Friday, December 26, 2008

YOUTH MURDERED BY SOLDIERS FOR OBJECTING TO THEIR OBSENE REMARKS

Murdered farmer's family wants justice -THEY SHATTERED OUR HAPPY FAMILY: MOTHER
courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Dec. 26th, 2008 by ARIF SHAFI WANI
Chatpora, (Shopian), Dec 25: “Where’re you my beloved” repeatedly shouted Rafiqa Begum, whose husband, Ghulam Hassan Malla, the lone breadwinner of the family, was killed in custody by troopers of 62 Rashtriya Rifles last month just for objecting to the ‘obscene act’ of a soldier. She is lone witness to the incident when a RR trooper threatened to kill her husband after he objected to the soldiers ‘immoral behaviour’. Rafiqa is so shocked by her husband’s killing that she is unable to talk about the incident. Rafiqa’s is crazy with grief. For past 20 days, villagers, including womenfolk gather around her under construction single storey house and try to console her but in vain. “Her husband’s killing has affected Rafiqa psychologically. She sits on the verandah and weeps for the whole day. Malla was the lone breadwinner and male member of the family,” said Zaina, her neighbor, as she could not hide her tears. As some villagers showed Malla’s photograph to this reporter, Zaina stood up and grabbed it. She passionately kissed the photograph and broke down. The villagers tried to snatch the photograph but she wouldn’t let it go. “The troopers have shattered my happy family,” said Malla’s aged mother Sajja. “My son was innocent and killed for objecting to wrongdoings by the troops. He is a martyr,” she said. Recounting the fateful day, Sajja said as a routine Malla left to work in the nearby orchards. “He had objected to the soldier’s immoral behaviour with a local girl. The soldier threatened him of dire consequences upon which Malla had a heated argument with him,” she said. Next day, she said the army launched a cordon-and search operation in the village and asked for Malla. “Despite our protests, they took my son along with them promising to release him after questioning. However, when he was not released, I along with other villagers rushed to the camp. The troops assured us that Malla was well and would be released soon,” Sajja said. However, next day, the troops called some villagers, including Malla’s cousin, Bashir Ahmad to the camp. The army men told them that had Malla died during interrogation. “We were shocked to see his body in a pool of blood as the brutal men in uniform had burnt his private parts and broken his wrist. Blood was still oozing from his nostrils, mouth and ears. The walls of the room were splattered with bloodstains. A stove and knives used for killing Malla were near his body. We refused to take the body and informed the police first,” Bashir said. As the news of Malla’s custodial killing reached his native village, people, including women had marched towards the RR camp. “For the first time in 20 years, the villagers staged demonstrations against Army and even attacked the RR camp. However, the troops severely thrashed the protesters injuring dozens of them,” the local said. To prevent the situation from escalation, the authorities had imposed curfew in the district. “The troops took our photographs and threatened to implicate us in false cases. But we offered resistance and continue to stage protests against the killing,” the locals said. Ironically police has filed FIR against nearly 70 protesters for protesting against the murder. Succumbing to public pressure, authorities registered a case of abduction and murder case against Major S K Saroj and his troops. Sensing trouble, the locals alleged that Army offered money to the family. “Despite living in abject poverty, we rejected the Army’s offer to hush up the case in lieu of five lakh rupees. Can a mother do sell-out of son’s blood,” Sajja said. Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda said an FIR 93/08 under section 342/302 has been registered against the accused Major and troopers. “We have booked Major SK Saroj and his troopers for abduction and murder of Malla. The investigation of the case was being pursued vigorously,” the DGP said. However, Malla’s cousin, Muhammad Iqbal who filed the case against the Army, said, “It is surprising that the Major and his troopers have not been arrested yet. The Army has shifted the accused Major from the Camp. They should be hanged for committing the heinous crime. The authorities are trying to weaken the case to boost the morale of its troops,” Iqbal said.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kashmiris Suffer ‘Capital Punishment’

In summer capital boycott dominates polling
Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. Dec. 25th, 2008 by Baba Umar,
Srinagar,Dec 24: The poll turnout euphoria that was witnessed during the earlier six phases of polling in Kashmir disappeared on Wednesday as Srinagar maintained its record of lowest poll percentage. Tough security restrictions to facilitate the last phase of elections for eight seats of Srinagar saw people cursing themselves for having chosen the city as their abode. “As if it was a punishment for being in the capital city,” said an anguished resident, Abdul Hameed who had decided to vote but did not after the City was put under virtual siege forty-eight hours before the polling began Tuesday morning. There were no frenzied voters and long queues that were earlier seen in Bandipora, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Budgam, Islamabad, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian. Unlike previous occasions, the mediamen had to locate the voters to have their bytes.Srinagar witnessed large scale anti-election protests and police and paramilitary, who were deployed in strength across the city, faced tough time in quelling the demonstrations. The boycott call of separatists, which was more or less not respected by people during first six phases, was totally effective on Wednesday as most of the people stayed away from poll process and preferred to stay indoors. The seventh and final round of polls also witnessed scattered clashes, fake voting, and poor turnout in many parts of Srinagar, where 152 candidates were in the fray from eight constituencies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

POLICE, CRPF KILL MERITORIOUS STUDENT IN ANTI-POLL DEMO

Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Dec. 14, 2008 by Naseer A. Ganaie, Mudassir
Koil (Pulwama), Dec 13: Today when people in two districts of Pulwama and Shopian were voting, police and CRPF men reportedly avenged anti-election protests by people in this small hamlet, killing a B.A Ist year student. Two other youth received bullet injuries. Muzaffar Mushtaq son of Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai, Muhammad Ayub Kumar son of Ghulam Muhammad Kumar and Zeeshan Ali son of Ali Muhammad received bullets when troopers and police opened fire to disperse the villagers who had assembled near Jamia Masjid here. The injured youth were rushed to the district hospital where from they were shifted to the SMHS hospital in Srinagar, some 60 kms from Pulwama. Doctors in SMHS declared Muzaffar, 21, brought dead. Zeeshan was operated upon and a part of his ruptured intestine was removed. However doctors termed his and Kumar’s conditions as stable. Residents termed the firing as unprovoked and targeted.
EYEWITNESSES SAY Panic had gripped the Koil village since early morning after SOG personnel and CRPF troopers entered the houses, allegedly threatening people to vote. The villagers including women had assembled on the roads. Rashid Ahmad, a local said they heard four to five gunshots at 8 am and soon after the SOG personnel and CRPF troopers barged into some houses asking people to come out to vote. “It was peaceful till they entered into our houses,” Rashid said. He said the extreme provocation prompted them to assemble on road near the Masjid. “Soon after a group of SOG personnel, policemen and CRPF troopers reached on the spot and resorted to baton charging,” Rashid, 60, said. They fired hundreds of bullets and several tear gas canisters in air to disperse the villagers, another local Muzaffar Hussain said. “But we stayed united fearing if we will return to our houses, the troopers will thrash us,” Muzaffar said. He said the troopers and SOG personnel provoked them to pelt stones. “From a group of CRPF personnel, an aged trooper first started pelting stones forcing our youth to retaliate,” Muzaffar said. The stone pelting had continued for 20 minutes. “As more people joined the protests another contingent of troopers joined by the SOG personnel reached the spot at around 11 am. They started thrashing everybody including women. Failing to disperse us, they entered our houses and damaged the window panes and doors and scattered house-hold items,” Ghulam Qadir said. The troopers had broken the window panes and a door of his house. “They even beat my two daughters,” said Qadir’s wife, Haja Begum amid sobs. He said the firing continued till 11:30 am. “The troopers and the SOG fired thousands of bullets in air. Failing to disperse us and after running short of ammunition, they left the spot and protestors were pacified,” Qadir said. Shakeel Ahmad said at around 12 pm another contingent of CRPF and police rushed to the spot. He said the villagers were peacefully sitting on the roadsides and shop vends. “But the CRPF and SOG personnel party opened fire on a group of people without any provocation injuring three youth,” he said. Shakeel added the ‘unprovoked’ angered the villagers who engaged the troopers and SOG personnel in stone pelting. “They fired more bullets in air and resorted to baton charg injuring at least 20 more persons.” At 1 pm the whole village had came out on the roads and anger was visible on every face. Men and youth were waiting for the body of Muzaffar to bury it. Inside the house of slain Muzaffar, hundreds of wailing women had gathered. They were trying to console the family members. But tears were trickling down from every face. Barely 50 meters away from the house a grave was being prepared for Muzaffar in the martyrs graveyard. “Muzaffar is the 13th martyr of the village,” said Shabir Ahmad. His friend added that Muzaffar had secured distinction in the 10th and 12th class.
PHOTOJOURNALISTS THRASHED The photojournalists were again at the receiving end of the police and CRPF troopers today. When the news about the Koil incident spread in Pulwama, the photojournalists and reporters of various international, national and local media organizations rushed towards the spot. The security agencies stopped them and didn’t allow them to carry on with their professional work. They even tried to thrash them. But this didn’t stop the journalists and without caring for consequences covered the incident. Many photo journalists were later thrashed by the troopers. The government on Friday evening had warned photojournalists not to rush to cover elections in towns before afternoon. The photojournalists refused to buckle down under pressure and rushed to various spots to do their professional duties.
MAGISTERIAL PROBE The divisional commissioner Kashmir, Masood Samoon, in the evening said the government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing of a person in Koil Pulwama. “The deputy commissioner Pulwama has been appointed as the inquiry officer. He has been asked to give a factual report within 15 days,” he told reporters in a press conference in Srinagar.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

