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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Justice to Women

Whether it is rape or acid throwing, women in Kashmir, like their peers in the subcontinent face unparralel amount of violence that is mostly ignored by authorities. Two reports - Ajaz's commentary is followed by an editorial in Kashmir Images

(Mr. Ajaz ul Haque, 43, was born in Srinagar. He completed his school and college education in South Kashmir. He is presently on the faculty as Producer in the University of Kashmir Educational Multimedia Research Centre (EMRC), and a columnist for the Greater Kashmir. In leisure time he enjoys reading.)

Throwing Acid at Innocence

The recent acid throwing incident in the uptown area of Srinagar has shocked us all. Two men committed an act worse than murder in the broad day light. It is not for the first time that a girl has been attacked. It happened earlier too. But every new crime makes the older one appear paler. Why? Simply because those who do it get away with it. In the absence of any deterrence, only this can happen.

Whether to ban tuition centers for spreading nuisance and creating a fertile atmosphere for delinquents to go berserk is a different debate. Here a question even more painful strikes a civilian. State-backed law enforcing agencies take the harshest measures and punish stone-pelters. They make sure that no one even imagines picking up a stone for the fear of being slapped a punitive law against him. Young, old, male, female, hale, hearty or handicapped – none is spared. The example of Zahida, a handicapped girl from South Kashmir investigated for her alleged participation in stone throwing incident is a case in point. But not many punishments are in sight about those accused of using force beyond limits. If you are swift in punishing one set of ‘violators’, why slacken when the same (or even worse) happens on the other side. This selective application of law has done the damage. Well, the point of being lenient about law-enforcers has been taken up earlier too, but here the focus is on social crime. If political uprisings are met with force (how disproportionate, doesn't matter), why are social crimes not been dealt with an equal stridency.

What happened to those who crushed a young girl Romana some years ago? Simply by registering a case against acid throwers won't finish the story. The course of law in such cases is endless. When a crime is so obvious that no investigations add anything to it, what further do we need to bring guilty to justice. The magnitude of crime committed can't be equated with the mere arrest of perpetrators. Arrests are common, and arrests are normally followed by a release. We never mean that law must not be allowed to take its own course. But we do mean that the `course of law' must not impede the process of justice. If a Delhi girl is gang-raped and the rapists are not punished, that would be repeating the rape with the soul of that ill-fated girl. The same way if assaulters and acid throwers do not get punished the way they deserve, we will be repeatedly assaulting the innocence of a hapless female.

Act Tough

That crime against women is showing upward trend in the Kashmir Valley is shocking and shameful simultaneously. The survey by a government agency threw out data which by all means demands serious pondering by all the citizens of the Valley. As against 2011, the graph of the crime against women has increased by more than 30 percent. This revelation excluded the cases that were not reported or went unregistered. Legal experts are of the opinion that the present laws are not sufficient to handle the situation where the state finds itself in. day in and day out, there are reports of victimhood of women in our society which has to stop somewhere. To an ode, the men of that nation have no right to live whose women are not safe at their hands. The Delhi rape case has been extraordinary in that it was profusely publicized by media and the civil society for the first time in Delhi roused against this heinous crime in unison. The same needs to be done in the Valley as well. How long have the women to suffer for being weaker to men in a patriarchal society. Not only have the criminals, even those who are supposed to be the guardians of the chastity of the womenfolk not spared them from tarnishing.

The archaic laws have to be revamped in such a way so that there are no chances for anyone to escape the punishment who has committed any crime against women. There must be capital punishment for the culprit having committed a rape. Even for eve teasing, there has to be severe punishment so that women could heave a sigh of relief everywhere in the state. Government has given inkling that it will frame new legislations to curb the violence particularly sexual exploitation of the women. However, if one goes by the past experiences, not much is going to change on the ground. The responsibility has to be taken by the civil society and the parents so that a sense of respect for women is created in the minds of boys and men. When men could understand the importance of women’s safety and chastity, the crimes will start dwindling in number and frequency. Government on its part will have to give police free hand in dealing with the culprits. There has to a political consensus that no interference will be tolerated in legal matters. Once a person completely finds himself devoid of the power to go free after committing a crime, he will never dare to do it. And therein lies the success in crusade against the cruelty against women.  (Kashmir Images)

No comments: