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.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Harvesting Misfortunes For Profit

Qurat shares an open "dirty secret" in the valley

Valley Orphanages are Money Minting Machines: Masoodi

Tawseef Ahmad (Rising Kashmir)
Srinagar: Qurat Masoodi, a social activist Wednesday alleged that orphanages in Valley have become an industry for some people to make money.
Referring about the resumption of Shah-e-Jeelan orphanage, Masoodi said: “Orphanages in Kashmir are exploiting children in the name of taking care of the orphans.”
Masoodi expressed concern over the work carried over by the trust and said that these people are exploiting the orphans only for their personal benefits.
“I fail to understand how an orphanage can resume its work when State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked for its closure. I do not know if the government wants our children to get proper treatment,” she said amid slogans raised by her supporters who advocated for the closure of the orphanage.
Criticizing the government for its failure to check the mushroom growth of unregistered orphanages in the valley, Massodi also criticized the parents “for are selling their children” to these orphanages.
It is pertinent to mention that Shah-e-Jeelan orphanage was closed down in June, 2012 on the orders of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) after its investigation revealed that the orphanage lacks basic facilities. The investigation had further revealed that the orphanage was not even registered, as claimed by the owner.
According to the SHRC order dated 25.06.2012, a copy of which is with Rising Kashmir the Shah-e-Jeelan orphanage at Dalgate was found lacking basic facilities and was not found to be catering to the segregation of the children on gender basis.
“The first floor of the orphanage was used by the house owner himself while the one room on the floor was occupied by three tenants, working with some private establishments. The second floor houses male orphanage in two rooms. One room is used as office and one room is under house owner,” the report reads.
“Third floor of the orphanage is used to accommodate four female orphans including female cook (mother of three female orphans). One room is occupied by three male tenants from Lolab in the same floor", report says.
It was also revealed that two children were put to some sort of physical torture.
The female cook who has now left the orphanage also leveled charges against the owner of the orphanage and said that he was misbehaving with the children and was bungling money meant for the orphans.
Coming down heavily on the owner of the Shah-e-Jeelan orphanage Masoodi said : “How can a person take care of 20 0r 30 children, when he himself is a drunkard.”.
She claimed that she knows some children whose parents are alive but they have sent their children to orphanages. “It is very unfortunate that some children are taking shelter in orphanages despite having their parents alive. This means that they are selling their children to these unregistered orphanages,” she said.
She also expressed dismay over the mushroom growth of unregistered orphanages.
“There are so many unregistered orphanages in here and nobody is having a check on them. I urge the concerned authorities to find the total number of registered orphanages operating in the valley,” said the social activist adding that the government should launch a manhunt for the closure of the unregistered orphanages. 

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