TROOPERS RAPE 13 YEAR OLD IN KOKERNAG VILLAGE

Kokernag Village Shocked; Govt Orders Usual Probe
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 5th, 2008 by Khalid Gul
Dandipora (Kokernag), Dec 4: Alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl and molestation of a woman by army troopers in this south Kashmir village triggered massive protests on Thursday. Locals said that a group of troopers from 36 Rashtriya Rifles barged into the house of Muhammad Abdul Khatana, Imam of the local Masjid, last night and gang-raped her daughter. While narrating the nightmarish experience, Khatana told Greater Kashmir: “I, my wife and three minor kids were sleeping in the kitchen while my son (7), my brother in law, (also my cousin who is putting up with us) and my daughter, Fahmeeda (name changed), the victim, were sleeping in another room.” He said that around 10:15 pm last night, some people knocked at the door. “As I peeped through the window, I saw six troopers. Out of fear I didn’t open the door. They broke the bolt and barged into the house. First they told me that they have to search the house but when I tried to switch on the light, they reprimanded me. Then I sought their permission to light a candle, but they caught hold of me and nearly lynched me,” he said. Khatana said that they (troopers) locked him in one of the rooms and his wife and kids in the other room. “They also thrashed my brother-in-law, and locked him in the bathroom,” he said, adding, “After locking all of us they took my daughter Fahmeeda into the other room. Four of the troopers gang-raped her for an hour, while the two others remained outside to guard them.” Khatana with his eyes moist said that he kept on hearing the screams of her minor daughter helplessly for nearly an hour. “We raised an alarm and few of the villagers heard our screams,” he added.
Locals said that some of the villagers ran towards Khatana’s house after hearing screams. “As the troopers saw people approaching they fled away from the spot,” they said, adding, “As we entered Khatana’s house we found the inmates locked in different rooms. Fahmeeda was lying naked in the room, unconscious with bruises all over her body.” Locals said that they saw an army vehicle parked a few meters away from the victim’s house. “We approached them and told them that their men have raped a minor, but they denied. The troopers initially told us that they might have been militants, but when we told them that they were wearing the same uniform and carrying the same guns they had, they told us that then it might have been CRPF men,” the locals said. Haji Mumtaz Ali, an elderly resident said that after the incident troopers approached them and intimidated the villagers to give a statement that troopers from 36-RR were not involved in the act. “We offered resistance and refused to follow their diktats,” Ali said. After the incident, some of the villagers called the Police Station, Kokernag, and informed them about the incident. “Police reached on the spot and took the victim along,” locals said.
Ruqaya Begum, the mother of the victim was in a shock and was crying continuously. She didn’t utter a word but pain and agony were palpable on her face. Locals said that before entering into the house of Khatana, the troopers around 9:00 pm attempted to rape one Rafeeqa (name changed), wife of Muhammad Yaqoob, but the lady offered stiff resistance and they fled away.OFFICIALS SPEAK When contacted, the Station House Officer, Kokernag, Nisar Ahmad said, “The medical report does not confirm that the girl has been raped, however FIR bearing number 137/08 under section 354 and 456 RPC, 27 Arms Act has been lodged and investigations are on.” He, however, confirmed that troopers of 36 RR as well as paramilitary CRPF troopers were deployed in the area last night. “We are ascertaining who was involved in the act,” the SHO added. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Islamabad, Nitish Kumar said that there is no mention of rape in the written complaint lodged by the family members of the victim. “In the written complaint they have mentioned that uniformed gunmen barged into their house and tried to molest her. Police is investigating,” Kumar added. The additional deputy commissioner, Islamabad, Bashir Ahmed Khan said that administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. “We have asked the tehsildar to investigate the matter and submit his report within three days,” he said. Khan, however, denied having received any medical report. “We are waiting for a written medical report from the doctors. Victim is admitted in the hospital and she is under observation,” he said, adding, “Till now it has not been established whether it’s a rape or an attempted rape. In both the cases it is a gruesome act. The accused won’t be spared.” Khan said that police have arrested a Sumo driver in this connection. “The Sumo in which the uniformed gunmen came has been seized and investigations are on,” he said. Army’s Srinagar based spokesman, Lt Colonel Katchari said, “We are investigating the matter. It seems CRPF was also deployed in the area.”
PROTESTS As the word about the incident spread in the area this morning, hundreds of people raising anti-troops slogans took to the streets demanding stern action against the erring troopers. Policemen and paramilitary CRPF troopers who were deployed there beat up the protesters with batons and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse them. In the police and CRPF action at least six persons including a minor were injured. Former minister and senior Congress leader, Peerzada Muhammad Sayed, had to face the wrath of people when he reached there. Witnesses said as soon as the motorcade of Sayeed entered the village, angry protesters pelted stones on it and chased him away.SEHAR DEMANDS JUDICIAL PROBE The Peoples Democratic Party candidate for Kokernag, Sehar Iqbal demanded a judicial probe into the incident. In a statement here she said, “It is a inhuman act and we condemn it. This gruesome incident should be probed by a sitting Judge as people have lost faith in the state agencies.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008

TERRORISM REDIFINED

It’s beyond doubt now, Hindutva's fascist ideology endangers India's secularism
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt Nov. 23rd, 2008
DATELINE SRINAGAR BY ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB
The big shroud of lies covering many bomb blast incidents in India, falsely implicating Kashmiri and Indian Muslims, looks disappearing. The last few days were particularly and shockingly interesting. India's premier investigating agency, CBI, on Nov 12 told a Delhi Court that two Kashmiri youth arrested from Delhi in Feb 2006 by Delhi Police, falsely implicating them for carrying out bomb blasts in the capital, were innocent. It also sought action against the three police officials involved in their illegal detention. On the other hand, the 22 Muslim youth who were under detention for their suspected involvement in Hyderabad blasts were released last week. They were among 70 others who had been picked up by the Hyderabad Police investigating the Makkah Masjid blast that killed nine people on May 18 and the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat house blasts that killed 42 people on August 26 last year. Ironically, all these youth had been even charged with 'connections with SIMI'.As the Hindutva hand behind the gruesome bomb blasts at Malegoan, Ajmer Sharief, Hyderabad and on Samjhauta Express stands exposed, some very disturbing questions arise: what about many other such incidents? Who carried them out? Our memory must not fail us in recollecting all the fire-talk that parties like the BJP would do after such incidents. The way Hindutva parties like the BJP had made "incidents" like these and Muslim and Kashmir bashing staple fodder for their narrow political goals today stares at their faces. The Congress Party cannot be absolved of the blame either. At the heart of India's establishment and the indirect recipient of profound intelligence reports, it is impossible that the Congress leadership was unaware of the truth. What the Congress seems to be doing today is cashing on a reality for the forthcoming elections which it was already aware of. That certain Hindu extremist groups were involved in terrorist activities is nothing new. That these groups harbour certain fascist ideologies which can be termed as simply catastrophic is also nothing novel.Beyond all the cynical politicking, what is shocking is the level of involvement of diverse political and religious figures of India in the exposed Hindutva terror network. What is also ominous is the manner these extremist groups were using terrorist acts in creating a situation of mayhem and chaos – something which could only fuel a catastrophic backlash against the Muslims in India and Kashmir. Newspapers in India have revealed that many leaders of mainstream Hindutva parties were aware of the activities of the terrorist network working under the banners of Abhinav Bharat and Jammu-based Kalyan Trust. There are reports which suggest that this terrorist network includes many more people, and is not confined to people like Mahant Dayanand Panday, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Singh. A news report in the Times of India on Nov 16 provides some interesting insights into other details of this terror network.When Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh offers BJP leader, L K Advani, to share details of the activities carried out by this Hindu extremist network in private, it means many details are simply beyond public consumption. It looks what is being made public is just a tip of the iceberg. Times of India in a report on its front page on Nov 16 quoted one of the accused as saying that "leaders of the mainstream Hindutva groups were aware of their activities." The most worrisome is this terror group's aborted plan to kill 'a prominent Hindu leader of Delhi', as detailed in a Times of India report "Delhi-based Hindu leader in terror crosshairs, says ATS." This extremist group's Jammu connections and the involvement of some figures who have wielded power and clout in the State's establishment are highly worrisome. Lt Col Purohit, according to newspaper reports, has already trained at least 500 Hindu youth in carrying out subversive activities, many of them from Jammu. Sixty kgs of deadly RDX explosive was obtained by Lt Col Purohit from J&K in 2006 alone. Indian Express on Nov 13 has revealed that Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has acquired details about Mahant Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey connections in Jammu. It is curious the manner he was able to register a trust namely Kashyapmeru Shankaracharya Amritanand Vedic Vishva Kalyan Trust using a Jammu-based chartered accountant V K Kapoor's residential address as the address of the trust. V K Kapoor was quoted by Indian Express as saying that he came in contact with the Mahant some years ago at the residence of former BJP MLA, Rishi Kumar Koushal - who incidentally happens to be the founder of the Jammu Praja Parishad. Certain reports in India's national newspapers looking at the establishment of the Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu and its funding also point towards the need for in-depth investigations. That Mahant Dayanand Pandey after coming to Jammu changed his name and even got away with that puts a lot of light on how J&K's security apparatus works with a one-eyed approach. What is disturbing is that the accused Mahant had even shared the dais with the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti in Jammu, providing crucial support to the Amarnath 'movement' this year. The Mahant has been networking with the Hindutva groups and even sections of J&K's bureaucracy and establishment, actively campaigning for the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into three regions, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - a very Hindutva idea. And yet the State's security apparatus has been doing nothing.Although members of the Sangharsh Samiti today are dissociating themselves from the subversive activities of the Mahant, it is unlikely that there was an absolute innocence in Jammu's Hindutva circles about the activities of his group. Indian Express on Nov 13 in a front page piece gave astonishing details about the Mahant's links and connections quoting the website www.sarvagyapeeth.com. It revealed that Hindutva ideologue, Veer Savarkar's daughter-in-law, Himani Savarkar, at the launching of Abhinav Bharat, lauded the role of the Mahant in his work for the 'Hindu cause'. The figures of the trust include people like former ABVP national executive member, Pragya. The Mahant in the same website counts a host of political leaders ranging from BJP General Secretary, K.N Govindacharya, to present Congress Working Committee member, M.L Fotedar, as 'advisors'. It is well known that certain groups within the Hindutva fold have espoused the lofty goal of Akhand Bharat, which runs counter to India's constitutional commitment to secularism. It is also well known that these groups have always been interested in the Nazi Party's tactics in provoking a holocaust against the Jews. If this Hindutva network's these subversive acts point to imitation of the Nazi Party's tactics of creating conditions of a catastrophic backlash against India's Muslims, then surely it is a time for the Indian state to act. And act tough. Looking at the level of involvement in this terror network, India's secularism stands at test. For the larger good of the concept of India as a secular country, this brand of Hindutva espousing fascism needs to be defeated. Feedback at arjimand@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kashmir votes for democracy and development, not India

Courtesy: Yahoo News dt. Nov. 18th, 2008 By Krittivas Mukherjee
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - A good turnout at the start of Jammu and Kashmir elections may mean separatists misread a desire for development and democracy, analysts and voters said on Tuesday, but is not necessarily a vote for Indian rule. While it is too early to draw firm conclusions from Monday's first stage in a seven-part election across a very diverse state, the turnout in parts of the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley was a surprise for separatists who had heatedly called for a boycott. This year has seen some of the biggest anti-India protests in the Kashmir Valley since an insurgency began in 1989, but voters like 70-year-old Abdul Ahad Bhat said they wanted to cast their ballots even though they had taken part in protest marches.
"Independence is a separate issue from the need for a better life, which a good administration can provide," he said. "So there is no contradiction if a Kashmiri votes today and goes out and raises Azadi (freedom) slogans on the streets tomorrow."
Turnout in the 10 seats contested on Monday across Jammu and Kashmir was 64 percent. More surprising perhaps was a turnout of 59 percent in three seats contested in the Kashmir Valley, up from around 55 percent in the same seats in 2002. Previous elections have seen militants threatening violence to enforce their call for a boycott, and Indian soldiers trying to coerce people to vote. This time the militants said they would not interfere and the soldiers kept a lower profile. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference which had called for a boycott, questioned the official figures and said free and fair voting was impossible in the presence of hundreds of thousands of troops. But more mainstream political parties appeared to have won some listeners by arguing that the need to choose good government that can build roads and improve civic amenities would not necessarily undermine the independence movement. "This appealed to the people -- for them development still is the immediate need, said Noor Ahmad Baba, dean of social sciences faculty in Kashmir University. "They know independence is a higher, time-consuming goal." "It means ... the Hurriyat leadership does not have a finger on the pulse of the people. Yet this will not undermine the separatist movement because the political parties clearly delineated the freedom struggle from these elections." The biggest surprise came in the separatist stronghold of Bandipora, with turnout reaching 57 percent on Monday, up from 31 percent in 2002, when militant threats almost certainly kept many people away. The mountains around the town had been a hideout for militants from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Many voters said they still wanted independence as firmly as ever, but experts said a successful election across Kashmir would give the state and central government the chance to offer better governance and defuse the independence movement to some extent. At least 42 people were shot dead by police when hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims took to the streets this year shouting "Azadi" (freedom). "It needs to be seen how New Delhi leverages this election," Baba said, adding better governance might only temporarily temper the desire for independence in Kashmir, where more than 42,000 people have been killed during a two-decade-long revolt.
Political columnist Ghulam Nabi Khayal says Kashmiri Muslims will wait and watch for a while. "If they get nothing this time, the Hurriyat will use them," he said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

‘Troops use rape as war weapon in Kashmir’

Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt Nov. 17th, 2008 by Rashid Paul
Srinagar, Nov 16: Even though India is a signatory to various international covenants calling for protection of rights of women in conflict zones, rape is being used as a war weapon in Kashmir by Indian armed forces.This was stated by Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who teaches at the department of Law, Kashmir University and is also a noted columnist, on the second day of a two-day seminar on “women and the law” held at the varsity.While enumerating international resolutions and covenants guaranteeing protection of women in areas of armed conflict, he said, “India is a signatory to these agreements but its armed forces are using rape of Kashmiri women as a war weapon.”He said when pilots of Indian fighter jets were shot down by Pakistani troops during Kargil war, India complained to Pakistan that it was not treating well the pilots whether dead or alive. “But it continues to treat inhumanly the non- combatants like women in Kashmir,” he added. “In villages, cities and towns rape is used to counter rebellion,” he said.Referring to the interview of a former top commander of paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) in a Jammu based newspaper wherein the official had “explicitly admitted” abuse of women as a tactics to fight armed independence insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir,Showkat said if militants sneak in to a house, the house is blasted and male members of the house have to flee to escape torture and women are put in to a precarious situation. He said women are also the major sufferers in disappearance cases at the hands of state forces. Citing the case of Masooda Parveen versus State, he said the Supreme Court of India declined to provide ex gratia to the woman whose husband was killed by forces in custody. “The Supreme Court said that the woman is not entitled to any ex gratia because her husband was connected with insurgency in Kashmir. Any such help would down the morale of the security forces, the Supreme Court had declared,” Showkat said.He wondered how the dependants of a militant or pro-freedom activist can be unfairly treated for the actions of that male member. “If a dog is killed by Srinagar Municipality women activists in India create a furore. But they wink at the plight of women at the hands of Indian security forces in Kashmir,” he lamented.He said the central government even declined the sanction to prosecute its troops who have been found guilty of committing grave human rights abuses in Kashmir. “Furthermore tough laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provide them immunity,” he added.

Lt Col procured 60 Kgs RDX from JK

RESPONSIBLE FOR SAMJHAUTA BLAST, TOO
Courtesy:Daily Greater Kashmir dt.Nov. 16th, 2008
New Delhi, Nov 15: Prime accused in Malegaon bomb blast case, Lt Col Prasad Purohit allegedly procured 60 kgs of RDX from Jammu and Kashmir in 2006, a part of which is suspected to have been used in the Malegaon blast and also in the Samjhauta Express train explosions, the prosecution told a court here, giving a new dimension to the ongoing ATS probe.Special Prosecutor for the ATS, Ajay Misar told the court that a witness submitted that in 2006 Purohit had claimed he had 60 kgs of RDX in his possession which he had got from Jammu and Kashmir.The RDX is suspected to have been used in the September 29 Malegaon blast that left six dead and the twin explosions in Samjhauta train last year.Purohit gave a portion of the RDX to one Bhagwan who is suspected to have used in Samjhauta Express blast, Misar said.He said the Army officer was directly involved in the Samjhauta Express blasts that killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis.The Samjhauta Express was full of Pakistani visitors when the bombs went off on board. Of the 68 who died, 42 were Pakistanis. The blasts were triggered by low-intensity explosives which were accompanied by inflammable material. Three unexploded suitcase bombs were later recovered from the train.Ironically, India had then blamed Pakistan and Pakistani militants for the blasts.The Samjhauta Express runs between Delhi and Lahore and was a symbol of improving in India-Pakistan relations.Meanwhile, Maharashtra ATS has alleged that Purohit is a recruit of Swami Amritanand Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey who they claim masterminded the Malegaon blasts. The ATS says that Purohit organised RDX for that terror attack too.Purohit has admitted that he met Sadhvi Pragya Thakur — the other key accused in the blast case — through the Swami.Narco analysis on Purohit has revealed that he had already been tasked by Army Intelligence to gather information on SIMI. AGENCIES

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kashmiri detainee’s letter reveals ‘mental torture’ of Muslim inmates

Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. Nov. 13th, 2008 by Rashid Paul
Srinagar, Nov 12: A Kashmiri prisoner in Kotebalwal jail, Jammu in a secret letter to his family has accused the jail officials of tormenting Muslim imamates psychologically by desecrating religious scriptures besides routine physical torture.The detainee, Tariq Ahmed, son of Ghulam Nabi Shah of Bijbihara has sent a letter to his relatives narrating his ordeal at the hands of the jail authorities. The letter, a copy of which lies with this newspaper has been sent and signed by Tariq on November 4. “While I was being produced before a court in Islamabad on October 31, I dared to complaint against the torture I was subjected to by the jailors. In return I was subjected to worst emotional trauma when Jagdish Manhas, the jail officer, snatched a copy of Quran from me and threw it on the ground,” Tariq wrote in the letter.“They tore apart the Holy book. I tried to stop them. However, they were raging in anger and beat me remorselessly. The emotional punishment was unbearable and I broke down,” he said.The detainee writes that Jagdish Manhas, Havildar Tilak Raj and other two sentries on August 11 hammered him mercilessly.“I was penalized as I had complained to jail superintendent and his deputy that prisoners were being provided subhuman foods and there was no respect for jail manual”, he said.“The beating was so ruthless that blood streaked out from my body. The wounds were deep and could not heal till the date of my hearing at Islamabad. I showed my wounds to the judge and narrated my woes to him,” Tariq writes.“This enraged the officials and they defiled my Quran and also thrashed me,” Tariq said. He has sought action against the jailors and asked for their trial for “committing crimes against humanity.”A spokesman of Kashmir High Court Bar Association strongly condemned the incident and said it is a reflection of plight of detainees face in different jails within and outside the sate. The spokesman said if prisoners continued to be treated like this the Bar Association will have no choice but to take corrective measures against the jailors.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 6: When Earth Saw Blood

November 6: When earth saw blood
Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008
Abdul Majid Zargar
November 6, 1947 has a very special significance for the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir. Indian Army had already landed in Srinagar on October 26, pursuant to a controversial accession deal alleged to have been consummated between Mahraja Hari Singh and Indian Government. Hurt at the loss of northern areas, and fearing reprisals at the hands of people, Maharaja had fled Kashmir valley to rest in the safe environs of Jammu.
Upon reaching Jammu he spewed venom against Muslims, and privately ordered his army and a band of fanatics aided and abetted by RSS cadres to butcher them. An organized genocide of Jammu Muslims was carried out by them in all areas of Jammu. Muslim Women were abducted and raped. Even the daughter of the most popular Muslim leader of Jammu at that time, Chowdhary Ghulam Abbas was not spared. Men and children were massacred, and the weapons to carry out the carnage, swords and rifles, were provided by the Dogra Army. Local Police and administration acted as a mute and willing spectator. The Muslims were massacred by the same ruler who was supposed to be their savior. The pogrom bears very close resemblance to the Gujarat carnage enacted in 2002.A gory incident needs a mention here. Thousands of Jammu-city Muslims were made to assemble at parade ground on the promise of safe passage to Sialkot. They were herded like cattle in many trucks, and brutally killed near Samba and Kathua borders. No mercy was shown to these defenseless persons by the people and administration of Jammu who otherwise would swear by secularism and non-violence.It is said that Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah made frantic calls to New-Delhi to impress upon Maharaja to stop the genocide of Muslims but it all fell on deaf ears. The administration there was either too busy with the aftermaths of partition or were deliberately ignoring his calls.Here is another incident. A few thousand Hindus migrated from Muzaffarabad and reached Kashmir. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah made elaborate arrangements for their transportation to Jammu. These tonga drivers of the 250 tongas that were arranged, were Kashmiri Muslims. They were butchered in Jammu after they faithfully helped dropped the migrant passengers at their destination. These are the historical memories that have their relevance even today. Kashmiri Muslims need to keep this in mind while deciding their future at any given moment. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who was instrumental in making us fall in the Indian lap, in 1947, owes an answer to those innocent Jammu martyrs, on the day of Reckoning. Let his son and grand son take a note of this and rectify the mistake committed by their ancestors.

