Monday, February 28, 2011

*Geelani Wants Kashmir To Be A Graveyard?* We’ll Never Become Part Of Pakistan* India Must Accept NC’s Autonomy Proposal*

At Sheikh’s mausoleum, Farooq hits left, right and centre
*Geelani Wants Kashmir To Be A Graveyard?* We’ll Never Become Part Of Pakistan* India Must Accept NC’s Autonomy Proposal* Mustafa Kamal Should Exercise Restraint
FAHEEM ASLAM



Srinagar, Dec 5: In a scathing attack on the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah Sunday accused the senior separatist leader of “wanting Kashmir to be a graveyard and in ruins.” He reiterated that Kashmir shall never become a part of Pakistan and that India must accept the party’s “autonomy proposal” as a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I want to ask Geelani that which Kashmir he wants. The Kashmir of graveyards and ruins?” Farooq said, speaking in the backdrop of the recent unrest in the Valley which led to killing of over 100 civilians. “Hartals, stone-pelting and burning down school buses only cause destruction and poverty. It is not going to work. In the past five months, the levels of poverty in Jammu and Kashmir have increased while other states continued to flourish and prosper.”

In a typical colloquial lingo, Farooq charged Geelani with “having chicken soup while depriving the people of green vegetables.” “The poor grew poorer due to hartals and stone-pelting in the recent months. The vendors suffered immensely. The schools remained shut. I want to ask people how their children would compete with their counterparts in Jammu and other states with schools shut?” he questioned.

Farooq didn’t stop there. “I have been saying this and I repeat. I remember I once visited Jamia Masjid here when Miwaiz Moulana Muhammad Farooq was alive. I said there that Kashmir can never become a part of Pakistan. India is not ready to leave an inch of Kashmir.”

He said India cannot develop Kashmir until Kashmiris participated in the process of development. “Just think where we are heading toward,” he told a gathering of hundreds of National Conference supporters, who had assembled at Sheikh’s graveyard to observe his 105th birth anniversary.

“We have to fight the elements who don’t want peace in Jammu and Kashmir. If you won’t do it, we will continue to remain poor and undeveloped. Our children won’t find a space anywhere,” he said.

Without naming any separatist, Farooq said: “They send their children for studies to Malaysia and America but deprive others of studies. I wish I could see how Geelani would respond on this before God Almighty on the Day of Judgment. He (Geelani) has the chicken soup while depriving the people of even green vegetables.”

Urging people to “introspect”, Farooq said they need better roads, water supply and electricity. “But you must think on how all these things are going to come amid shutdowns and stone-pelting. I want you (people) to understand that the government employees didn’t suffer due to unrest. They got their salaries in time. It is you who suffer,” he said

Farooq said hoopla vis-à-vis Kashmir was created over the US President, Barrack Obama’s visit to New Delhi recently. “It was presumed as if the solution to Kashmir has come. But Obama is back to America and Kashmir is where it was,” he said. “We have been hearing such a talk for the past 60 years. How long shall we continue to suffer? The only way out is that India must accept our autonomy proposal as a solution to the Kashmir issue. The rest is all a bundle of lies.”

Grappling to name the Peoples Democratic Party, Farooq said “that lady” (Mehbooba Mufti) just beats the drum of self rule. “But which self rule did they get when they were in power?” he asked. “I have been saying that if there is any solution other than autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir issue, it must be told to the public and should be acceptable to them. They (PDP) raised the pitch over the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), but were not able to do it. Now they just issue statements from their courtyards.”

He asked his brother and senior NC leader, Mustafa Kamal, to “exercise restraint” while issuing statements. “We are in a coalition government. I want to tell Kamal that he must not issue undue statements which are deemed to have been issued by me. I want him to remain cautious because PDP is waiting for such opportunities to corner the government. They are waiting to take over the charge of the state. So our leaders will have to talk sense,” Farooq said. “Don’t give Soz (Professor Saifuddin) a chance to run to Delhi and say that all is not well with the coalition. Nothing will happen. The government will complete its full term and the promises made to the people shall be fulfilled.”

Farooq urged people to get ready for a “litmus test.” “You should be ready for the Panchayat elections. You must field the honest candidates. It is a different thing whether they would be honest at the end of the day or not. Women must also field candidates who are able to raise their issues,” he said. “The elections will have to be held soon. I suppose Omar Abdullah has already made it public that they would be held in January next.”

He asked the National Conference workers and activists “not to fear anything.” “Life and death is up to God,” he said. “So we must not fear anything. The past unrest has brought Kashmir to a grinding halt. The ponnywals, hoteliers, shikara runners all suffered. It brought us a bad name. This time a Kashmiri is finding it difficult to get accommodation in other states. The people there fear that he (Kashmiri) might drop a bomb. Geelani and Hurriyat leaders must see to this situation also,” he said, asking the National Conference leaders to “at least listen to the peoples’ grievances even if they can’t address them always.”

Farooq minced no words in showering praise on his son, Omar Abdullah. “He is fighting. It is his courage that he has been talking about the revocation of the Disturbed Areas Act and the AFSPA. Who has this courage?” he said. “There are forces which are bent upon demolishing National Conference. But as long as our flag will unfurl, we will continue to work for the welfare of the people.”

Farooq asked people to remain cautious of forces who are for ‘disintegration of Jammu and Kashmir.’ “We will have to pray that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladkah remain united,” he said.

Farooq asked people to “remain alert” to what is happening around. “Different developmental works are being undertaken. You will have to be alert whether the cement used in these works is okay or not. Most of the cement is sold in the market. And that is what is happening with our ration, which is being sold in black in the markets. So you will have to keep a check on this.”

Farooq said the National Conference leaders must understand certain things. “They must not feel that they can do anything while being in the government. That is not the case. Those days are over,” he said.

Senior National Conference, Congress leaders and government and police functionaries attended the function. Three-tier security had been put in place around Sheikh Abdullah’s graveyard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

J-K Assembly session begins on Monday

J-K Assembly session begins on Monday

Agencies
Tags : J-K Assembly, Abdullah government, Chaman Lal Gupta, PDP, BJP
Posted: Sun Feb 27 2011, 17:02 hrs
Jammu:

The Budget session of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly begins on Monday with the Opposition parties prepared to grill Omar Abdullah government on issues of governance and security including alleged human rights violations and discrimination with Jammu region.


While opposition parties like PDP, BJP and Panthers Party have formulated their strategy to corner Omar government, the ruling National Conference has held a meeting of its MLAs under the chairmanship of party chief Farooq Abdullah to decide a line of action to defend the government on the floor of the House.



Leader of BJP Legislature Party Chaman Lal Gupta said the party will raise the issue of treatment meted out to its national leaders- Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley as well as BJP MLAs- by the state government during the "Ekta Yatra".

Ladakh council adopts new emblem replacing J-K logo - Hindustan Times

Ladakh council adopts new emblem replacing J-K logo - Hindustan Times

Ladakh council adopts new emblem replacing J-K logo
Press Trust Of India
Leh, February 27, 2011

The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) has decided to adopt an insignia similar to the national emblem by replacing the Jammu and Kashmir's logo, drawing a sharp reaction from PDP

which said it was "unfortunate". In a unanimous resolution in this regard passed last week, the council

adopted the symbol with the Ashoka Pillar which almost resembles the national emblem.


An LAHDC councillor said the decision was taken so as to give the emblem a more national look. Jammu and Kashmir has its own flag and emblem.

The councillor said the inclusion of the new logo will help in promoting the hill council as a unique political dispensation for the people of Ladakh.

Reacting to the issue, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said his government will take a decision after examining the matter.

"We are examining the issue. After all, it is a local municipality. Even the Srinagar municipality has a different emblem. We will examine the manner and take a decision," Omar told PTI.

Opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) termed the move to discard the state emblem by LAHDC as "unfortunate".

"PDP will fight any attempt to dilute the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution. Leh is part of the state. The emblem controversy is unfortunate," PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said.

She claimed ruling National Conference has bartered away all the state's financial resources and institutions and there was need "to protect the unique identity of the state".

Mehbooba also said the PDP is fully behind the Private Member's bill planned to be tabled by party MLA from Bandipora Nizamuddin Bhat for hoisting the state flag alongside the tricolour.

The 32-member LAHDC also passed a resolution for inclusion of Bodhi language in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution without any opposition.


Yogi 16 minutes ago

How ironic! The Kashmiri politicians don't tire of whining and haranguing about 'self-determination' for themselves! Obviously their love for self-determination does not extend to anyone beyond themselves, and when the Ladakhis are beginning to exercise their own free will these very politicians have resorted to whining again!

Bhat 13 hours ago

About time. Ladakh was forcibly joined to Jammu & Kashmir during British/Dogra days. It is totally distinct from both Kashmir and Jammu. It is best for it to become a separate state and this is the first step towards that. Jammu should also be separate from Kashmir. Both Ladakh and Jammu have suffered negatively due to the tensions in Kashmir Valley. It was a silly union in the first place by the British/Dogras which brought these 3 totally different people together into one state.

sid 13 hours ago

Heads UP to Ladakh council, Ladakh has a separate identity and Kasmiri nuts cannot hijack that from Ladakh. Well done Ladakh.

