for plying special bus service, establishing separate counters in hospitals and banks, for this section of society has been taken up with the concerned departments.

She said, as a part of social responsibility, media can play a vital role in identifying and highlighting the problems of this population.

On the occasion, Sakina Itoo and two other persons took over the responsibility of bearing the education expenses of three physically challenged children.

Speaking on the occasion Farooq Renzushah said that the need of the hour is to take extra care of physically challenged population of the State. “We should take it as a mission and work for exploiting the hidden talent of this section of the society” Renzu said, adding that special arrangements in the hospitals and schools need to be made for them.

Other functionaries of the organization, which include, Area Director, Mahesh Kinth, Wg. Comdr. Mr.M.M.Joshi, Mr.D.D.Khajuria, Thakur Kashmiri Singh, Mr.S.C.Gupta, Mr.S.C.Sharma (Retd DIG), Farida Mughal, Maini, M.M.Sharma, Mr.Lalit Kumar, Mr.Javaid Ahmad, Mr.Manjeet Singh were also present on the occasion.

Dr. Ashwani Jojra , State President, Special Olympics Bharat-J&K presented welcome address and highlighted the activities of the organization, working under the patronage of National President, Air Marshal (Retd) Danzin Keeler and National President Ali Kazmi of the organization. He said the special games for such persons would be also held on state level in near future.

1 comment:

javed said...

In a historic descision The Cabinet of Jammu and kashmir approved updation/ revision of list of posts against which persons with disabilities can be appointed under J&K Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act. Following the revision of list, benefits of JE and teachers posts would be available to the disabled persons. Earlier severe persons with Disabilities were denied job of teacher and Junior Engineer. After long battle with high level sensitization and awreness programmes by Humanity Welfare organization HELPLine NGO. Bijbehara with Goverment, Cabinet removed this big flaw by extending job to the Junior engineers and teachers.
Kashmir forum has also added to our voice.
thanks to vijay Sir