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, August 14, 2012

Stealing Mother's Gold

It is pathetic when those paid to protect State assets themselves become looters

Forest Official is Smuggling Timber

Sameer Showkin Lone (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: While government claims to have achieved success in tightening noose on timber smugglers, now it is top forest officials who are allegedly involved in black marketing of green gold after getting illegally felled in concerned forests.

In Zawoora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district, the forest officials have reportedly sold some 183 feet timber in the village three days ago. Residents of the Zawoora village said three days ago the forest department unloaded some 183 feet timber in their village. The same night the locals heard the sounds of trucks and motor bikes.

“We didn’t come out of our houses out of fear and thought it was something involving the security forces. However, next morning when we ventured out, we saw just few feet of timber there and rest missing,” said the villagers.

The locals said they at their own level started enquiring the incident and came to know that the concerned District Forest Officer (DFO) along with his range officer were allegedly involved in black marketing the timber worth lakhs to a resident of the other village.

“We smelt rat into this as to why the forest officials didn’t file the FIR even after four days after the incident took place,” locals alleged, adding, the DFO has sold the timber to a local of the area to fill his own pocket.

When contacted the concerned DFO refuted the allegations of his involvement into the looting of the timber. When asked why they have not lodged the FIR and informed the police, he dropped the phone. Despite repeated attempts he didn’t answer the phone and instead switched it off.

When contacted the concerned range officer said they have started the departmental inquiry in this regard. About lodging of FIR he said they have now registered the FIR but interestingly failed to give the FIR number, which further casts doubt on them.

The range officer further said it was not 163 feet but only some 83 feet forest wood that has been stolen. “It has happened first time in the village", he said.

Repeated attempts to contact Forest Minister Mian Altaf proved futile.

No comments: