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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where Dogs Rule

As hapless infants continue to die, dogs enjoy superior healthcare

Govt ‘Celebrates’ Zero Mortality Of Sterilized Canines

M. Hyderi (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: At a time when the state government has failed to ensure the well being of hospitalized infants at Valley’s sole children’s hospital, where over 360 new-born babies have died since January 1, stray dogs undergoing sterilization seem to be enjoying better care at state-of-the-art dog pound at Shuhama here. The resort-type sterilization centre for dogs located near the foothills of the picturesque Zabarwan range was constructed out of the money meant for human welfare. The SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), which is providing expertise to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) for sterilization of dogs, has expressed pleasure over the successful sterilization of the canines at the facility hailing “zero mortality”. Pertinently, prominent animal rights activist Manika Gandhi recently hailed the Jammu and Kashmir government for its endeavor of ‘dog safety’ when she phoned SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba to know about the welfare of dogs and presumably got a convincing reply.

Prominent vet and Head, Veterinary Clinical Services at SKUAST, Dr Dil Muhammad Makhdoomi, in an email, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, has apprized his higher-ups at the varsity that over 100 stray dogs have been sterilized at the pound since the beginning of sterilization earlier this month. Though believed to be costly and time-consuming process, the government has banked on this Animal Birth Control-Anti Rabies (ABC-AR) program as the sole solution to dog menace, which has broken all known records of attacks on humans. While hailing the sterilization, the vet says in the mail: It gives me great pleasure to convey that ABC-AR is going on very smoothly and professionally. We have Sir, completed more than 100 surgeries from May 4, 2012 without any complications. You will be happy to note there has not been a single mortality.” “All the operated dogs have been released and rehabilitated in concerned areas,” the vet added.

Prof Din who along with SMC’s veterinary officer, Dr Sajad Mughal, is looking after the Shuhama sterilization process plans to sterilize around 20 dogs a day. “May I request you that keeping in view our potential and vast experiences and infrastructure we need to undertake a minimum of 20 surgeries a day,” Prof Din writes in the mail. “I look forward that the steady supply of the requisite number of dogs are received by this centre now onwards,” he added. When contacted Dr Makhdoomi said the number of sterilized dogs crossed 114 mark on Saturday afternoon adding that none of the canines died or was in bad health.

The National Conference government has come under severe criticism for its alleged preference to the welfare of dogs over humans. While around a dozen humans, mostly children on an average fell prey to dog bites everyday in this historic City, the government disallows any harm to the stray dogs. Last year it even revoked the shoot-at-sight orders to kill rabid dogs while last month protests against dog menace were prohibited.

Visitors could be venturing into the ‘deadly’ GB Pant children’s hospital wards wearing shoes, but at the picturesque Shuhama dog pound one has to remove shoes outside the facility and wear rubber gloves. While the government has failed to make available basic minimum equipment and infrastructure at GB Pant, crores of rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the dog sterilization centre equipping it with high-tech surgical paraphernalia alongwith related facilities. On the other hand, lack of proper ventilation could be a problem at the children’s hospital. But this isn’t the trouble at the dog pound on the City outskirts as each kennel is equipped with exhaust fans and lighting arrangements apart from the glazed tiled walls and shining floors.

As about the eco-friendly surroundings, the government could be finding it difficult to maintain greenery at GB Pant hospital, but the dog pound at Shuhama, is surrounded by ample trees at the beauteous site.

While the dog sterilization goes on, a million dollar question posed last year by the then Chief Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah remains unanswered: “Will a dog stop biting after sterilization?”

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