Lt Colonel stationed in Kashmir main suspect of Hindu terror attacks

MALEGAON BLASTS (Courtesy Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008)
Mumbai, Nov 8: The Maharashtra ATS made a sensational disclosure in the Malegaon investigations on Saturday about the nature of Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit’s involvement in the blast that killed six people last September. Till now, Lt Col Purohit’s role has been in the realm of speculation and information derived from sources. But now, a New Delhi based news chaneel NDTV has the Anti Terror Squad’s official version, which clearly indicts Purohit for supplying the RDX used in the blasts. There are suspicions that he may have been involved in the further blasts. Investigations show that Purohit, a high ranking army officer, procured the RDX and was familiar with arms and ammunition. Purohit was involved in training accused in bomb making. An wire agency report said that police and central security agencies are trying to trace the links of two of the persons arrested in connection with Malegaon blast to Jammu and Kashmir amidst suspicion that the RDX used in the Maharashtra town could have been smuggled from the militancy-hit state. Officials in ATS suspect Purohit, after being posted in Military Intelligence, used his contacts built during his tenure in Jammu and Kashmir where he was stationed with the 41 Rashtriya Rifles. ATS say that the accused Rakesh Dhavde, Jagdish Mhatre received weapons from Purohit and it was on Purohit’s instructions that the money was given to those involved in blast. ATS has also found out that Purohit attended secret meetings of Abhinav Bharat in Jabalpur and Bhopal. Purohit’s links to Abhinav Bharat have been confirmed by Pragya Thakur, Ramesh Upadhyay, and Sameer Kulkarni. Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad which is probing the Malegaon blast case has made more arrests. Six people were killed in the blast on September 29. Two more people have been arrested from Pune and Vapi in connection with the blast. The blast probe has put some army officers under the scanner. So far 11 people, including a serving Lieutanant Colonel have been arrested. The ATS has arrested the following persons for allegedly being involved in the September 29 blasts in Malegaon - Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, retired army major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Rakesh Dhawde, Jagdish Mhatre and Srikant Purohit.

Kolohai Glacier Shrinking Fast

Study Blames Temperature Rise, Army Vehicles, Cement Factories
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008 by ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Nov 8: One of the largest glaciers of Kashmir Himalayas, Kolhai, has shrunk considerably due to unprecedented increase in temperature and high levels of pollution caused by the emission of green house gases by military vehicles and cement plants, a recent study reveals.A study Glacier recession in Kashmir by Muneer Ahmad, an environmental expert from the National Geophysical Research Institute, Uppal, Hyderabad, says the Kolhai glacier has been shrinking since 19th century, but in the last decade it has been receding quite fast. The spatial extent of the Glacier has changed from 19.34 square kilometers to 17.23 square kilometers in 2001 in the past decade. The rate of retreat in 2007 was 21.88 meters in the main snout, the study says.Several small glaciers have disappeared completely in some areas, the thickness of glaciers has reduced by more than two-thirds, and most of the springs in the Valley have dried up, and the remaining are drying up, the study says.Glaciers are important source of fresh water in the Valley, and any change in the temperature or winter precipitation in the form of snowfall influences the flow in the hydrological system of the Valley.“The quantity of snowfall has been clearly reduced over the last few decades. Cement making plants in the Kashmir Valley are producing heat-trapping gases that could lead to no snow in the plains in the next two decades,” the study says.The study further reveals that more than 300 military convoys producing high-level green house gases move across the Valley everyday. “The gases emitted by these vehicles disturb the atmosphere of the Valley. The annual Amaranth Yatra is proving disastrous to the fragile environment of the area,” it states.The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment in Rio recognized that fluctuation in the size of glaciers is an important indictor of climatic change.The study states that receding of the glaciers has increased the amount of sediments in Lidder catchment in Pahalgam. Lidder Valley forms base of the two main ice fields, the Kolahoi and Shesram. And it is the source of two main upper streams, the West and East Lidder that join near Pahalgam.The study underscores the need for a detailed data on the sediments from glaciated zone. It states that qualitative and quantitative data of water from glaciers and snowfall go a long way in planning, estimating, and forecasting the power generation of glaciated river basin well in advance.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BSF trooper posted in Kashmir faces wrath of rioters in Maharashtra

By Javaid Malik (Courtesy Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Oct. 16th, 2008)
Srinagar, Oct 15: A paramilitary BSF trooper, Arif Hussain Khati, posted in north Kashmir’s Bandipore district, had to beg before the rioters to spare his family at Shirud village in Maharashtra, after anti-Muslim riots broke out there on October 5. Khati, who is posted in BSF’s 51 battalion told Greater Kashmir over phone from Malegaon in Maharashtra on Wednesday that he being a Muslim nearly proved fatal for him. “You are a Muslim first then a soldier and we can’t spare you,” Khati quoted rioters as having said. While recollecting what he and his family members witnessed, Khati said, “They (rioters) burnt my uniform, identity card and gallantry certificates before ransacking my house on the night of October 6 and tried to push my younger brother Sikander Hussain into the fire.” Khati, a constable, had arrived in Dhule to celebrate Eid after a long time, however, his joy was short lived as three days after the festival, he had to flee from his area to save his family. “Had we not fled they (rioters) would have killed us,” he said. Khati said that as he saw the rioters attacking his house on that fateful day, he called up the Commanding Officer of his battalion and informed him. “My boss told me to seek police’s help and gave me the telephone numbers of the top police officials of the area, but my desperate attempts to contact them proved futile as their phones were switched off,” he said, adding, “Rioters went on a rampage from 8:30 pm to 12:30am in the night, killing scores of Muslims and burning their houses. Had police arrived on time many innocent lives could have been saved. Police arrived around 12:30am, but by then it was too late.” Khati said that after police arrived, he mustered courage and caught hold of few rioters who were trying to run away, but to his utter surprise, Khati said, “Police set them free.” “I put my life at stake for guarding the borders of the country hoping that my family is safe, but after witnessing this incident my impression has changed. If police and government cannot protect a family of soldier, how can they protect the families of common people?,” Khati asked. He said that rioters took away the cash and jewelry and burnt all the documents pertaining to moveable and immoveable assets. “First time in my life I felt helpless. I didn’t know how to react, as I knew they are my own people and not enemies and they are the ones for whom I’m on the border.” Khati said that riots in Dhule, 25 kms from his home village, had broken out on October 5 and people were anticipating more attacks, but to his surprise police was not deployed and no effort was made to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn. “As commoners we could feel the tension. It was amazing that police didn’t make any arrangements to protect us. There were only 100 houses of Muslims in the area and protecting them was no big deal,” Khati said, adding that he and his family have now shifted to Malegaon, as their own people were in majority in that area. “I had to show my back to the rioters for the sake of my family and flee away, had I done the same on battle field, I would have been called a traitor,” he added. “I’ve been posted in Kashmir for past three years and have participated in many counter-insurgency operations, but in our battalion I have never felt as odd man out as there is no discrimination on the basis of religion. Me and my colleagues are like brothers,” he said. Khati said that his father Shabir Hussain was also in BSF’s 131 battalion and he followed his footsteps to join the force. “I’ve no regrets, I will continue to serve my nation, so what I am a Muslim,” he added. The violence in Dhule started as a minor conflict over some Muslims allegedly tearing up posters put up by local Hindu groups urging Hindus to wake up following the spate of bomb blasts around India. But it soon escalated, resulting in 10 people being killed and nearly 200 injured.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Economic Self-Sufficiency

