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, April 28, 2012

Do Laws Prohibit Militants From Carrying Guns?

Mehmood believes changing the law that prohibits eradication of terror faced by populace will do the trick with prowling dogs. But is Kashmir really a place where laws of the land are universally obeyed?

(Mr. Mehmood-ur-Rashid, 39, was born in Srinagar. He graduated from the Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He has been active in journalism for over ten years, and currently works at the Greater Kashmir (GK), having worked in the past at the Rising Kashmir as the Features Editor. The columnist is presently the GK Magazine Editor.)

Leashing the Beast

Horror. This is the only word to explain what people face these days in the streets of Kashmir. Just two days before newspapers in the valley brought out the scale of that horror once more on their front pages. It looked like a report from a war zone. Kids crying while treated for dog bites, bruised body parts, and mauled faces – dogs have declared war against people. Animal Rights Activists must be cheering from the galleries!

The pictures were spine chilling but more depressing was the fact that we are completely helpless in this situation. Dogs can maul our children but we cannot touch them back. They can bark at us with all ferocity but mind it, you cannot even whisper back. Law has placed an embargo on humans, courtesy Animal Activists. One wonders what is the difference between Animal Activists and Activist Animals!! Who is the real beast, Dog or the Law!

In the year 1992 when the law was framed we had some stray dogs who posed no danger to us. Had the alternative ways of dealing with them been adopted then, we would have rid our streets from dogs long back. But nothing was done for years till it grew into a life threatening problem. From past some years when the instances of dog bites went alarmingly high and newspapers consistently covered the stories of children being bitten, the government and the animal rights organizations came to the rescue of dogs, as if it was really about dogs. From day one the subject was confused. It was about the threat posed to the human life and not the question of animal rights. The crackpot idea of sterilizing the hundred thousand dogs was presented as the solution to the problem. How many years would it take to sterilize these dogs and when will finally we have dog free streets; and for all those decades who will take care of our children, men, woman, old and young. And the pens and pounds and the millions earmarked for them; it is so stupefying. Had people somehow put across their problem to the canine kingdom better solutions could have come forth. The latest idiocy is to assign a dog to a human – a well built young man from Kashmiri - for a monthly salary of some thousand rupees. Absurdity has a limit. This government and all its organs have failed; it’s a multiple organ failure that can only culminate in death.

The solution to this problem lies in questioning the law that has put the human life to peril. Normally problems in a society or a state are solved in accordance to law or tradition. Deviation from either the law or the tradition invokes some sanction, and all this is done to maintain an order in the society. But there are times when law or a tradition in itself becomes a threat to human life. After all the entire institution of lawmaking is based on this. What is the point doing legislation if law is considered final and binding for all the times and situations. States have intervened even in the areas usually considered religious when it was found to adversely affect the human life. All the legislations that laid the foundation of the modern society were done only by rejecting the earlier bodies of law and tradition.

The situation that has risen in the valley is an occasion to stand against the logic of the law that was framed in 1992. It is not the question of Animal Rights now which it could have been then. Law in this regard has turned into a beast. The culpability rests with those who framed the law without taken care of its consequences. Why is it a crime to cull the dogs that threaten human life when in the same world we see millions of chickens culled when some disease breaks out in chickens that can transmit to humans. Someone may point out that law doesn’t forbid the culling of rabid dogs either. True, but is it a rabid dog alone that poses a threat. Of course, it is not. Rabid is not the reference, it is threat. The essential point is the safety of human life. Sterilization cannot ensure it, pens and pounds don’t seem to do it. Employing young men to take care of dogs is a detestable idea. If law is to decide on the question of what constitutes nuisance, it is time for our civil society and the lawyers to make a strong case for humans. The pictures of children mauled by street dogs must be a convincing argument.

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