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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Low Can One Sink?

Javed says that crooks are making it harder of physically challenged people to receive their due

(Mr. Javed Ahmad Tak, 38, 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.)

Fake Disability Certificates Mar Rights of Disabled

Sana Altaf (Kashmir Times)

Srinagar: Disabled persons are entitled to three percent reservation in fields of employment and education, but their right is being hampered by the issuance of fake disability certificates.

 Disabled persons alleged that the certificates are used to grab government jobs (both under SSRB and PSC), and even admission in the university. Some applicants of the government jobs use approach to get disability certificate from the medical board. This directly affects the jobs prospects of disabled persons who are left in lurch. 

“Fake disability certificates are used to get high profile jobs and admissions at different levels. The reservation quota meant for us benefits others,” said Javaid Ahmad Tak, Chairman Humanity Welfare Organization, Helpline NGO. He says people use high approach to get the disability certificate which is issued by the medical board and signed by specialist. But many a times, the signature of a general physician is used instead of a specialist. “The most common disability shown in fake certificates is that of hearing and speech impairment,” Tak adds. 

Hilal Ahmad who works as an engineer says the loophole in the issuance of disability certificate mars the rights of disabled persons. A BDS student who has one leg amputated could not get a job because his competitor, who had a broken thumb, had managed to get disability certificate showing him as severely disabled, says Hilal. “Someone who struggled with his disability gets nothings,” says Hilal who suffers from visual imparity. Abdul Rashid, secretary Handicapped Association, says repeated complains about the fake certificates fetched no results. 

“There are so many cases of fake certificates and government is doing nothing to address the issue. We people are suffering and no one is bothered,” Rashid said. Mohammad Shaheel, coordinator of Special Cell meant for disabled persons at the University of Kashmir, said 16 cases of fake disability certificates were reported in two years in SSRB. Special Cell was established at the University of Kashmir for the welfare of disabled persons in 2009. 

“Since the inception of Cell, we have come across many cases but we ensured they are verified and declined from the list,” said Shaheel. He however regrets no such check is facilitated at other levels. Chief Medical Officer, Srinagar, Dr Farooq Ahmad said the concerned board follows strict guidelines to grant disability certificate. “We have a centre set of guidelines to follow for giving fake disability certificates. We verify the details.”

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