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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Canine Power

The editorial in the Kashmir Monitor is still unclear about how to stop and reverse the situation where dogs already outnumber people. Latest estimate shows that Srinagar city has nearly 100,000 stray dogs (second story)

City of Dogs

Not long ago, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) had called a press conference to talk of some ‘major’ initiatives that would change the face of the city. While the citizens are still awaiting the summer capital’s facelift, the age old menace of stray dogs continues to remain unaddressed. The so-called initiatives of the authorities including the SMC action continue to remain on paper or in the planning stage.

The SMC had last year said the dog sterilization program would start in January 2012. While the people are wondering if the programme has started or not as the SMC has not yet issued a statement regarding its drive, the municipal corporation continues to remain tight lipped on the elimination of rabid dogs. The SMC continues to duck the question by either saying that the case is before the High Court or the ‘fear’ of animal rights activists. While the civil society had taken to streets against the menace on Saturday, the city dogs have always been in news. But still, no serious action has been taken in this regards. Shoot at sight orders to deal with the growing population of rabid and mad dogs in the Valley, the much hyped ‘Pied Piper’ programme that failed to take off and the so-called dog sterilization programme of the SMC.

Unfortunately, nothing seems to be working for the government when it comes to dealing with the stray dog menace. People of the city are still falling prey to dog bites and the memories of last year’s incident are still fresh in the peoples’ minds where a 10 year old died after slipping into river Jehlum after being chased away by the stray dogs at Zaina Kadal. The government’s action in this regard has been confined to paper only and the authorities have only been issuing statements to express its concern over the issue. After a youth died in Pampore town earlier last month due to dog bite, the divisional administration had issued shoot at sight orders to deal with the rabid and mad dogs. But then no further statement was issued by the government to shed light on the matter as to whether the concerned police officers had taken the said action or not. Similarly, the ‘Pied Piper’ programme that was floated across as some magic formula that would Srinagar free of dogs in a month too died a sudden death. While the Pied Piper’s ‘secret formula’ remained unrevealed, the authorities then labelled him a ‘circuswalla’ interested in ‘nautanki’ after he charged an exorbitant price for his proposed services. Now the government is back to square one. It has again started talking about its old method – SMC dog sterilization programme. A programme that never took off the way it should have as it too like other government’s schemes remained confined to paper only. With the animal rights activist watching closely every step of the state administration with regard to tackling the stray dog menace, the government seems to be scared of these activists.

The stray dog population in Kashmir is estimated to be over 10 lakh. The municipal authorities last year had planned a dog sterilisation and culling drive to curb the growing menace but this has been resisted by some animal rights groups and dog lovers.Over 10,000 dog bite cases have been registered in Srinagar city alone during the last couple of years. Some of the canine attacks have proved fatal for humans, including the death of a 10-year-old last month that had sparked public outrage. Some civil society groups have now threatened to undertake dog culling themselves if the government fails to control the menace and protect people.

Srinagar City Has 91,110 Stray Dogs

Srinagar: Srinagar City has 91,110 stray dogs and a pilot project of birth control, dog sterilisation and immunisation is being implemented to check the increasing menace, Urban Development Minister Nasir Aslam Wani informed this in the State Legislative Council on Wednesday.

He said that to control the increasing population of stray dogs in Srinagar a pilot project was being executed for dog sterilisation and immunisation as an immediate measure to control the increasing menace in the city.

Nasir said to check increasing population of stray dogs in Srinagar a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Corporation with Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and Dean, F.V.Sc and A.H.(SKUAST-K).

He said the Memorandum of understanding is signed for human stray dog population Management, through Animal Birth Control (ABC) and their Anti-Rabies immunization within Municipal limits of Srinagar.

He said that the corporation has decided to execute a pilot project of dog sterilization/ immunization as an immediate measure to control the increasing dog menace in the city. In this connection he said a proposal for setting up of Animal Birth Control Center at Shuhama which envisages construction of concrete walling with chain link fencing around 17.5 Kanals of land, setting up of 50 Kennels and Operation Theater with allied facilities costing Rs 103.90 lakhs has been formulated. In addition to this, he said construction work has already been taken in hand for construction of 25 Kennels, fencing around the land has been completed. He said as soon as the construction work of Kennels is completed, the immunization and sterilization programme of stray dogs shall be started.

Nasir said the total number of stray dogs estimated as per census is 91,110. He said the guidelines World Society for formulated the protection of Animals have been followed during the conduct of stray dogs census keeping local geo-climatic condition in view. This method has been endorsed by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and shown in its standard operating producers ( SOP), he added. (Rising Kashmir News)

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