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

Where the Savior is the Criminal

Pandits are saying that under the guise of "public good", J&K Government is grabbing ancestral land of Pandits and provide token or no compensation in return

Govt Itself Involved in Grabbing Land Belonging to Community: KPs

Jammu: Ridiculing the Government claims on return of Kashmiri migrants and submission of plan to Union Government for enhancement of financial package from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per family for construction of houses on their return to Valley, Kashmiri Pandits term it a great drama to befool them.

The State Government's claim seem to be totally hollow in this regard said Vir Saraf, convener, Roots in Kashmir (RIK) J&K. He said how the Government is claiming to take Pandits back when its own agencies have encroached hundreds of kanals of land belonging to KPs for construction of Government offices, dispensaries, pump sheds, water reservoirs, bus stands, transport yards etc in length and breadth of the Valley.

Saraf said there is hardly any village in Kashmir valley where the Government agencies have not grabbed the land of Hindus including their religious places for public purposes without prior information to its owners or the members of the community leading an exiled life for over last 23 years in Jammu and other parts of the country.

He said while the members of the community are demanding removal of encroachments already made by Government agencies in different parts of Valley from KP land and religious places, another land grabbing case of KPs religious place by Government agencies have surfaced in village Areh, Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

Saraf said entire cremation ground and its adjacent land belonging to Ahal Hindoo totaling 28 kanals has been grabbed by the Government agencies in this village for bus stand despite the objections raised by the Hindu population of the village leading an exiled life for last 23 years like their other brethren. This shows half hearted approach of the Government towards the return formula and PM's package in this regard, he added.

The Pandits from the village are running from pillar to post for restoration of land to them but to no avail, he said adding when the cremation ground which exists for hundreds of years in the village and the people belonging to Hindu minorities were cremating their dead there prior to mass migration where the Government will settle the community on its return when it has itself grabbed their ancestral land.

Saraf said every one including non Government organizations, land mafia and Government agencies are out to capture the left out Pandits land in Valley. The historical Abhinav Gupt's Cave at Beerwah, Budgam is also facing the threat as the entire hill lock housing the cave is being excavated for stone quarry purposes by some vested interests.

This cave has a great significance as it is linked to the great Shivachariya and world famous scholar of millennium, Abhinav Gupt on whose works researches are being conducted in various universities all over the world. Saraf said this great Shivachariya is believed to have entered the cave along with his 1200 devotees for meditation over one thousand years ago. This has been mentioned in Shiv Sutras of Kashmir and the cave has an aesthetic value as well and even the Muslim scholars of Valley have expressed their resentment over the encroachment of hill lock on which the cave is situated, he added.

Supporting Saraf, Kundan Kashmiri KPC chief said that already KPs land in almost all villages which were inhibited by KPs prior to 1989-90 has been encroached by Government agencies or land mafia. The cremation ground at Sagam, Wanpooh in South Kashmir district of Anantnag have already been encroached by Rural Development and Health departments respectively. In addition to it the land of Hindus in Tikker Kupwara and Sopore cremation ground has also been encroached by Government agencies. Besides in Shopian, Batpora the residential area of Pandits was converted into a Bus Stand and that too without the approval of the owners of the land, he added.

Kashmiri said that recently Vaital Bhairav at Motiyar Rainawari is fresh case of encroachment which has generated a lot of resentment among the community. He, while questioning the Government's sincerity on return said on the one hand it is talking of PM's return package and on the other hand it has launched a sinister campaign to grab the remaining land of the Pandits in Valley to its agencies

(Early Times Report)

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