Aatif Ahmad Mehjoor comments on the economic strength of Kashmir and the questions related to the issue. (Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Sep. 10th, 2008)
Can Kashmir survive as an independent territory? The recent economic blockade against the Kashmir valley by extremists in Jammu has brought into sharp focus the economic facets of the Kashmir problem. Even separatist political leaders, whose rhetoric was until now exclusively concerned with political rights, have started to express their views about the need to achieve economic self-sufficiency. By focusing on the economic realities underlying the Kashmir problem, the people of Kashmir will be able to better understand the nature of the problem. They will be able to better understand how their so-called leaders have behaved in the last six decades. The economic reality of Kashmir is that it is heavily dependent on India, not only for the vast majority of products consumed within Kashmir but also as a source of funding for the State Government. One only has to look at the J&K State Government’s budget and the sources of funds to see how dependent Kashmiris are on the Indian taxpayer’s largesse. For example, in the 2007-2008 budget, the total budgeted expenditure of the State Government was Rs. 16,267 crores ($3.6 billion). Realised expenditure (i.e. the amount actually spent by the Government) was Rs. 17,354 crores ($3.85 billion). This was not the first time that the Government exceeded the budget. Of the total of Rs. 17,354 crores spent by the government, more than 55% came from the Indian government – the vast majority in the form of grants. How was all this money spent by the State Government? Actual expenditure on interest payments amounted to Rs. 2,031 crores (i.e. 11.7% of the total budget). The budgeted expenditure on interest (i.e. what the Government thought it would be paying) was only Rs. 1,251 crores (i.e. 7.7% of total budgeted expenditure). Despite recommendations from experts to reduce the amount of debt that is being serviced, the State continues to suffer from an increasing debt burden. Interest payments continue to increase. Expenditure on salaries and pensions amounted to Rs. 5,527 crores (i.e. nearly 32% of the total expenditure). Thus, 32% of what our State Government spends goes to provide wages and pensions for government employees and ex-employees. An equally monstrous chunk of the State budget is spent on electricity. The State purchases electricity at market prices but recovers only a small part of the purchase cost because the people of the State refuse to pay for the electricity they consume. It is important to compare these figures with the total economic output of the State. In 2007-2008 the total State Gross Domestic Product (i.e. the total size of the State economy) was Rs. 32,172 crores ($7.15 billion). This means that government spending amounts to nearly 54% of the State’s economy. It also means that the Indian taxpayer is directly responsible for financing nearly 30% of the State’s economy. The figure may be higher because a significant portion of the private sector in Kashmir (such as small provisions stores, shopkeepers, lawyers dependent on ‘service matters’ etc) are dependent upon spending by government employees and such spending itself gives rise to a significant portion of the taxes collected by the State Government. What would happen if Central Government funding disappeared? The State’s economy would shrink by at least 30%, resulting in massive unemployment, chaos and even starvation. During the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1999, the worst suffering country was Indonesia but even its economy only shrank by 12%. Yet, the result was chaos and suffering on a grand scale. If Central funding were to be withheld, the State Government would be unable to finance the monumental wastage of electricity by the population, who would find themselves without electricity, and there would be no salaries to pay to many government employees – from teachers to daily wagers. The State Government would also be unable to raise any funds by borrowing. It can borrow only because the guarantee of the Indian Government stands behind it to support its creditworthiness. Were such a guarantee to be withdrawn, no one would lend money to a State Government whose spending was out of control. None of the people who have written about economic self-sufficiency have thought about these issues. The problem is not the absence of private sector development in Kashmir. The problem is the excessive dependence of the people on government jobs (which leads to enormous spending on salaries and pensions), the theft of electricity (someone has to pay for it after all) and a sense of free or subsidised entitlement to various services (such as electricity, gas, oil or essential commodities). This problem cannot be blamed on India. It is, after all, Kashmiri politicians who vote on the budget in the legislative assembly. It is Kashmiris who take government jobs because private sector work is considered to be beneath their dignity. It is Kashmiris who use electricity and then do not pay for the actual amount of electricity used. If the State Government purchases electricity for Rs. 1,000 crores, then it has to realise this amount from consumers. If consumers only pay Rs. 400 crores, then someone has to foot the deficit of Rs 600 crores! The opening of the Jehlum Valley Road will not get rid of this dependence. It may boost exports by providing an easier outlet to Pakistan. It may be that our fruit growers find better markets in Pakistan where our products fetch better prices. However, it will not change the fact that the vast majority of the people in Kashmir continue to be employed by the State Government. Cross-LOC trade will do little to alleviate the State’s debt burden or put curbs on the Government’s out-of-control expenditure. It hardly needs stating that much of the money spent by the State Government is embezzled by corrupt officials. Together with legitimate salaries and pensions, this money is spent on the consumption of products that must be imported from outside. There is little incentive to engage in the production of these items within the State. Why set up a sheep farm to cater to the high demand for mutton when one can earn an easy living as a daily wager and get to enjoy Rajasthani mutton for a free wage? Even rice has to be imported from outside the State. If the money is not spent on buying products from outside, it is invested in buying land or building “shopping complexes”. It is not invested in projects that generate stable employment and that increase the production of goods for export or as substitutes for imports. The successful running of a political movement requires not only courage and energy, but also wisdom and a vision on the part of those leading the movement. This vision must be all-encompassing. It must provide for all aspects of a people’s life: political, social, and economic. It must not be a motley collection of slogans and chants that are repeated at demonstrations and on interviews. The vision’s rational basis must be articulated by intellectuals and its emotional appeal must be given expression by poets.Take, for example, the movement for Pakistan. At its vanguard were towering intellectuals of the time with charismatic personalities. The movement was not only joined by landlords and other men of wealth, but was primarily led by intellectuals who had studied abroad and who had excelled in their respective fields. Leadership was not unilaterally assumed by any single person. Instead, a natural leader emerged (Jinnah) and everyone approached him and invited him to take charge of the struggle. The movement found poetic expression under the pen of Iqbal and other poets of the Urdu language, who produced masterpieces whilst capturing the spirit of the movement. Now compare this with Kashmir. The ‘movement’ has been made into a commercial business. A number of the so-called leaders have misappropriated vast amounts of money meant for orphans and martyrs. They have educated their children in expensive private schools in England and America, enriched themselves from the funds generously donated by well-wishers for the welfare of Kashmiris, and have monopolised the political space in Kashmir. They have also turned their politico-business outfits into dynastic enterprises, devolving ownership and control to their male children. It is necessary for the truth to come out and for those profiting from Kashmir, whilst everyone suffers, to be exposed. Writing only tributes to the protests and condemnations of India will not achieve anything. The truth is already known to the people of Kashmir. They have to confront it one day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Mu’azzin craves for saying Azan from Masjid


Undeterred By Bullet InjuryRABIA NOOR
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Sep. 29th, 2008
Srinagar, Sept 28: Writhing in pain at his hospital bed, this young Mu’azzin in mid- twenties craves for the day when he returns to Bismillah Masjid at Bemina and say Azan for which the people yearn. As of now his wish remains a distant dream as doctors have advised another surgery, fourth since he was admitted after being shot at allegedly by the paramilitary CRPF.On August 13, Tariq Ahmad Dar, 25, was shot at by the CRPF troopers at Bemina. It’s more than 40 days at the hospital bed and he doesn’t know for how many more days he will have to wait till he revisits the Masjid for prayers.“I don’t know how many more months I have to spend in the hospital,” says Tariq, from his bed in the orthopaedic ward of the SKIMS Medical College Hospital Bemina. “What disturbs me most is that I have been in the hospital for the entire Ramzan now and can’t attend Tarawih prayers,” feels Tariq as pensively looks at his injured leg.He believes that his pain subsides when he goes for zikr from the hospital bed.Recalling the incident, Tariq says: “I had gone to Bismillah Masjid for offering Azaan for Zuhr prayers. Meanwhile, I heard some sound outside the Masjid that recalled me of the two incidents, which had taken place in previous days. Just a day back the Masjid was fired upon by the CRPF troopers and earlier its window panes were also broken. I thought they would repeat the same, so
I went outside to tell them not to do so.” “As I went outside, the CRPF troopers and JK policemen called me. I was absolutely unarmed. I asked them not to harm the Masjid. To my surprise, they hugged me and told me very politely that they won’t. But while I was moving back, they attacked me from the back with wooden rods and fired me on my left leg,” he alleged. Locals rushed Tariq to the Bemina hospital where he was hospitalised, but the bullet was not removed from his body. “When he was brought to this hospital, we thought it’s a vascular injury, but it wasn’t. So he was referred to the SKIMS Soura for orthopedics,” said Dr Mudassir. “On our way to SKIMS, the CRPF fired on our vehicle. They broke glass of a window which injured my hand. However, the driver did not stop, for which they had even filed a complaint against him in the police station,” said Tariq.Tariq underwent a surgery in SKIMS and was kept there for four days, from where he was referred to the Bemina hospital. There he developed acute infection, after which he was again operated upon. “Earlier we closed his main wound. But then it developed some infection, so we had to open it again and wash it off in the Operation Theater. His infection was controlled after a month. After that, he underwent skin grafting on September 15. He has undergone three surgeries so far,” said Dr Mudassir, adding that he is to undergo two more surgeries. Tariq will be referred to the Bones and Joints Hospital Barzullah for bone surgery, followed by bone grafting. “The doctors here told us they lack some machinery for the surgery, hence I may need to be shifted to Barzullah hospital,” said Tariq. “He will be alright after the bone surgery,” assures Dr Mudassir. However his uncle, Abdul Salam Dar, seemed to be doubtful about Tariq’s recovery. “I am not sure whether after the bone surgery he would be able to walk properly,” he said.The amount spent on medication comes to Rs 500 for the dressing and medicines. “So far we have spent Rs 20,000 on his treatment, which is a huge amount for a poor man like him, who doesn’t even earn,” said Abdul Salam. Tariq is working as labourer but without any payment in the State Motor Garages where his father late Muhammad Subhan Dar was working as a driver. His father passed away previous year. “I worked there so sincerely, but then also I wasn’t granted the job, although I was promised for the same. My case is pending in the High Court,” said Tariq. “He is Moazin in the Masjid where he likes to be always,” says Abdul Salam.An orphan, Tariq comes from a poor family. He resides with his elder brother Farooq Ahmad at Bemina Gulshanabad, who is a driver. Tariq is the youngest among four brothers and three sisters. His other two brothers are labourers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

THE COMEDY OF DECLARING MASTERMINDS OF SERIAL BLASTS

No sooner do the various state police units nab some muslim youth on the pretext of perpetrating violence, each state police hurriedly rushes to take the claim for cracking the terror modules and nabbing the mastermind of all the serial blasts that rocked various cities across India.First it was the infamous Gujrat police that labelled Abu Bashar as the mastermind of all the blasts, followed by Jaipur police that declared Tauqir, the computer wizard and some other guy as the masterminds and only day before yesterday, Delhi police brandished slain Atiq (person purportedly killed in Delhi encounter) as the mastermind of all the blasts.

The fact remains that there is no place in Islam for such terrorist activities and mass killings of civilians and no sane person can ever condone or endorse such violent acts. Even hardliners like Syed Ali Geelani condemned these serial blasts. Islam stands for peace and Holy Quran describes in unambiguous terms that the killing of one innocent person is like murdering the entire humanity. Only today morning I read in a local Daily that one of the persons killed in Gaffar Market blast in New Delhi was a poor Kashmiri muslim rickshaw puller who had gone to Delhi in search of his livelihood. So such acts of violence serve no cause to any person or community and need to be abhored in strongest terms possible. Yet the way various state police units of Indian states have rushed to conclusions while claiming success in busting the rackets smacks of something disastrously fishy and dangerous. It seems innocent muslim youth are being grabbed, tortured in the most inhuman fashion and labelled of committing crimes that they might never have committed,otherwise why would each state police unit come up with their own version of the mastermind and racket behind the blasts. Unfortunately with such malicious acts of state police units of mislabelling the innocent people only benefit the real culprits who continue to remain obscure while others are punished for their ill deeds.

Moreover Gujrat police vehemently declared that SIMI is Indian Mujahideen, just another name. Delhi police refuted this claim outrightly and stated that the two are different and operate independently. Now whose words should one believe. If we go by the version of Delhi police, then all the men arrested by Gujrat police and brandished as men behind the blasts are clearly innocent and scapegoats. Such acts clearly hint at anti-muslim pranks played by Indian Police forces and their agenda to "GIVE THE DOG A BAD NAME AND KILL HIM".They want to crack down upon all muslims, their madrassas and their social and religious organizations.They don't want ordinary muslims to group and organize themselves against the atrocities perpetrated upon their hapless community. All this makes us conclude that when over fifteen crore muslims in India are not safe at the hands of Indian security forces, how can they lure Kashmiris with their so-called secular and economic might. We see what they are doing to christian community in Orissa, M.P, and Karnataka.While Bajrang Dal activits openly threaten to attack churches and christians and even do that with full impunity, state police forces shower their lathis on christian women, youth, nuns and priests inside churches at Mangalore. India has of late turned out to be an intolerant society, a safe haven for hindu extremists, where the right wing hindu fundamentalist forces fully supported by state police want all minorities to dance in to their tunes. Their slogan is, "gar bharat mein rehna hoga, vande matram kehna hoga" and those who don't want to do this should move to Pakistan for ever.

There seems to be acute dearth of sane people who could understand the simple fact that even if muslims of pakistan are told to recite vande matram in respect of their own country, they can't do that because it goes against their religion where a muslim can bow before only God almighty and none else. So why blame muslims of India for denying to recite vande matram on religious grounds when no muslim on earth whichever country he belongs to can ever do that. In short they are looking out for lame excuses to crush and kill muslims across India and wipe them out. But almighty Allah is there to take care of us and insha-Allah their sinister designs will never succeed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brutal Use of Force and Genocide of Kashmiris continues unabated

Yet another day of ruthlesshness of Indian security forces has passed in which two innocent civilians have been doomed to death and sixty other injured grieviously and thus continues their brutality and mass murder of Kashmiri muslims. On top of it, they make futile and unsuccessful bids to hack the truth. They accuse unarmed protestors of shooting at forces in Shopian and allege peaceful demonstrators of perpetrating violence against security forces. Inspite of all this, some liberal Indians want to lure us Kashmiris with their so-called sound economics, secularism and power. Our reply to them is "TO HELL WITH YOUR ECONOMICS, YOUR SECULARISM, YOUR POWER, YOUR SUPPLIES, YOUR SUPPORT". No conscious Kashmiri would ever opt to stay with India after being witness to their brutality and barbarism in the valley. You express your concerns about our survival after freedom. Our reply is you need not worry about that, please leave us alone. We will prefer to die in harness rather than siding with you beasts who perpetrate most heinous crimes against humanity in Kashmir and the images on the left side of this post are a blatant proof of your avengeful reign of terror that you have unleashed against entire Kashmiri population regardless of their age and gender. This is the real face of your democracy, your secularism and your liberalism. With all this done, we all say in one voice, "WE WANT FREEDOM", be it at the cost of our lives, our economy, our tourism, our survival. Very soon we will come out alongwith our children, our women and full families on roads and we won't move an inch even if you shower all your bullets on us and we will make sure that every single uniformed terrorist is made to vacate this pious land. We don't want your dirty feet on our soil anymore. Please leave and leave us alone.

Friday, September 5, 2008

CAN WE SURVIVE AFTER INDEPENDENCE FROM INDIA?

Of course WE CAN. India has been pursuing its policy of what the economists term as a "DEPENDENCE SYNDROME" in Kashmir. No doubt they finance our budget and provide us funds every year, yet how much they take from us mostly goes unnoticed. Out of NHPC's total capacity of generating 2400 MWs of electricity, 1600 MWs are generated (read stolen) from Kashmir. Government of India signed "Indus Water Treaty" way back in mid seventees with Pakistan thus inflicting losses to the tune of trillions of dollars to our state without ever compensating for the same. Owing to our rich water resources, our state has a total potential of producing 22000 MWs of power annually which shall be sufficient enough to electrify entire India, I guess. Five rivers on which Pakistan has been given rights under the afore-mentioned treaty to generate power could have changed the entire demography of development of our valley over years.

Besides we have a huge potential for producing raw material worth trillions of dollars for the herbal drug industry. This region is endemic to a large number of medicinal and aromatic plants. This sector is absolutely virgin and unexplored and can fetch us huge money in the international market if exploited properly. Nature has bestowed our fertile land with this invaluable gift. Our land grows world's best saffron and all of us know the cost of every ounce of it. Our valley is one of the richest source of several minerals like bauxite. This untapped industry can sustain for decades to come. We know world's best neelam is extracted from Padder area in Kishtwar.

Our tourism industry is our biggest asset besides our handicrafts. Once we are free and peace prevails in the region, tourists in lakhs from across the world will throng our serene destinations and our priceless carpets besides other handicrafts can fetch us currency of all nations in the world. Our fruit industry that has been made to suffer during the economic blockade imposed by right wing hindu fundamentalist forces is a big industry with a potential to earn good surplus. Only thing needed is opening up of natural trade routes of Kashmir through Muzaffarabad, Rawalakote, Skardu etc.

India has been funding us in a very tactful manner over the years. They invest in areas like hydroelectricity which will ultimately benefit none else than India itself. Their game plan is to keep Kashmiris always dependent upon central funds. They don't let us stand upon our own feet, they don't let us generate our own income and income for our brotheren. They provide us crores in the form of wages but nothing much for our industrialization and economic self-reliance. That is the reason why m0st of our youth are unemployed and craving for government employment because there are hardly any opportunities in private sector. There are many other areas that make our claim for freedom more economically viable that I shall discuss in my next post.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Qazigund village ‘terrorized’ by Indian Army

FAHEEM ASLAM/KHALID GUL
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Sep. 5th, 2008
(Women Beaten, Kids Thrashed, Youth Paraded Naked; SHO Refuses To File FIR Against CRPF)
Wangud, Qazigund (Kulgam), Sep 4: The CRPF troopers beat up and wounded several women and more than 12 teenagers in this small hamlet in south Kashmir, during the strict curfew last week after the villagers refused to sing “Jai Mata Di (Long live Mata (Indian goddess)” “Vanday Mataram (I bow before thee o motherland),” and the Indian national anthem. Not to be quoted by their names was the first request of the villagers, as they feared further reprisals. The villagers said they are “being terrorized” for participating in pro-independence marches. The villagers said on August 26 the troopers of 154 Bn CRPF caught hold of a group of youth outside a Darasgah and asked them to sing Indian national anthem. “One of the youth, Muhammad Ishaq Wani, refused to sing it saying he didn’t know anything about it and even if the Indian prime minister forced him to sing it he would not. This was not liked by the troopers and they tore off his clothes, leaving him naked,” the villagers said. Ishaq is a 12th pass student and working as a salesman. After parading Ishaq naked, the troopers barged into dozens of houses and beat up the inmates to pulp, the villagers said. “They threw stones on window panes of the houses and damaged several vehicles,” the villagers said. The troopers had brought stones in a gunnysack, the villagers said. Women who tried to intervene were also beaten severely.
According to villagers, 40-year-old Hafeeza wife of Abdul Majeed Wani was brutally beaten by the troopers with bamboo sticks and gun buts inside a cow shed where she bled for nearly half an hour before her neighbours took her to hospital. She has six stitches in her head, and the bandage was blood stained. Hafeeza’s daughter Mehbooba too was not spared when she attempted to rescue her mother. “The troopers threatened Hafeeza of dire consequences if she told the villagers or the media how she was injured,” the villagers said. Mahtaba Bano, 70, wife of Abdul Majeed Wani has multiple bruises and haematoma. “She was asking them to stop atrocities, but she was thrashed severely,” the villagers added. A pregnant woman Nayeema Akhtar wife of Fayaz Ahmad Wani was hit with bamboo sticks on her back. The residents said a woman named Chashmeeda was walking on the road carrying her three-month-old baby when the troopers snatched the baby from her and beat her up severely. Chashmeeda has multiple injuries on arm.
“The troopers entered the house of a mentally challenged person and beat up his son Zakir Hussain Kuttay so savagely that he has 14 stitches in his head and arm,” the villagers said adding the troopers smashed the Dish TV antenna of one Muhammad Yousuf Rather while the vehicle of his fellow villager Abdul Hameed Wani was partially damaged. “More than 200 glass panes were smashed with stones,” the villagers said. They said the troopers tried to set ablaze the house of a villager Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh by spraying it with kerosene but his neighbor Muhammad Yousuf Rather snatched the kerosene can from the troopers. “Following this, the troopers broke Rather’s legs by ruthlessly beating him with gun butts,” the villagers said. Rather has fracture in his right leg. A 10-year-old boy, Abrar Ahmad, was severely beaten. “The troopers asked him about his favourite cricket player. He named Shoaib Akhtar. Hearing this, the troopers started beating him,” the villagers said. They said Ahmad was rescued by his father who told the troopers that Abarar’s favourite player was Sachin Tendulkar and not Shoaib Akhtar. The villagers said after the “collective punishment” the troopers left the area at 4 pm, but returned again to sing “Jana Gana Mana” and “Vanday Mataram” in the village. “More than 200 troopers in a frenzy celebrated in the village Allah knows what. They raised anti-Islam and anti-Azadi slogans,” the villagers said. They said the Station House Officer of Dooru Police Station refused to file an FIR against the troopers. “Please don’t name any of the victims in your story. The CRPF troopers will simply kill us. There is nobody here to listen to us, not even the police and district administration,” the villagers said. The CRPF officials, however, deny having any information about the incident. “I don’t know anything about it. But I will certainly talk to the concerned commandant and ask him to inquire the matter,” said the CRPF’s Srinagar-based spokesman, Prabhakar Tripathi. “If the allegations are proved right, we will be taking action against the erring troopers. We won’t tolerate indiscipline at any cost.”

WELCOME TO INDIAN KASHMIR


Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir
Wednesday, 03 September 2008
Alistair Scrutton
London, Sep 03: The world's largest democracy locks up protest leaders without charge, shoots dozens of demonstrators dead, beats and intimidates ordinary citizens and raids homes without warrants. Welcome to Kashmir, where the biggest separatist protests in two decades have clashed with the might of the state. "They are ruthless, trigger happy," said Ghulam Rasool Bhat, a laborer who says he was beaten by federal police after he tried to buy milk for his two nephews under a curfew in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. He lay in a bed, both legs bandaged where a soldier, shouting "Get your milk from Pakistan" had smashed a rifle into his shins. His legs felt, he said, as if in a continuous cramp. Police have shot dead at least 35 Muslim protesters in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley after a row over land for a Hindu shrine spiraled into marches and strikes against Indian rule. More than 1,000 people have been wounded in clashes over three weeks, hospital officials and police say, with the Kashmir Valley often under curfew. Hundreds of people have suffered police baton beatings and bullet wounds, doctors say.
The Indian government says its security forces have been fired upon by protesters on several occasions, and said authorities had "acted within the law and with restraint." Witnesses said some protesters had thrown stones at police, but said that most were marching peacefully.
India's hardline response to the protests has highlighted what critics say is its lack of strategy to find a solution to a problem that has already sparked two wars between India and Pakistan , who both claim the region in full but rule it in parts. The crackdown may also be counter-productive. Residents say the deaths and violent crackdown have fuelled anger against India and boosted the separatist cause after years of relative peace. "The government of India does not have a strategy," said Siddharth Varadarajan, diplomatic editor of The Hindu newspaper.
"It is relying heavily on coercion, arresting top and middle-level leaders in the hope it will break the back of unprecedented protests." In rare criticism last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on India to avoid using excessive force. It drew a rebuke from India for interfering in its affairs.
SIMMERING RESENTMENT
For decades there has been simmering resentment at the hundreds of thousands of Indian troops stationed in Kashmir, making it one of the most militarized regions on earth.
Roadblocks, verbal abuse from soldiers and raids on homes have long been a part of daily life.
But as protests spiraled in August, the government sent in battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a federal police force of mainly Hindus who do not speak Kashmiri. Strangers to Kashmir , most residents appear to despise them. In interviews in Srinagar and nearby villages, tales were similar: CRPF beatings, night raids on homes, verbal abuse and
smashed windows. Life has been worse than in previous years. "They are not human," said Raja, a villager from Newtheed less than an hour's drive from the city. She said soldiers smashed up her home, shouting "We'll show you what freedom is." In Srinagar, the CRPF has taken over from the local Kashmiri police to enforce curfews and riot control. Residents complain of abuse at the slightest provocation -- selling bread, buying milk. One surgeon, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution from Indian authorities, said he has received around 400 wounded people in three weeks, 150 of them hit by bullets. "These are target killings. It's simple to see," said the doctor, explaining that many of the chest wounds were from weapons such as AK-47s. "Most of these were intended to kill. They were not to disperse a crowd."
Shabir Ahmed Dar, 22, lay in one hospital bed after three operations. He was shot in the bdomen during a protest march to the Pakistani Kashmir border.
"There was no warning from the police. They just fired." The police firings drew criticism from Human Rights Watch. "To end this cycle of tragedy, the government should order security forces to act with restraint," it said in a statement. It is not just a hardline response to street protests. Authorities have detained several separatist leaders without charge. Other leaders, many committed to democratic change and who publicly reject militant violence, were in hiding.
Asiya Andrabi, chief of Kashmir’s women's separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Milat Daughters of the Muslim Faith) who had led some of the protests, has been detained under the Public Safety Act that allows for a year in jail without trial. The violence still pales in comparison with previous years when officials say more than 43,000 people have been killed in clashes involving Indian troops and Muslim militants since 1989. Human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000 dead or missing. Some analysts say authorities were in a difficult situation.
"This is a place where security officials are getting attacked every second day," said Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, referring to the years of militant insurgency.

Monday, September 1, 2008

KASHMIR - A Story of double standards, dirty politics, discrimination and blatant human rights violation

Yes, this is what Kashmir is all about in addition to leadership crisis, disintegrity, misinformation campaign, false propaganda and ruthless use of force. A glimpse of dirty politics is provided by our Abdullah clan. Only few days ago, Omar Abdullah went on record on national channels favouring "Azadi" and yesterday his father blissfully puts in his signatures on the pact between governor's nominees and Sangarsh Samiti without caring about the horrendous crimes inflicted upon the Kashmiris during all these years and during curefew period in particular. Surely , anybody can make a wild guess that another puppet government run by National Conference under patronage of the Congress is in the offing for hapless Kashmiris. Otherwise after losing entire vote bank of Jammu by supporting the idea of Azadi, NC could never have afforded to lost the vote bank of the Valley too by signing this pact. Surely another pact of rewarding NC with governance in J&K seems to have been signed between Farooq Abdullah and the Centre. Anyways, it hardly matters for the crippled and gagged Kashmiris as to which puppet government in ruling the roost. Kashmiris this time are not going to settle for anything short of Azadi.

Meanwhile CRPF continues to shower bullets on peaceful protestors in addition to hurling choicest invectives and abuses on passers-by, barging into peoples' homes, mosques and shops, desecrating household goods, beating inmates, sacrilaging Holy Books, humiliating respected senior citizens and molesting womenfolk. There is no accountability, no control over the berserk and brutal forces. Curfew passes are being rejected and torn, youth are beaten to pulp and shopkeepers are threatened without any provocation. Sad part of the story is that some Kashmiri Pandits who claim to represent their entire community are busy spewing venom against Kashmiri Muslims and are taking their misinformation campaign through blogs, internet, documentaries, newspapers to all new heights without caring about its consequences on the age old brotherhood and harmony between the two communities. I remember how muslim youth of our locality risked their lives to save pudit houses when the entire locality had been engulfed in a devastating fire incident. Even today majority of muslims are ready to welcome their pundit brothers with open arms back into the valley, but these so-called champions of pundit cause are hell bent to spread communal hatred and divide the two communities with dangerous fall-outs.

Pakistan continues to be tight-lipped over the plight of imprisoned and gagged Kashmiris and so does OIC. Surprisingly some of the Indian intelligentia has started realizing the fallacy and the myth that Indians have been nurturing since ages and have started coming out in open in favour of granting Kashmiris their well-deserved INDEPENDENCE

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time to shun rhetoric and talk tough on Amarnath yatra

So fascist, communal, divisive and fundamentalist forces of Jammu have finally succeeded in getting the whole issue of Amarnath Forest Land Row camouflauged and sabotaged to their favour under the garb of Nationalism and Patriotism. Once again, following the age-old maxim of "give the dog a bad name and kill him", state government has inflicted most horrendous crimes against humanity in Kashmir after labelling the unarmed, protesting civilians as secessionists.
Now it is time for the separatist leaders of Kashmir to shun their rhyming rhetoric of allowing and supporting the Amarnath pilgrimage in its present tone and tenure. It is time to get to terms and call a spade a spade. People across India have been trumpeting the so-called income that Kashmiris purportedly have been generating from the Yatra. So much so that Ram Vils Paswan went to the extent of saying that if left to Kashmiris, they would very well prefer the Yatra to continue for the entire year owing to the income they generate from Amarnath yatris.

This is a part of large scale misinformation campaign and false propoganda unleashed by right wing hindu fundamentalists and duly fostered by the Indian media. The fact of the matter is that yatris come in groups with their tour packages finalized at their native places with their local operators. They go back in same vehicles in which they come. Food outlets where they eat are mostly Vaishnovi dhabas owned by their fellow brothren from outside the state. They do all the shopping at Jammu again from their compatriots belonging either to Jammu or outside the state. Due to their plenty of hatred against Kashmiris they see to it that Kashmiris don't gain much from their influx into the valley. Only people supposedly to gain from yatra are the ponneywalas of Pahalgam who earn only coins and not notes from them out of their nerve-wrecking and spine chilling hard labour. Are Kashmiris so hapless to bow and surrender their honour and prestige for the sake of few morsels thrown to poor ponneywalas and the like, of course not.

It is high time we start talking tough about the large scale devastation and destruction that lakhs of pilgrims cause to our ecology in Amarnath region. Several national and international environmental agencies have warned that large scale movement of pilgrims in a purely ecological and environmentally sensitive area will wreck havock to the glaciers there which are diminishing very fast bringing lot of damage to our climate and environment. No wonder over the past few years, Kashmir has been witnessing snow psunamies, floods and inundating rainfall. Now in comparison to the income poor Kashmiris make out of Yatra, can there be any match for the damage it causes to our life and property in addition to our serene forests. Imagine how much shit and garbage might have been thrown by over five lakh yatris into lidder river and the pristine glaciers at an altitde of over 3500 feet. When BJP government in Uttranchal restricted number of pilgrims visiting Gomuch Temple to a meagre 150 per day to save their Gangotri and for other environmental reasons, nobody resisted this move. Why can't we in Kashmir demand restriction of the daily and total number of pilgrims visiting Amarnath on the similar grounds besides reducing the total duration of yatra to 15 days.

After all it is the bearer of Chardhi Mubarak (Holy mace of lord shiva) namely Mahant Deependra Giri of Dashnami akhada who has time and again voiced concern over the fast deteriorating religious sentiments of the amarnath yatra. He has several times made it clear that this yatra holds religious significance only for a period of fifteen days upto shrawan purnima and that beyond these fifteen days yatra holds no meaning at all. Why his voice is being curbed under the garb of communal frenzy and fascist passions of hindu fundamentalists. It is time we should sound alarm bells about our environment and demand restricting daily rush of yatris to a few hundred of them and reducing its total duration to only fifteen days. We should stop thriving on this dangerous tradition and voice our concerns loud and clear without any fear. Hope our leaders learn some lessons from the aggressive tactics of Jammu Sangarsh Samiti and take some cue from them as to how to protect our interests against all odds. It is time to stop being remorseful, defensive and humble because we have not achieved anything out of that except curfew and killings. It is time to pursue your genuine goals aggressively and without any regretful attitude.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

CURFEW OR MARSHAL LAW

PAINFUL CHECKING: CRPF troopers check medical documents of a pregnant lady being carried to hospital. Deaths of several pregnant ladies has reportedly taken place due to their inability to reach the hospitals as a result of the most harsh curfew in place throughout Kashmir valley. (Photo Courtesy: Farooq Javed, Daily Rising Kashmir)

INDEPENDENCE DAY FOR KASHMIR

by Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar
Courtesy: Times of India dated August 18th, 2008
On August 15, India celebrated independence from the British Raj. But Kashmiris staged a bandh demanding independence from India. A day symbolising the end of colonialism in India became a day symbolising Indian colonialism in the Valley. As a liberal, i dislike ruling people against their will. True, nation-building is a difficult and complex exercise, and initial resistance can give way to the integration of regional aspirations into a larger national identity — the end of Tamil secessionism was a classical example of this. I was once hopeful of Kashmir's integration, but after six decades of effort, Kashmiri alienation looks greater than ever. India seeks to integrate with Kashmir, not rule it colonially. Yet, the parallels between British rule in India and Indian rule in Kashmir have become too close for my comfort. Many Indians say that Kashmir legally became an integral part of India when the maharaja of the state signed the instrument of accession. Alas, such legalisms become irrelevant when ground realities change. Indian kings and princes, including the Mughals, acceded to the British Raj. The documents they signed became irrelevant when Indians launched an independence movement. The British insisted for a long time that India was an integral part of their Empire, the jewel in its crown, and would never be given up. Imperialist Blimps remained in denial for decades. I fear we are in similar denial on Kashmir. The politically correct story of the maharaja's accession ignores a devastating parallel event. Just as Kashmir had a Hindu maharaja ruling over a Muslim majority, Junagadh had a Muslim nawab ruling over a Hindu majority. The Hindu maharaja acceded to India, and the Muslim nawab to Pakistan. But while India claimed that the Kashmiri accession to India was sacred, it did not accept Junagadh's accession to Pakistan. India sent troops into Junagadh, just as Pakistan sent troops into Kashmir. The difference was that Pakistan lacked the military means to intervene in Junagadh, while India was able to send troops into Srinagar. The Junagadh nawab fled to Pakistan, whereas the Kashmir maharaja sat tight. India's double standard on Junagadh and Kashmir was breathtaking. Do you think the people of Junagadh would have integrated with Pakistan after six decades of genuine Pakistani effort? No? Then can you really be confident that Kashmiris will stop demanding azaadi and integrate with India? The British came to India uninvited. By contrast, Sheikh Abdullah, the most popular politician in Kashmir, supported accession to India subject to ratification by a plebiscite. But his heart lay in independence for Kashmir, and he soon began manoeuvering towards that end. He was jailed by Nehru, who then declared Kashmir's accession was final and no longer required ratification by a plebiscite. The fact that Kashmir had a Muslim majority was held to be irrelevant, since India was a secular country empowering citizens through democracy.
Alas, democracy in Kashmir has been a farce for most of six decades. The rot began with Sheikh Abdullah in 1951: he rejected the nomination papers of almost all opponents, and so won 73 of the 75 seats unopposed! Nehru was complicit in this sabotage of democracy. Subsequent state elections were also rigged in favour of leaders nominated by New Delhi. Only in 1977 was the first fair election held, and was won by the Sheikh. But he died after a few years, and rigging returned in the 1988 election. That sparked the separatist uprising which continues to gather strength today. Many Indians point to long episodes of peace in the Valley and say the separatists are just a noisy minority. But the Raj also had long quiet periods between Gandhian agitations, which involved just a few lakhs of India's 500 million people. One lakh people joined the Quit India movement of 1942, but 25 lakh others joined the British Indian army to fight for the Empire's glory. Blimps cited this as evidence that most Indians simply wanted jobs and a decent life. The Raj built the biggest railway and canal networks in the world. It said most Indians were satisfied with economic development, and that independence was demanded by a noisy minority. This is uncomfortably similar to the official Indian response to the Kashmiri demand for azaadi. Let me not exaggerate. Indian rule in Kashmir is not classical colonialism. India has pumped vast sums into Kashmir, not extracted revenue as the Raj did. Kashmir was among the poorest states during the Raj, but now has the lowest poverty rate in India. It enjoys wide civil rights that the Raj never gave. Some elections — 1977, 1983 and 2002 — were perfectly fair. India has sought integration with Kashmir, not colonial rule. But Kashmiris nevertheless demand azaadi. And ruling over those who resent it so strongly for so long is quasi-colonialism, regardless of our intentions. We promised Kashmiris a plebiscite six decades ago. Let us hold one now, and give them three choices: independence, union with Pakistan, and union with India. Almost certainly the Valley will opt for independence. Jammu will opt to stay with India, and probably Ladakh too. Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India and Pakistan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Sea of People Demanding Freedom at Eidgah

On August 22nd, 2008 more than a million people belonging to all religious sects including Shias, Sunnis, Ahli-hadeesis, Hamblis etc irrespective of their religious school of thought converged en-masse at Eidgah grounds, Srinagar breaking all barriers to offer Friday prayers jointly, pray for the success of ongoing peoples’ movement and protest against the nefarious designs of communal forces of Jammu and their actions of enforcing economic blockade and atrocities against muslims besides attempting to grab the land near Amarnath Cave. This gathering that saw Eidgah getting jam-packed to its full capacity should serve as an eye-opener for the government of India that had started believing that they have succeeded in crushing the genuine voice of the people of Kashmir by blatantly misusing its military might and resorting to massacres of lakhs of Kashmiris during the past twenty years of their struggle.
Even when I am writing this blog, attempts are on at Jammu to transfer land even greater in area than before to SASB. Talks are on between advisors of the Governor and representatives of the AYSS. In case govt. once again reinvokes its orders after revoking it once, that will be the biggest blunder on its part, sufficient enough to tell the Kashmiris that “We don’t care what you want, how many of you die and how many massive protests you hold; you don’t mean anything to us and we don’t care whether you are happy with us or alienated further”. In case land is transferred back to SASB, those mainstream leaders who proclaim their symapathy with Kashmiris every now and then should resign from their membership of Indian Parliament forthwith and join the masses in their freedom struggle. Is not shameful and humiliating for them that they are not even being consulted or taken into confidence before making any move of re-transfer of forest land to SASB.
It is time when separatists should shun their worn out rhetoric of providing all necessary facilities to Amarnath Pilgrims and allowing it in its present tone and tenure. Since government has cleary shown that it doesn't care even a fig for Kashmir and Kashmiris and doesn't even mind killing them in groups to curb the current uprising, we should sound alert about the deteriorating ecology at Amarnath due to movement of lakhs of pilgrims for a prolonged period of two months. It is time we should resort to social boycot of all biased and jaundiced Indian media channels apart from Jammu products. In case mainstream policiticians of the valley care the least for Kashmiris, they should come out openly in support of the mass movement and declare the public verdict on every platform.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Discrimination at its Best

This picture published by the Daily, "Rising Kashmir" (Courtesy Mir Imran) on August 21st, 2008 showing hooligans and rioters in Jammu pelting stones at Jammu and Kashmir Police (not in pic) as paramilitary CRPF personnel act as mute spectators to the whole event and enjoy the friendly match. This picture says a thousand words and reflects the real face of government apathy and inaction at Jammu against hindu hooligans whereas in Kashmir these very CRPF troopers shower bullets on peaceful protestors and massacre them in large numbers without any second thoughts. Is this what Jammu people decry as "Discrimination" against them ? These very rioters on August 20th, 2008 attacked several government buildings, damaged numerous vehicles and even torched many police posts without any retaliation from police. The reason cited towards this police inaction by a senior police official was that these rioters carry national flags and do not demand secession from India. BJP leader L.K. Advani declared these rioters as nationalists and all Kashmiris as secessionists, hence bullets for the latter and support for the former. This is frustation and discrimination at its best.

And India pampers Kashmir!

And India pampers Kashmir! (Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. August 21st, 2008)
M.M. Naqashbandi

It is in response to the article published in Times of India, 6 Aug 2008, titled Kashmiri traders to boycott Jammu productsIt pains one to read most of the comments here. How the people's mind can be poisoned by politicians is really unbelievable. Still, however, to set the records straight let it be known that Kashmir is not dependent on India, instead it has been made so by India. I would request all the sane people in India, and I know there are numberless of them, to consider following points before turning jingoistic.
1. If India wants to boycott Kashmiri goods, they surely can but the boycott should be complete. Please don't boycott the apples and shawls from Kashmir only, boycott the power/electricity that is generated in Kashmir and wired across, rather pilfered across to whole of India. You would be surprised to know that this boycott of yours can save Kashmir thousands of crores of rupees. I'm sure Indian media never aired that to the Indian public! Economists are of the opinion that if only electricity generated in Kashmir is retained in Kashmir and sold without hanky-panky, Kashmir can become like Singapore in no time. Besides Kashmir has tourism industry, agriculture industry, horticulture industry and many other such strong industries. There are many countries around the world that have only one of these industries and they are doing very well, infact much better than India. Kashmir has the potential to become Singapore of south-Asia if not discriminated against, or without mincing words, if "boycotted" by India and, given Independence.
2. Yes, India has pampered us a lot. We have been made to import even an egg from India, crippling our local economy. Our paddy lands which were verdant at a time have concrete structure atop now, this despite so-called laws against such conversion. And for all this thanks to India. What a ploy to cripple a colony and then turn it into a market to sell goods made in India. Brits did the same to India and that is not an old history. For those who think this is an exaggeration here is just a tip of the iceberg: The revenue India gets from an insignificant product like cigarette in Kashmir per day is one crore Rupees. Consider all the goods that India sells in its colony, Kashmir, and you understand why Kashmir is so important to India.
3. Please stop taking benefits from Indus Water Treaty, as India has reaped a lot owing to this anti-Kashmir treaty with Pakistan. Kashmiris request you to boycott Kashmir and Kashmiri goods, but let the boycott be complete. You may also ask your eight hundred thousand armed army men to boycott Kashmir as well. What say? That might as well reduce the number of Indians dying of hunger or the number of poor farmers committing suicide.
4. Rhetoric aside, one fails to understand what the Jammuites are asking for. Which land? Doesn't Jammu and Kashmir after all belong to all living in Jammu and Kashmir? Why do 800 kanals of land need to be transferred to SASB, when Yatris are already using 1000s of kanals of land. Kashmiri Muslims have never been against yatra, instead they have always been instrumental in facilitating it. Why suddenly (around election time!) has there been a need to transfer the land to a Board that doesn't have even a single Kashmiri Hindu on it? Something is surely fishy here. And for those who feel Kashmiris are against Yatra, the unprecedented number of yatris who visited the Amarnath Shrine this year should act as an eye-opener. I repeat, the number is unprecedented!
5. For those who pretend sense of History and ask for scrapping Article 370, should go to the roots of the conflict and realise that the promise the first Prime Minister of India J.L. Nehru made publicly to the Kashmiri nation (video available on google) whereby the future of Kashmir was to be determined in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, has never been fulfilled by the Indian state. Would the sane Indians, known to keep their promises no matter what, break the tradition in the case of Kashmir? Or has the Indian nation assigned the slogan "jaan jaye par wachan na jaye" to trash bin?
The list of injustices done to Kashmiris, particularly Kashmiri Muslims is endless. To substantiate this a common Indian citizen can just ask him/herself a simple question: Why have Kashmiris not accepted India even after more than 60 years that too when, according to Indian public, Kashmiris are pampered? Why?