Map of Jammu Kashmir




Separatist leaders write to J&K interlocutors, say 'no' Randeep Singh Nandal, TNN

Separatist leaders write to J&K interlocutors, say 'no'
Randeep Singh Nandal, TNN

 

SRINAGAR: A one-page letter from separatist leader Shabbir Shah to the central interlocutors on Friday declining an invitation to talks — the first and only official contact with separatists — has sent a wave of excitement here.

Even if it's to say 'no', the separatists have finally established contact with the team, say observers.

In the letter, written on the official letterhead of his party, Jammu & Kashmir Freedom Party, Shah has expressed his inability to talk to the central team as long as major demands like troops reduction, release of prisoners, etc, are not met.

Pretty standard stuff, but still, it led to a flutter of excitement among the interlocutors who consider this a breakthrough. The reasons are not difficult to fathom. In the next two weeks, the central team of Dileep Padgoankar, M Ansari and Radha Kumar, will submit their interim report to the central government, on a political settlement in Kashmir.

But the report has a yawning gap. As it stood, it would have been without any input whatsoever, suggestion or opinion or even opposition, from the entire separatist camp. The team has not been able to engage with either
faction of the Hurriyat.

So, who have they engaged with in their visits to the state? The official press release gives the list that includes, "mainstream political parties, RTI and human rights activists, writers, stone-pelters, doctors, journalists, social and cultural organizations, trade unionists and chairpersons of human rights and women's
commission."

No mention of the Hurriyat, despite the team's climb down, from initially saying they would not go uninvited to talk to anyone, to sending emails to the separatist camp asking for their views.

But that's just half the story, the Hurriyat itself is hopelessly divided, On Saturday, the JKLF's Yasin Malik sat on a one-day hunger strike for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, but the hot topic of conversation was Shabbir Shah's letter to the interlocutors, a break from the decision of the Hurriyat moderates to defer any decision till the chairman Mirwaiz Omer Farooq returned to Srinagar.

Also reflected in the speeches made was the unease within the moderates at losing space to mainstream parties in Kashmir, as both the ruling National Conference as well as the opposition PDP have of late been stressing on their own autonomy and self-rule formulas.

The contours of both proposals are strikingly similar to what many in the moderate Hurriyat camp privately agree as the only solution to the Kashmir issue.

Under stress from this flank, the moderates have another headache — an increasing pressure to unify with Syed Ali Shah Geelani's hardline Hurriyat faction.

"I have never been part of any meaningless exercise, why are you flogging us with the unity lash?" said the senior moderate Hurriyat leader, Prof Abdul Gani Bhatt, in a recent statement.

If the moderates are confused, the situation for Geelani, isn't any better. For a leader who for many years worked on the sole agenda of Kashmir's merger with Pakistan as the solution to the Kashmir isuue, Geelani is now having to deal with fact that for many Kashmiri youth, Pakistan isn't a very attractive proposition. In the summer unrest of 2010, pro-Pakistan slogans were conspicuous by their absence.

Sources close to the interlocutors say they believe this is is the reason why the Hurriyat camp is avoiding contact. "What will they say? They have no unity, no framework that they agree on. All they have are slogans," they say.

But, then, the interlocutors aren't making much headway with the state government either, despite repeatedly making recommendations for the release of stone-pelters, they have to watch impassively as the state government, alarmed by intelligence reports, has actually stepped up the arrest of stone-pelters in the past month.

On the key recommendation of troops reduction and a re-evaluation of laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, they have again met with resistance from the defence ministry.




riot (USA)
10 hrs ago (07:34 AM)
The only possible solution is to allow people who want to be with Pakistan to move and settle there... its even better to provide them some money to vacate our land so that we all can live peacefully... forget swapping of lands or heck even sharing power/administration over kashmir...

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Santosh Kumar (Mumbai) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:29 AM)
Freedom from whom? Kashmir is a part of India. It's not different than any other state in India. You people have displaced Kashmiri pandits and other Hindus from their home. Shabbir Shah, Geelani should be deported to Pakistan.One more division of India in the name of religion is unacceptable.

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Sunil (Bangalore) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:37 AM)
Even Pakistan did not deserve freedom...let alone Kashmir...How about giving freedom to Sindh? A beggar's wishes never ends after all...

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Harshad (U.S.A.)
6 hrs ago (11:54 AM)
Kashmir being one of the state of India as per democracy only Kashmiris are electing their representative to run their state like any other states of India Just forget religious devide of the state same as any other state in India. If Kamiris run the state like any other state of India than Kashmir is a free state not an ocupied by India If some people do not want to participate in election than they are cowards they do not deserve to be leader. there is no restriction for Kasmiris to look for job or to do bussiness in India like any other people of India. Appears to be some kasmiri politicians want to suppress their own people not accepting democracy and rule kamiris like middle eastern or pakistani decetors

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Sangram Singh Rana replies to Naveed
9 hrs ago (08:33 AM)
Either you have not read my comments properly, or you could not understand the comments. Once again, for plebiscite to happen, as per the UN resolution, as a pre-condition Pakistan must withdraw it's troops completely from POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). Pakistan NEVER agreed to do so. Communist China claims their occupied part as a part of it's territory. Hence For plebiscite, both China and Pakistan have to fulfill their obligations, which they don't want to do. Moreover, under the changed demographic conditions, it would be unfair to hold plebiscite, as Pakistan has deliberately settled huge non-Kashmiri population in their occupied part to change the demography. Therefore, you can not blame India for not holding the plebiscite. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the Shias from Kargil, Hindus from Jammu and Buddhists from Ladakh form majorities in those areas and form about 90% of the geographic area of he State and are staunchly pro-Indian. The problem only lies with the small Kashmir valley (about 10% of the geographical area of the State) which a few months ago came out ( about 60% Voter turnout) in large numbers in spite of appeals by separatists for boycott and threats of life by terrorists. If Pakistan stops interference in the State, the problem will cease to exist. Pakistan being an Islamic State can not give it a right to claim Kashmir, as India has more Muslims than the whole population of Pakistan. Kashmir being a part of India is a test for it being secular.

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PANDIT (NCR snagar)
11 hrs ago (06:45 AM)
Kashmir, just as the 160 million Indian Muslims, is an INTEGRAL part of India. There is NOTHING to negotiate about this. Kashmir has belonged to Hindus for 1000s of years. Important branches of Hinduism have originated from Kashmir, some holiest of the holy Hindu Pilgrimage places are in Kashmir, as the most important Hindu scripts have originated from Kashmir. We have never invited Muslims here. Though Parsis, Syrian Christians and Jews have found prosperity and acceptance here. Ahmadiyas, Bohras, Sufis and Bahais, though often not accepted in many muslim countries, flourish here. If the muslims in Kashmir are unhappy here then they are free to go elsewhere.

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Sangram Singh Rana (New Delhi) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:33 AM)
The State of Jammu and Kashmir consists of Hindus (dogras), Buddhists, Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims. The Hindus are in a majority in Jammu region, the Buddhists are in a majority in Ladakh region, the Shias are in a majority in Kargil region and the Sunnis are in a majority in the Kashmir valley. Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil form slightly larger than 90% of the geographical area of the State. The Hindus, Buddhists and Shias are hardcore pro-Indian and staunchly oppose independence option or Pakistan option. The Sunnis in the valley are concentrated in the small valley are the people who are agitating since the last two decades. Various Surveys conducted by independent foreign agencies have indicated that about 60% of the Sunnis are pro-Indian, about 30% of the Sunnis are pro-independence and about 10% are pro-Pakistan. Under these circumstances, India has always been confident that it can win any plebiscite in the State, but the problem lies in Pakistan occupied State, where the demography has been completely altered as a large percentage of non-Kashmiris have been settled in that region. In Indian part, article 370 of the constitution prevents any non-Kashmiri to settle in the state and Indians from other States can not buy any property in that State. Hence the problem is in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and China occupied Kashmir. Also, as per UN resolutions, as a precondition of plebiscite, Pakistan must withdraw it's army from Kashmir, which Pakistan has never agreed to do.

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Dilip (Delhi) replies to prince
6 hrs ago (12:14 PM)
Yes, Kashmir belongs to us. Not to foreign settlers from Central Asia or Iran who don't even have Kashmiri names or even follow Kashmir's native culture or religion. you have to be a Kashmiri to claim Kashmir as your own. Just like you have to an Arab Muslim to claim Mecca, got it Prince?

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Patriot (USA) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:32 AM)
lol first as a country 'Pakistan' needs to develop some freedom and dignity... beggars cant demand anything... reality check pls b4 bothering to air ur views

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True Indian (Shanghai) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:35 AM)
They are just Hippocratic, who use foreign money to instigate the poor boys for stone pelting. Why dont they fight election and prove that they are true representatives of Kashmiri People. ?? Last time so many seperatist leaders fought elections and all of them lost ?? How can they claim to be representative if they have lost in elections..?? Our Govt. is taking stupid steps by talking to them

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Suman Mukherjee (Singapore / India)
10 hrs ago (07:32 AM)
It has been stretched a bit too far. Everybody knows there is only one feasible solution for Kashmir - complete, unconditional annexation with India. Well, having said that I, personally, have no opposition to Kashmir being granted independence by India with simultaneous independence granted to Gilgit and Baltistan by Pakistan and Aksai Chin by China and reunification of Kashmir. BUT that is practical by no means, as neither Pakistan nor China has shown the slightest intention to do their part of the deal. Also, if peoples' referendum is what Kashmiris vow on, they should respect the same in Jammu and Ladakh, neither of which regions will want to be a part of "independent" Kashmir. So, the only realistic possibility is that Indian Kashmir assimilates with the rest of India. To be able to do so, Indian govt needs to recognize the menace done by these separatists working day and night in the Valley. By referring to them as "leaders" Indian govt and newspapers are equally culpable to the crime of measuring all Kashmiris by the same yardstick - that they are essentially separatists. Why give them that recognition? Why can't we, for once, be smart and either secretly annihilate these "leaders" or publicly expose them and their camouflaged intentions. Congress, which has the Tehelka, NDTV and a dozen other news media on its payroll doesn't need me to tell them how to do that, does it? They have done it so many times with the hapeless BJP leaders.

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kishore (Florida )
2 hrs ago (04:04 PM)
Two catastrophic mistakes were made that has caused this whole J&K imbroglio to remian unresolved. The first was Nehru's decision to refer the matter to the UN and accepting its decision to hold a plebiscite. Completely unnecessary and uncalled for. He might as well have agreed to rescind the independence of India. The second mistake was Indira Gandhi being seduced by Bhutto into signing the Shimla declaration which he had no intention of honoring but got the freedom of Paki POWs and the return of all captured territory. India got nothing in return. Gandhi had the opportunity to end Pakistani pretensions to J&K once and for all and she blew it. Now the next lot of Nehru-Gandhis are at it again. They are trying to negotiate with separatists who refuse to participate in elections as they fear being exposed as emperors without clothes. A solution will be found once India gets rids of its obsession with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

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unicorn (bnglr)
6 hrs ago (12:15 PM)
like thousand of online terrorists on TOI in their unsuccessfull attempts to ceate conflicts in india, the separitists in kashmir, and the hurriyat are recieving dunding and advices from the these foul pakis. they will never ever be successfull.we r rich and we will richent he kashmiris who wil never ever even think of talking with in slum thiieves pak.all pakis disagreeing me,my challenge is wait n see forever ur failure..

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Sangram Singh Rana replies to Naveed
8 hrs ago (10:06 AM)
I have already answered your questions on plebiscite separately. Now to answer your other questions - Terrorists from Pakistan murdered and ethnically cleansed out almost all non-Muslims from the valley. Most terrorists (thousands in number) were destroyed. Unfortunately, as a collateral damage some innocent Kashmiris too got killed. But when insurgency happens, such collateral damages too happen, as they are currently happening in KP/Balochistan now and in 1971 in Banladesh (as per reports from Dhaka, 3 million civilians were murdered by Pakistani troops in one year). Your second question about size of troops - Pakistan is singularly obsessed with Kashmir right from 1947, when Jinnah sent tribal Lashkar mixed with army personnel in civilian clothing to invade, occupy and loot Kashmir. In 1965, Ayub Khan launched Operation Gibraltar and invaded Kashmir militarily. About 10 years ago, there was Kargil intrusion and war. There was Siachen battle in the 1980s. The Chinese keep on intruding into Ladakh periodically. For security purposes, being a strategically sensitive region, India has o maintain large armed presence in Kashmir, as there are two adversaries, Pakistan and China, apart from a few hundred armed terrorists. Thirdly, stop calling secular India as Hindu India, as we have 4 states where Christians are in a majority, 1 state where Sikhs are in majority and 1 state where Muslims are in majority. In India our Muslim population is larger then the population of Pakistan.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to prince
6 hrs ago (12:08 PM)
you in which land ? where the heck are you from ? Jupiter ?

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richard dias (Chembur, Bombay)
2 hrs ago (04:01 PM)
Struggle is a part of life but how long it can remain meaningless? There are people in Kashmir who wants into be a part of Pakistan. Will it given any freedom to people of Kashmir when it cannot face its own militants? The question of remaining free. Kashmir doesn't have agricultural fields needed to produce food for the people living there. Kashmir's future is with India. Settle the issues of difference soon. It would help the youth of Kashmir more than any one else. They don't have to lose their youth in an useless battle to become useless old people.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to prince
5 hrs ago (12:22 PM)
and you are begsterd is it ?

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Naveed replies to Santosh Kumar
10 hrs ago (07:58 AM)
Freedom of Kashmir means from Hindu_India forces of 1 Million in Kashmir. It is freedom from India and Pakistan.

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Naveed replies to Sangram Singh Rana
10 hrs ago (07:55 AM)
If Majority is with India then why is India afraid of free and fair plebiscite. They can make that offer to the world, win the plebiscite in J&K and come out ahead. Why has India killed over 100,000 Kashmiris since 1989 if Majority is with them You passionate plea and the ground situation do not go together. Whenever, pro-independence leaders call for strike the entire valley is shut down despite India having stationed over 1 million in military, para-military and police. I find it difficult to accept that if Majority supports India why has India stationed over 1 Million forces in a population of 6 Million? Why does India shoot at protesters? Don't they have right to protest and demand equal rights? Majority of Indian Hindus do not value the life of Kashmiris, yes they do care about the geographical territory of Kashmir. From Majority Hindu_Indian perspective 6 million could die or could be killed, they care less! It is unconscionable, immoral, illegal and illogical for Hindu_India to continue enslavement of Kashmiri people.

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swamivas (Hong Kong)
9 hrs ago (09:03 AM)
A WELCOME MOVE! Opening up the ground leading to bringing to limelight the hidden hide-outs of such organizations with separatist agenda should be in the right direction though placing too much hope for a breakthrough could be a misplaced notion!

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Naveed (USa)
11 hrs ago (06:57 AM)
Shabbir Shah and Geelani are the true leaders of Kashmir. Kashmiris need freedom and dignity like other communities in the world.

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Bharatbal (Greater Hindusthan) replies to Akthar Hussein
2 hrs ago (03:34 PM)
I,Dilip and Patriot belong to one mother called Greater Hindusthan. I m unsure to which land you belong. if you mean u dont belong here better leave my motherland.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to Naveed
6 hrs ago (11:40 AM)
Geelani is a separatist who strongly supports Kashmir's integration with Pakistan ... you having said in an earlier comment that Geelani is a true leader of Kashmiris how can u say now that freedom is sought from Pak ; and does it mean that you are abandoning fellow Kashmiris who are under Pakistani occupation in POK ?

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riot (USA)
10 hrs ago (07:34 AM)
The only possible solution is to allow people who want to be with Pakistan to move and settle there... its even better to provide them some money to vacate our land so that we all can live peacefully... forget swapping of lands or heck even sharing power/administration over kashmir...

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Santosh Kumar (Mumbai) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:29 AM)
Freedom from whom? Kashmir is a part of India. It's not different than any other state in India. You people have displaced Kashmiri pandits and other Hindus from their home. Shabbir Shah, Geelani should be deported to Pakistan.One more division of India in the name of religion is unacceptable.

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Sunil (Bangalore) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:37 AM)
Even Pakistan did not deserve freedom...let alone Kashmir...How about giving freedom to Sindh? A beggar's wishes never ends after all...

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Harshad (U.S.A.)
6 hrs ago (11:54 AM)
Kashmir being one of the state of India as per democracy only Kashmiris are electing their representative to run their state like any other states of India Just forget religious devide of the state same as any other state in India. If Kamiris run the state like any other state of India than Kashmir is a free state not an ocupied by India If some people do not want to participate in election than they are cowards they do not deserve to be leader. there is no restriction for Kasmiris to look for job or to do bussiness in India like any other people of India. Appears to be some kasmiri politicians want to suppress their own people not accepting democracy and rule kamiris like middle eastern or pakistani decetors

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Sangram Singh Rana replies to Naveed
9 hrs ago (08:33 AM)
Either you have not read my comments properly, or you could not understand the comments. Once again, for plebiscite to happen, as per the UN resolution, as a pre-condition Pakistan must withdraw it's troops completely from POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). Pakistan NEVER agreed to do so. Communist China claims their occupied part as a part of it's territory. Hence For plebiscite, both China and Pakistan have to fulfill their obligations, which they don't want to do. Moreover, under the changed demographic conditions, it would be unfair to hold plebiscite, as Pakistan has deliberately settled huge non-Kashmiri population in their occupied part to change the demography. Therefore, you can not blame India for not holding the plebiscite. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the Shias from Kargil, Hindus from Jammu and Buddhists from Ladakh form majorities in those areas and form about 90% of the geographic area of he State and are staunchly pro-Indian. The problem only lies with the small Kashmir valley (about 10% of the geographical area of the State) which a few months ago came out ( about 60% Voter turnout) in large numbers in spite of appeals by separatists for boycott and threats of life by terrorists. If Pakistan stops interference in the State, the problem will cease to exist. Pakistan being an Islamic State can not give it a right to claim Kashmir, as India has more Muslims than the whole population of Pakistan. Kashmir being a part of India is a test for it being secular.

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PANDIT (NCR snagar)
11 hrs ago (06:45 AM)
Kashmir, just as the 160 million Indian Muslims, is an INTEGRAL part of India. There is NOTHING to negotiate about this. Kashmir has belonged to Hindus for 1000s of years. Important branches of Hinduism have originated from Kashmir, some holiest of the holy Hindu Pilgrimage places are in Kashmir, as the most important Hindu scripts have originated from Kashmir. We have never invited Muslims here. Though Parsis, Syrian Christians and Jews have found prosperity and acceptance here. Ahmadiyas, Bohras, Sufis and Bahais, though often not accepted in many muslim countries, flourish here. If the muslims in Kashmir are unhappy here then they are free to go elsewhere.

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Sangram Singh Rana (New Delhi) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:33 AM)
The State of Jammu and Kashmir consists of Hindus (dogras), Buddhists, Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims. The Hindus are in a majority in Jammu region, the Buddhists are in a majority in Ladakh region, the Shias are in a majority in Kargil region and the Sunnis are in a majority in the Kashmir valley. Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil form slightly larger than 90% of the geographical area of the State. The Hindus, Buddhists and Shias are hardcore pro-Indian and staunchly oppose independence option or Pakistan option. The Sunnis in the valley are concentrated in the small valley are the people who are agitating since the last two decades. Various Surveys conducted by independent foreign agencies have indicated that about 60% of the Sunnis are pro-Indian, about 30% of the Sunnis are pro-independence and about 10% are pro-Pakistan. Under these circumstances, India has always been confident that it can win any plebiscite in the State, but the problem lies in Pakistan occupied State, where the demography has been completely altered as a large percentage of non-Kashmiris have been settled in that region. In Indian part, article 370 of the constitution prevents any non-Kashmiri to settle in the state and Indians from other States can not buy any property in that State. Hence the problem is in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and China occupied Kashmir. Also, as per UN resolutions, as a precondition of plebiscite, Pakistan must withdraw it's army from Kashmir, which Pakistan has never agreed to do.

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Dilip (Delhi) replies to prince
6 hrs ago (12:14 PM)
Yes, Kashmir belongs to us. Not to foreign settlers from Central Asia or Iran who don't even have Kashmiri names or even follow Kashmir's native culture or religion. you have to be a Kashmiri to claim Kashmir as your own. Just like you have to an Arab Muslim to claim Mecca, got it Prince?

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Patriot (USA) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:32 AM)
lol first as a country 'Pakistan' needs to develop some freedom and dignity... beggars cant demand anything... reality check pls b4 bothering to air ur views

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True Indian (Shanghai) replies to Naveed
10 hrs ago (07:35 AM)
They are just Hippocratic, who use foreign money to instigate the poor boys for stone pelting. Why dont they fight election and prove that they are true representatives of Kashmiri People. ?? Last time so many seperatist leaders fought elections and all of them lost ?? How can they claim to be representative if they have lost in elections..?? Our Govt. is taking stupid steps by talking to them

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Suman Mukherjee (Singapore / India)
10 hrs ago (07:32 AM)
It has been stretched a bit too far. Everybody knows there is only one feasible solution for Kashmir - complete, unconditional annexation with India. Well, having said that I, personally, have no opposition to Kashmir being granted independence by India with simultaneous independence granted to Gilgit and Baltistan by Pakistan and Aksai Chin by China and reunification of Kashmir. BUT that is practical by no means, as neither Pakistan nor China has shown the slightest intention to do their part of the deal. Also, if peoples' referendum is what Kashmiris vow on, they should respect the same in Jammu and Ladakh, neither of which regions will want to be a part of "independent" Kashmir. So, the only realistic possibility is that Indian Kashmir assimilates with the rest of India. To be able to do so, Indian govt needs to recognize the menace done by these separatists working day and night in the Valley. By referring to them as "leaders" Indian govt and newspapers are equally culpable to the crime of measuring all Kashmiris by the same yardstick - that they are essentially separatists. Why give them that recognition? Why can't we, for once, be smart and either secretly annihilate these "leaders" or publicly expose them and their camouflaged intentions. Congress, which has the Tehelka, NDTV and a dozen other news media on its payroll doesn't need me to tell them how to do that, does it? They have done it so many times with the hapeless BJP leaders.

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kishore (Florida )
2 hrs ago (04:04 PM)
Two catastrophic mistakes were made that has caused this whole J&K imbroglio to remian unresolved. The first was Nehru's decision to refer the matter to the UN and accepting its decision to hold a plebiscite. Completely unnecessary and uncalled for. He might as well have agreed to rescind the independence of India. The second mistake was Indira Gandhi being seduced by Bhutto into signing the Shimla declaration which he had no intention of honoring but got the freedom of Paki POWs and the return of all captured territory. India got nothing in return. Gandhi had the opportunity to end Pakistani pretensions to J&K once and for all and she blew it. Now the next lot of Nehru-Gandhis are at it again. They are trying to negotiate with separatists who refuse to participate in elections as they fear being exposed as emperors without clothes. A solution will be found once India gets rids of its obsession with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

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unicorn (bnglr)
6 hrs ago (12:15 PM)
like thousand of online terrorists on TOI in their unsuccessfull attempts to ceate conflicts in india, the separitists in kashmir, and the hurriyat are recieving dunding and advices from the these foul pakis. they will never ever be successfull.we r rich and we will richent he kashmiris who wil never ever even think of talking with in slum thiieves pak.all pakis disagreeing me,my challenge is wait n see forever ur failure..

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Sangram Singh Rana replies to Naveed
8 hrs ago (10:06 AM)
I have already answered your questions on plebiscite separately. Now to answer your other questions - Terrorists from Pakistan murdered and ethnically cleansed out almost all non-Muslims from the valley. Most terrorists (thousands in number) were destroyed. Unfortunately, as a collateral damage some innocent Kashmiris too got killed. But when insurgency happens, such collateral damages too happen, as they are currently happening in KP/Balochistan now and in 1971 in Banladesh (as per reports from Dhaka, 3 million civilians were murdered by Pakistani troops in one year). Your second question about size of troops - Pakistan is singularly obsessed with Kashmir right from 1947, when Jinnah sent tribal Lashkar mixed with army personnel in civilian clothing to invade, occupy and loot Kashmir. In 1965, Ayub Khan launched Operation Gibraltar and invaded Kashmir militarily. About 10 years ago, there was Kargil intrusion and war. There was Siachen battle in the 1980s. The Chinese keep on intruding into Ladakh periodically. For security purposes, being a strategically sensitive region, India has o maintain large armed presence in Kashmir, as there are two adversaries, Pakistan and China, apart from a few hundred armed terrorists. Thirdly, stop calling secular India as Hindu India, as we have 4 states where Christians are in a majority, 1 state where Sikhs are in majority and 1 state where Muslims are in majority. In India our Muslim population is larger then the population of Pakistan.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to prince
6 hrs ago (12:08 PM)
you in which land ? where the heck are you from ? Jupiter ?

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richard dias (Chembur, Bombay)
2 hrs ago (04:01 PM)
Struggle is a part of life but how long it can remain meaningless? There are people in Kashmir who wants into be a part of Pakistan. Will it given any freedom to people of Kashmir when it cannot face its own militants? The question of remaining free. Kashmir doesn't have agricultural fields needed to produce food for the people living there. Kashmir's future is with India. Settle the issues of difference soon. It would help the youth of Kashmir more than any one else. They don't have to lose their youth in an useless battle to become useless old people.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to prince
5 hrs ago (12:22 PM)
and you are begsterd is it ?

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Naveed replies to Santosh Kumar
10 hrs ago (07:58 AM)
Freedom of Kashmir means from Hindu_India forces of 1 Million in Kashmir. It is freedom from India and Pakistan.

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Naveed replies to Sangram Singh Rana
10 hrs ago (07:55 AM)
If Majority is with India then why is India afraid of free and fair plebiscite. They can make that offer to the world, win the plebiscite in J&K and come out ahead. Why has India killed over 100,000 Kashmiris since 1989 if Majority is with them You passionate plea and the ground situation do not go together. Whenever, pro-independence leaders call for strike the entire valley is shut down despite India having stationed over 1 million in military, para-military and police. I find it difficult to accept that if Majority supports India why has India stationed over 1 Million forces in a population of 6 Million? Why does India shoot at protesters? Don't they have right to protest and demand equal rights? Majority of Indian Hindus do not value the life of Kashmiris, yes they do care about the geographical territory of Kashmir. From Majority Hindu_Indian perspective 6 million could die or could be killed, they care less! It is unconscionable, immoral, illegal and illogical for Hindu_India to continue enslavement of Kashmiri people.

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swamivas (Hong Kong)
9 hrs ago (09:03 AM)
A WELCOME MOVE! Opening up the ground leading to bringing to limelight the hidden hide-outs of such organizations with separatist agenda should be in the right direction though placing too much hope for a breakthrough could be a misplaced notion!

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Naveed (USa)
11 hrs ago (06:57 AM)
Shabbir Shah and Geelani are the true leaders of Kashmir. Kashmiris need freedom and dignity like other communities in the world.

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Bharatbal (Greater Hindusthan) replies to Akthar Hussein
2 hrs ago (03:34 PM)
I,Dilip and Patriot belong to one mother called Greater Hindusthan. I m unsure to which land you belong. if you mean u dont belong here better leave my motherland.

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Akthar Hussein (Hyderabad) replies to Naveed
6 hrs ago (11:40 AM)
Geelani is a separatist who strongly supports Kashmir's integration with Pakistan ... you having said in an earlier comment that Geelani is a true leader of Kashmiris how can u say now that freedom is sought from Pak ; and does it mean that you are abandoning fellow Kashmiris who are under Pakistani occupation in POK ?

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Separatist-leaders-write-to-JK-interlocutors-say-no/articleshow/7584186.cms

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jammu-Srinagar highway closed for vehicular traffic - Hindustan Times

Jammu-Srinagar highway closed for vehicular traffic - Hindustan Times

Jammu-Srinagar highway closed for vehicular traffic
Press Trust Of India
Jammu, February 26, 2011
First Published: 12:24 IST(26/2/2011)
Last Updated: 12:25 IST(26/2/2011)Share
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The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was on Saturday closed for vehicular traffic following heavy snowfall and rains. "The highway is closed for traffic

due to heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal and Patnitop areas resulting
in blockade," police said.


This is the second time that the 294-km-long highway, the only surface link between the Valley and the rest of the country, has been closed in as many days.

The highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Thursday and was reopened yesterday.

As result of the closing of the highway on Saturday, over 300 vehicles, including 70 passenger vehicles, were stranded at various points of the highway, they said.

Police said Border Road Organisation men are working to clear the snow from the highway.

Rajouri-Poonch highway was also blocked due to heavy snowfall at der-ki-Gali area and efforts are on to clear the snow, they said.

The 294-km road, which often gets closed during winter, is the only route used for bringing in goods supplies, fuel and other necessary items to the Valley.

J&K cops ready for separatists’ ‘blood revenge’ call - Hindustan Times

J&K cops ready for separatists’ ‘blood revenge’ call - Hindustan Times

J&K cops ready for separatists’ ‘blood revenge’ call
Arteev Sharma, Hindustan Times
Jammu, February 26, 2011
Email to Author



Jammu and Kashmir Police are preparing for another possible “summer unrest” in Kashmir following the separatists’ slogan "khoon ka badla June main lenge” (Will avenge the blood spilt in the month of June).

At least five battalions (5000 cops) are being provided with special training to deal with stone-throwers,
rioters and violent protests in Kashmir valley. Besides ‘lathis’ (sticks), the cops are being equipped with “less lethal” and “non-lethal” weaponry.


Pump action gun, triple action teargas grenades, anti-riot guns with plastic pellets, gas guns causing inflammations, tear smoke shells thrown with hands and multi-barrel smoke shell launchers are the latest equipments procured for cops to reduce causality number and for their own safety.

The measures have been initiated keeping in mind bloody summer of 2010 when over 100 people, most of them youth, were killed while over 3000 cops had received grievous injuries, rendering scores of them unfit for jobs.

Violent protests had erupted in Kashmir after the killing of Tufail Ahmad Matoo, (17) at Rajouri Kadal on June 11, 2010. He was hit by a teargas shell at his head.

Cops, who have been specially trained for ‘anti-militancy’ operations, are also facing a new challenge of maintaining law and order with “minimum possible” damage to lives and property.

An “extensive training” is being provided to the cops at Sunjwan area, in the outskirts of Jammu city where both male and female cops are being prepared for stone-throwing and rioting incidents.

Scores of female cops, in civvies, act as protestors and shout slogans in favour of their demands. These cops throw stones on another group of female cops equipped with all weaponry and anti-riot gear. These female are being trained to deal stone throwers, without causing any casualty.

Similarly, male cops wearing ‘anti-riot gear’ are being trained for “rioting and stone-throwing” incidents so that they control the crowd in “much better” manner.

Khalid Hussain, who is getting training at Sunjwan, told HT, “We were not equipped with sufficient weapons last year but this year, we are getting special training to maintain law and order situation. We are hopeful that we will be successful in reducing human loss in near future.”

“The training is going on in a big way in Jammu as well as in Srinagar by way of reorientation courses and by way of new equipments,” Director General of Police (DGP) J&K, Kuldeep Khoda said.

He disclosed the department will be able to complete the training of five battalions in “law and order methods”, especially in the use of “non-lethal” weapons by the end of March, two months ahead of separatists’ call for “revenge”.

The Hindu : News / National : We spared no effort to reach out to separatists: J&K interlocutor

The Hindu : News / National : We spared no effort to reach out to separatists: J&K interlocutor


Srinagar, February 26, 2011
We spared no effort to reach out to separatists: J&K interlocutor
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PTI
Centre's interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir Dileep Padgaonkar (right) talks to social worker Molvi Fareed Malik after a press conference in Jammu on Wednesday.
PTI


The Centre’s interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday said they will submit their report to the Government on the Kashmir issue irrespective of whether separatists give their opinion or not.

“If we do not get inputs from the separatists, we will go ahead and submit the report (to Centre) nevertheless,” head of the three-member interlocutors team Dileep Padgaonkar told reporters at the end of their fifth visit to the State.

The interlocutors had sent letters to all separatist outfits, including both factions of Hurriyat Conference, asking them to give their inputs on resolution of Kashmir issue so that they could be incorporated in the final report to the Centre.

“We have spared no effort to reach out to the separatists. We have stretched the limits of courtesy to reach out to them but their response so far has been negative,” Mr. Padgaonkar said.

He said the team will leave it to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to judge whether the stand taken by the separatists on not meeting them was right.

In response to a question about the fate of the Kashmir Committee headed by former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, Mr. Padgaonkar said the initiative was non-official and its recommendations were not binding on the government.

“This team is official and so far our recommendations have been accepted and now these are to be implemented,” Mr. Padgaonkar, who was a member of the Jethmalani-led committee, said.

He said it was for the separatists to explain their refusal to meet the interlocutors as the team had the backing of the Government including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr. Padgaonkar said Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Ahmad Shah has responded to the letter sent to him by the team saying “such talks would be relevant and significant when draconian laws are repealed, political prisoners and youth are released, withdrawal of troops begins and persons involved in human rights violations are brought to book“.

“We urge Shah to embark on an engagement with us so that the very first point on the agenda could be the issues he has listed in his letter,” he said.

Mr. Padgaonkar said the team will be submitting an initial report to the Centre next month which will contain the recommendations and broad contours for resolution of the Kashmir issue.

On their visit to the State, Mr. Padgaonkar said there was a broad consensus among people that the political settlement has to be found only through a sustained and inclusive process of dialogue with all stake-holders, including separatists and civil society.

“Any outbreak of violence would thwart the process,” he said.

He said no single political formation of the mainstream or otherwise could claim the exclusive prerogative to speak for the people of the Valley, let alone for the people of the entire State.

Mr. Padgaonkar said there was a broad consensus on preserving the “unity and integrity of the State” while asserting the state’s “special status in the Indian Union”.

“The mainstream political parties in every region of the State would be required to evolve a consensus on political settlement and then seek a similar consensus with other regions of the State,” he said.

“The delegations we met also insisted that the situation on the ground has to change to enable the dialogue process to progress and suggested several steps,” he added.

These measures include an end to intimidation and harassment by the police and security forces, including the indiscriminate use of the Public Safety Act (PSA).

The other steps are early release of stone-pelters and political prisoners not charged with serious crimes, expediting the trial of jailed militants, bringing to book those responsible for human rights violations, redeployment of security forces and check on their special powers, corruption free governance and employment for youth.

Mr. Padgaonkar, however, said the withdrawal of army or other forces would depend on the threat perception. “Calm in a certain district does not mean threat perception has reduced,” he said.

He dismissed suggestion that there were differences between the Defence and Home Ministries on the issue of reduction of the troops in the state.

“The statement about reduction of troops has to be seen in the context of which force (paramilitary or Army) it was made. I would like to believe that MoD and MHA are on the same page,” he added.

In response to a question, he said the protests witnessed on the streets of Cairo were happening in India everyday as the country was a democracy.

“What you saw on the streets of Cairo, you see it in India everyday. India is a vibrant democracy,” he said.

He said elections are held in the country every five years and there were enough avenues for the people to air their grievances and problems.

Keywords: Public Safety Act, Kashmir issue, Centre's interlocutors

Udhampur-Qazigund rail link by 2017: Omar


Udhampur-Qazigund rail link by 2017: Omar



Jammu, Feb 25: Kashmir will be connected by the railway line with rest of the country by 2017 and Katra-the base camp of Mata Vaishnodevi shrine by 2013.

“Rail line (from Udhampur to Srinagar) date is given in 2017. Banihal-Qazigund day break this year December and line opening in 2013. Now let’s wait and see”, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a re-tweet on a review meeting of railway and national highway projects here Friday.

Taking appraisal of the status of the two projects at a high-level meeting here today, Omar further re-tweeted to say “Katra now targeted for 2013 along with Banihal”.

Chief Minister emphasized on timely completion of the railway projects to realise the cherished goal of modern and dependable communication in the state. 

The meeting was informed that the estimated cost of the project is Rs 19565 crores, of which Rs 6844 crore have been spent.

The outlay for 2010-11 is of the order of Rs 1000 crore. The 119-km Qazigund-Baramulla section with 15 stations, 63 major bridges, 748 minor bridges has been completed and commissioned.

The work on 25-km Udhampur-Katra section is on. It envisages 9 major bridges and 29 minor bridges, construction of 7 tunnels with a total length of 10.90-km and there will be three stations in this section.

The outstanding feature of construction in this stretch is an 85-meter tall pier of a bridge at Jhazzar Khad on Udhampur-Katra section which will be 13 meters taller than Qutub Minar (72 meters). This pier will form part of the largest single span of 154 meter bridge on Indian Railways.

The meeting was informed that the 129 Katra-Qazigund section of the railway project envisages construction of 9 stations, boring of 36 tunnels of the length of 105-kms.

The December 2011 is the target for boring of 11.17-km longest transportation tunnel between Banihal at Qazigund in Pir Panchal range. 

Chief Minister also reviewed the progress of 4-laning of Srinagar-Jammu highway. 

“Coordinated efforts by the state and national agencies are required to push forward construction of highway from Lakhanpur to Srinagar”, he said.

It was stated that out of the 400 KM highway project, a part of North-South corridor, 114 KM road stretch from Lakhanpur to Jammu including 15 KM Jammu Bye-pass and 17.80 KM Srinagar Bye-pass is under progress at a cost of Rs 592 crores.

The balance work from Jammu to Srinagar comprising of 6 BOT packages is under various stages of execution. The major structures in these packages include two tunnels of 9.2 KMs and 8.5 KMs length besides 12 numbers of short tunnels of 6.2 KMs length. As many as 43 major bridges and 24 viaducts are being constructed under these packages on the Jammu-Srinagar stretch of the road project.

It was stated that the work on first package unit of 67.76 KMs from Srinagar to Banihal would start in May 2011 while the work on 15.25 KMs Qazigund-Banihal tunnel constituting second package would commence in March 2011. The work on 12 KM Chenani-Nashri tunnel is on launching pad while the work on 65 KM Udhampur-Jammu road stretch would be started by March 2011. The 36 KM Banihal-Ramban stretch and 43 KM Ramban-Udhampur are under re-bidding process.

Fresh snowfall in Valley-Highway Closed, Cold Wave Back by UMER MAQBOOL DAR


Fresh snowfall in Valley-Highway Closed, Cold Wave Back by UMER MAQBOOL DAR


Srinagar, Feb 25: 

Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, experienced a fresh spell of snowfall this evening as the cold wave tightened its grip over the region. Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only road link to the Kashmir valley, was closed this evening following heavy snowfall in Jawahar tunnel area. 

The snowfall in Srinagar and other areas of the Valley followed light drizzle late afternoon, plummeting the day temperature to two degrees below normal.

Intermittent snowfall continued in the high altitude areas for the third day, resulting in a fall in night temperature which settled below freezing point in most parts of the Valley, excluding Srinagar, officials said. 

Jawahar Tunnel, gateway to Kashmir, in Pir Panjal mountain range, received another bout of heavy snowfall this evening resulting in the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway. 

“The traffic on the highway was stopped this evening following heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area,” SSP Traffic (Rural) G M Wadoo told Greater Kashmir. He said the road would remain closed tomorrow for vehicular movement.

The snow and rains resulted in cold wave conditions in the Valley as the maximum temperature in Srinagar was recorded at 7.4 degrees Celsius – two degrees below normal during this part of the season.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, director metrology Sonam Lotus said that light to moderate rainfall was recorded in plains and snow in high altitude areas of Kashmir division.

“There would be moderate to heavy snowfall at Lower Munda, Jawahar Tunnel, Patnitop areas on highway in the next 24 hours. There would be no respite as inclement weather would continue till March 2,” he said.

Meanwhile, Srinagar received 3 mm, Qazigund 9mm, Pahalgam 9 mm and Kupwara 17 mm of the rainfall in the past 24 hours. The tourist resort of Gulmarg received one feet of snow.

The minimum temperature recorded in Srinagar was 0.3 degrees Celsius, a dip of two degrees compared to the previous night, a MET office spokesman said.

However, he said Kargil in the frontier region of Ladakh was the coldest place in the state with a maximum of minus 2.0 and a minimum of minus 15.0 degrees Celsius.

Leh, also in the cold desert of Ladakh, recorded a high of 4.2 degrees Celsius and a low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

He said the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir was the coldest place in the Valley as the night temperature slipped to minus 9.5 degrees Celsius.

SHAHID RAFIQ ADDS FROM KUPWARA: Fresh snow avalanches coupled with heavy snowfall hampered the opening of arterial Chowkibal-Karnah road which remained closed for 20th consecutive day today.
The border tehsil of Karnah, with a population of nearly 80,000 souls is cut off from rest of the valley due to blockade near Sadhana Pass, where around 10 to 12 feet of snow has accumulated.

Hundreds of Karnah-bound passengers stranded at Chowkibal, Panzgam and Kupwara have demanded that alternative arrangement should be made to carry them to Tangdhar. 

“We have already airlifted around 50 stranded passengers from Kupwara to Karnah and vice versa. Those included some patients and officials,” said DDC Kupwara, Muhammad

Shafi Rather. He said that the matter regarding arranging more sorties to airlift the stranded passengers has been taken up with the government.

Official sources said landslides and snow avalanches triggered by fresh snowfall around Sadhana Pass, and adjoining areas, are hindering the opening of 100- KM road, the only link connecting Karnah with rest of the Valley.

Ladakh council discards state emblem, flag - Hindustan Times

Ladakh council discards state emblem, flag
Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu, February 26, 2011


In a development of far reaching consequence, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) has discarded the state flag and adopted the national emblem - effectively distancing itself from

the state's emblems and separatist politics. Jammu and Kashmir has its own flag and emblem. The state

secretariat both here and at Srinagar hoists two flags - the national tricolour and the state flag - while the ministers also use the two flags on their cars.


The Indian state symbol of Ashoka pillar with three visible lions has been adopted as the council's official logo. The LAHDC passed a resolution earlier this week, adopting the new emblem in which the rising sun and mountains provide a background to the Ashoka pillar.

"The national emblem of our country is now our logo. The council has already adopted it and we are now giving it final touches to ensure that it represents Ladakh's administrative set-up," said Congress leader and LAHDC councilor Tsewang Rigzin, according to a report published in a local daily Saturday.

Council sources confirmed the news. It was Rigzin who had moved the resolution for a new logo.

Rigzin, who is also a journalist, said that inclusion of the national emblem as the hill council's logo indicates that the LAHDC exists under a government act.

"Otherwise, what used to happen is that outside Ladakh, even an official letter from the hill council would often confuse whether the LAHDC is a private organisation or a democratically empowered government institution," he said.

"It was the need of the hour to ensure that people in the outside world come to know that the hill council is a unique political dispensation for people of Ladakh," the report said.


The state government officials were not available for comment.

‘azadi’-who’s is it anyway? by Deepika Bhan


 
30/10/2010
‘azadi’-who’s is it anyway? by Deepika Bhan


India is the biggest democracy in the world. The Constitution has granted the right to freedom of speech. But, when did this fundamental privilege turn into the ‘right’ to abuse the very nation that gives us so much of freedom? The recently held seminar on “Azadi- the Only Way” has left one confused. The platform of the seminar is located in the heart of the capital, Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg, just a few kilometers away from the seat of democracy, the Parliament. There on that platform some startling statements were made. Excerpts of some of them:

“CPI-Maoists unequivocally supports Kashmiri people’s struggle for azadi”

“Dal Khalsa is fighting for a separate identity of Sikh homeland; hence we give full support to ‘azadi movement in the Kashmiri”

Speaker after speaker spoke in this language. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundati Roy, Maoist leader Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights and others. Sitting pretty on the podium was Syed Ali Shah Geelani with Arundati Roy on his left, who, of late, is being viewed as the flag bearer of the secessionist forces in the country. What happened at the seminar has been reported in the media. There were accusations and counter accusations, young men from Kashmir were seen openly challenging the might of India. The atmosphere was vitriolic. There was a group which was opposing this. And what happened next is the real shocker. Those bearing the tri-colour were forcibly evicted and the secessionists were given all the time and the space to vent their heart out. Delhi police and other Security personnel chose to look the other way. Poor guys, what could they have done because they were briefed to keep mum.

As if this was not enough, the “azadi speakers” spoke in Srinagar too. Here, Arundati Roy while reinforcing her defiance said “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” She justifies her speech as a writer’s right. But isn’t this over simplified justification? She may be working on some dammed agenda but is it right for a writer to abuse the nation and the patriotic sentiments of millions of people? She better look around. No nation can forgive such malicious thoughts. Be it China or Pakistan or the Arab world, where perhaps she could even face stones.

A writer needs all freedom to exercise his or her creativity. But to advocate dismembering of a nation certainly does not reflect creativity. It manifests a mind which pleasures in sadistic activity and at the same time exposes the situation wherein efforts could be the furtherance of self goal, thereby entering into grave area of conspiracy.

Kashmir solution does not lie in “Azadi”. Kashmir is a far greater complex issue. Perhaps the advocates of “Azadi” have forgotten history. In 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked the then “independent Kashmir”. The besieged valley sought help from India. The tribal invasion by Pakistan on Kashmir proved the fact that it wanted to annex Kashmir by force. Since then, Pakistan has been consistently and vigorously pursuing Kashmir. Let this not be forgotten.

Making statements and giving lectures on Kashmir is not a difficult task for any writer or speaker. But, understanding Kashmir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, a mind like Arundati Roy is playing to certain designs. Half truths and half lies cannot decide the fate of a state. Yes, “Azadi” should be the demand and “azadi is the only way. But azadi be demanded from the fanatics and the fundamentalists, from the corrupt and the divisive forces, be they on this side of the line or the other.

India is the biggest democracy in the world. The Constitution has granted the right to freedom of speech. But, when did this fundamental privilege turn into the ‘right’ to abuse the very nation that gives us so much of freedom? The recently held seminar on “Azadi- the Only Way” has left one confused. The platform of the seminar is located in the heart of the capital, Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg, just a few kilometers away from the seat of democracy, the Parliament. There on that platform some startling statements were made. Excerpts of some of them:

“CPI-Maoists unequivocally supports Kashmiri people’s struggle for azadi”

“Dal Khalsa is fighting for a separate identity of Sikh homeland; hence we give full support to ‘azadi movement in the Kashmiri”

Speaker after speaker spoke in this language. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundati Roy, Maoist leader Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights and others. Sitting pretty on the podium was Syed Ali Shah Geelani with Arundati Roy on his left, who, of late, is being viewed as the flag bearer of the secessionist forces in the country. What happened at the seminar has been reported in the media. There were accusations and counter accusations, young men from Kashmir were seen openly challenging the might of India. The atmosphere was vitriolic. There was a group which was opposing this. And what happened next is the real shocker. Those bearing the tri-colour were forcibly evicted and the secessionists were given all the time and the space to vent their heart out. Delhi police and other Security personnel chose to look the other way. Poor guys, what could they have done because they were briefed to keep mum.

As if this was not enough, the “azadi speakers” spoke in Srinagar too. Here, Arundati Roy while reinforcing her defiance said “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” She justifies her speech as a writer’s right. But isn’t this over simplified justification? She may be working on some dammed agenda but is it right for a writer to abuse the nation and the patriotic sentiments of millions of people? She better look around. No nation can forgive such malicious thoughts. Be it China or Pakistan or the Arab world, where perhaps she could even face stones.

A writer needs all freedom to exercise his or her creativity. But to advocate dismembering of a nation certainly does not reflect creativity. It manifests a mind which pleasures in sadistic activity and at the same time exposes the situation wherein efforts could be the furtherance of self goal, thereby entering into grave area of conspiracy.

Kashmir solution does not lie in “Azadi”. Kashmir is a far greater complex issue. Perhaps the advocates of “Azadi” have forgotten history. In 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked the then “independent Kashmir”. The besieged valley sought help from India. The tribal invasion by Pakistan on Kashmir proved the fact that it wanted to annex Kashmir by force. Since then, Pakistan has been consistently and vigorously pursuing Kashmir. Let this not be forgotten.

Making statements and giving lectures on Kashmir is not a difficult task for any writer or speaker. But, understanding Kashmir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, a mind like Arundati Roy is playing to certain designs. Half truths and half lies cannot decide the fate of a state. Yes, “Azadi” should be the demand and “azadi is the only way. But azadi be demanded from the fanatics and the fundamentalists, from the corrupt and the divisive forces, be they on this side of the line or the other.

India is the biggest democracy in the world. The Constitution has granted the right to freedom of speech. But, when did this fundamental privilege turn into the ‘right’ to abuse the very nation that gives us so much of freedom? The recently held seminar on “Azadi- the Only Way” has left one confused. The platform of the seminar is located in the heart of the capital, Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg, just a few kilometers away from the seat of democracy, the Parliament. There on that platform some startling statements were made. Excerpts of some of them:

“CPI-Maoists unequivocally supports Kashmiri people’s struggle for azadi”

“Dal Khalsa is fighting for a separate identity of Sikh homeland; hence we give full support to ‘azadi movement in the Kashmiri”

Speaker after speaker spoke in this language. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundati Roy, Maoist leader Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights and others. Sitting pretty on the podium was Syed Ali Shah Geelani with Arundati Roy on his left, who, of late, is being viewed as the flag bearer of the secessionist forces in the country. What happened at the seminar has been reported in the media. There were accusations and counter accusations, young men from Kashmir were seen openly challenging the might of India. The atmosphere was vitriolic. There was a group which was opposing this. And what happened next is the real shocker. Those bearing the tri-colour were forcibly evicted and the secessionists were given all the time and the space to vent their heart out. Delhi police and other Security personnel chose to look the other way. Poor guys, what could they have done because they were briefed to keep mum.

As if this was not enough, the “azadi speakers” spoke in Srinagar too. Here, Arundati Roy while reinforcing her defiance said “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” She justifies her speech as a writer’s right. But isn’t this over simplified justification? She may be working on some dammed agenda but is it right for a writer to abuse the nation and the patriotic sentiments of millions of people? She better look around. No nation can forgive such malicious thoughts. Be it China or Pakistan or the Arab world, where perhaps she could even face stones.

A writer needs all freedom to exercise his or her creativity. But to advocate dismembering of a nation certainly does not reflect creativity. It manifests a mind which pleasures in sadistic activity and at the same time exposes the situation wherein efforts could be the furtherance of self goal, thereby entering into grave area of conspiracy.

Kashmir solution does not lie in “Azadi”. Kashmir is a far greater complex issue. Perhaps the advocates of “Azadi” have forgotten history. In 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked the then “independent Kashmir”. The besieged valley sought help from India. The tribal invasion by Pakistan on Kashmir proved the fact that it wanted to annex Kashmir by force. Since then, Pakistan has been consistently and vigorously pursuing Kashmir. Let this not be forgotten.

Making statements and giving lectures on Kashmir is not a difficult task for any writer or speaker. But, understanding Kashmir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, a mind like Arundati Roy is playing to certain designs. Half truths and half lies cannot decide the fate of a state. Yes, “Azadi” should be the demand and “azadi is the only way. But azadi be demanded from the fanatics and the fundamentalists, from the corrupt and the divisive forces, be they on this side of the line or the other.

India is the biggest democracy in the world. The Constitution has granted the right to freedom of speech. But, when did this fundamental privilege turn into the ‘right’ to abuse the very nation that gives us so much of freedom? The recently held seminar on “Azadi- the Only Way” has left one confused. The platform of the seminar is located in the heart of the capital, Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg, just a few kilometers away from the seat of democracy, the Parliament. There on that platform some startling statements were made. Excerpts of some of them:

“CPI-Maoists unequivocally supports Kashmiri people’s struggle for azadi”

“Dal Khalsa is fighting for a separate identity of Sikh homeland; hence we give full support to ‘azadi movement in the Kashmiri”

Speaker after speaker spoke in this language. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundati Roy, Maoist leader Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights and others. Sitting pretty on the podium was Syed Ali Shah Geelani with Arundati Roy on his left, who, of late, is being viewed as the flag bearer of the secessionist forces in the country. What happened at the seminar has been reported in the media. There were accusations and counter accusations, young men from Kashmir were seen openly challenging the might of India. The atmosphere was vitriolic. There was a group which was opposing this. And what happened next is the real shocker. Those bearing the tri-colour were forcibly evicted and the secessionists were given all the time and the space to vent their heart out. Delhi police and other Security personnel chose to look the other way. Poor guys, what could they have done because they were briefed to keep mum.

As if this was not enough, the “azadi speakers” spoke in Srinagar too. Here, Arundati Roy while reinforcing her defiance said “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” She justifies her speech as a writer’s right. But isn’t this over simplified justification? She may be working on some dammed agenda but is it right for a writer to abuse the nation and the patriotic sentiments of millions of people? She better look around. No nation can forgive such malicious thoughts. Be it China or Pakistan or the Arab world, where perhaps she could even face stones.

A writer needs all freedom to exercise his or her creativity. But to advocate dismembering of a nation certainly does not reflect creativity. It manifests a mind which pleasures in sadistic activity and at the same time exposes the situation wherein efforts could be the furtherance of self goal, thereby entering into grave area of conspiracy.

Kashmir solution does not lie in “Azadi”. Kashmir is a far greater complex issue. Perhaps the advocates of “Azadi” have forgotten history. In 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked the then “independent Kashmir”. The besieged valley sought help from India. The tribal invasion by Pakistan on Kashmir proved the fact that it wanted to annex Kashmir by force. Since then, Pakistan has been consistently and vigorously pursuing Kashmir. Let this not be forgotten.

Making statements and giving lectures on Kashmir is not a difficult task for any writer or speaker. But, understanding Kashmir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, a mind like Arundati Roy is playing to certain designs. Half truths and half lies cannot decide the fate of a state. Yes, “Azadi” should be the demand and “azadi is the only way. But azadi be demanded from the fanatics and the fundamentalists, from the corrupt and the divisive forces, be they on this side of the line or the other.

India is the biggest democracy in the world. The Constitution has granted the right to freedom of speech. But, when did this fundamental privilege turn into the ‘right’ to abuse the very nation that gives us so much of freedom? The recently held seminar on “Azadi- the Only Way” has left one confused. The platform of the seminar is located in the heart of the capital, Little Theatre Group on Copernicus Marg, just a few kilometers away from the seat of democracy, the Parliament. There on that platform some startling statements were made. Excerpts of some of them:


“CPI-Maoists unequivocally supports Kashmiri people’s struggle for azadi”

“Dal Khalsa is fighting for a separate identity of Sikh homeland; hence we give full support to ‘azadi movement in the Kashmiri”

Speaker after speaker spoke in this language. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundati Roy, Maoist leader Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, Gursharan Singh, Dr. N. Venuh of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights and others. Sitting pretty on the podium was Syed Ali Shah Geelani with Arundati Roy on his left, who, of late, is being viewed as the flag bearer of the secessionist forces in the country. What happened at the seminar has been reported in the media. There were accusations and counter accusations, young men from Kashmir were seen openly challenging the might of India. The atmosphere was vitriolic. There was a group which was opposing this. And what happened next is the real shocker. Those bearing the tri-colour were forcibly evicted and the secessionists were given all the time and the space to vent their heart out. Delhi police and other Security personnel chose to look the other way. Poor guys, what could they have done because they were briefed to keep mum.

As if this was not enough, the “azadi speakers” spoke in Srinagar too. Here, Arundati Roy while reinforcing her defiance said “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” She justifies her speech as a writer’s right. But isn’t this over simplified justification? She may be working on some dammed agenda but is it right for a writer to abuse the nation and the patriotic sentiments of millions of people? She better look around. No nation can forgive such malicious thoughts. Be it China or Pakistan or the Arab world, where perhaps she could even face stones.

A writer needs all freedom to exercise his or her creativity. But to advocate dismembering of a nation certainly does not reflect creativity. It manifests a mind which pleasures in sadistic activity and at the same time exposes the situation wherein efforts could be the furtherance of self goal, thereby entering into grave area of conspiracy.

Kashmir solution does not lie in “Azadi”. Kashmir is a far greater complex issue. Perhaps the advocates of “Azadi” have forgotten history. In 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked the then “independent Kashmir”. The besieged valley sought help from India. The tribal invasion by Pakistan on Kashmir proved the fact that it wanted to annex Kashmir by force. Since then, Pakistan has been consistently and vigorously pursuing Kashmir. Let this not be forgotten.

Making statements and giving lectures on Kashmir is not a difficult task for any writer or speaker. But, understanding Kashmir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, a mind like Arundati Roy is playing to certain designs. Half truths and half lies cannot decide the fate of a state. Yes, “Azadi” should be the demand and “azadi is the only way. But azadi be demanded from the fanatics and the fundamentalists, from the corrupt and the divisive forces, be they on this side of the line or the other.

New storm in K teacup by Deepika Bhan

10/12/2010
New storm in K teacup by Deepika Bhan


There is a significant development in the stormy teacup of Kashmir politics. The forcibly displaced Kashmiri community from the valley is coming out of hibernation. It has taken twenty years for the unfortunate community to gather its strength, take stock and start a lonely battle for existence.

 

Old and young can be seen protesting together whenever the separatists are holding a conference anywhere in the country. We saw it in Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkata. In all the three places, the separatist leaders were trying to justify the sinister “cause” of “breaking away”. The first protest was against Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Arundati Roy’s seminar on Azadi. Geelani’s speech would not have evoked a sharp response but Arundati Roy’s jumping on the gun did. She has stirred and shaken the community. Maulvi Omar Farooq was slapped in Chandigarh. Again in Delhi, eggs were thrown at him.

It is for the first time that the community members, both men and women, can be seen shouting slogans and denouncing the hate politics. The fact, that the people who were responsible for the ethnic cleansing are now preaching non-violence, is like adding salt to their wounds.


There is a growing demand of a Commission to be set up to probe the circumstances in which the ethnic cleansing happened. This has been put forth by the apex body of the displaced Kashmiri community, All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) in its meeting with the Interlocutors. It is sad that the political and intellectual class, including a plethora of NGOs and Human rights activists like Arundati Roy has repeatedly tried to cover up many uncomfortable questions regarding the tragedy. The reason of the silence looks equally sinister.

Recently, in a significant ruling by Delhi High Court in a case concerning retired Kashmiri Pandit government employees, Justice Gita Mittal, said in her judgment, “This case is testimony to events which led to unprecedented ethnic cleansing of a minority community from the Kashmir valley on account of the inability of the State to protect them and their property from violence, who as a result were rendered homeless.” Here mark the words “ethnic cleansing”.

The exiled community is neither a vote bank, nor a rich class, and certainly not a militant group. That is the reason why their agony has been ignored by all.

21 Years of Pain…. by Deepika Bhan


19/01/2011
21 Years of Pain…. by Deepika Bhan

http://blog.english.samaylive.com/21-years-of-pain/

It has taken twenty-one years for the feeling to sink in. But the reconciliation is impossible. What more can be tragic than losing Kashmir, a home for over three lakh displaced Kashmiri people. Ask the people what ails them, and the only answer is ‘Kashmir’. Over two decades ago, Kashmir was their equal Right. They had houses, lands, good posts and were happy people. Neighbours were more like family, temple bell and mosque azan rhymed together. Eid, Shivratri were celebrated together. It was a picture perfect scene. But then, suddenly dark clouds shrouded the vale and swayed over minds with hatred, contempt and terror. Selective targets were made. Young and powerful were gunned down mercilessly to shatter the confidence.


Terror mounted to such an extent that people were forced to flee valley. The dark night of January 19-20th of the year 1990 can never be forgotten. What happened on this night was the culmination of a serious attack on the secular fabric of the country. Kashmiri mind was divided on religious lines. Kashmiri Pandits and other Hindus were forced to leave. Pakistan’s first step of a vicious plan was successful.
What happened on that night has never been discussed or investigated. There is a deliberate silence on the happenings. Why? The answers are hard to find, but suspicion looms large. Terrorists could not have been so successful, rampageous mobs could not have unleashed violence, loudspeakers from roof tops of houses and mosques could not have a led to a murderous din and terrorists could not have made selective and guided killings, had the local police and administration not mysteriously vanished. Thousands of distress calls were ignored at the state and centre level. It was the ethnic cleansing that took place on that night.
Lakhs fled for life, honour and safety. This was no mean displacement. It was the modern day holocaust. Very recently, Farooq Abdullah admitted the wrong done to the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus. Truth has to come out. There is a strong case of a Commission to be set up to investigate and reveal the bitter truth of 19th – 20th January 1990 night.

Written by Ashok Manvati about 1 month ago.
Reply

Government of India must institute a commission of inquiry to investigate the reasons and designs behind forcing the aborginal Kashmiri Pundits to abandon their ancestral homes so as to take necessary preventive measures that can disintegrate the nation.

Interlocutors fail to impress separatists

Interlocutors fail to impress separatists

Interlocutors fail to impress separatists










File Picture







Frustrated by the lack of response from separatists, the high profile Kashmir interlocutors have said that they would submit the report to the Centre without incorporating separatists’ opinion.




"If we do not get inputs from the separatists, we will go ahead and submit the report (to Centre) nevertheless," head of the three-member interlocutors team Dileep Padgaonkar told reporters at the end of their fifth visit to the state.



The interlocutors had sent letters to all separatist outfits, including both factions of Hurriyat Conference, asking them to give their inputs on resolution of Kashmir issue so that they could be incorporated in the final report to the Centre.



"We have spared no effort to reach out to the separatists. We have stretched the limits of courtesy to reach out to them but their response so far has been negative," Padgaonkar said.



He said the team will leave it to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to judge whether the stand taken by the separatists on not meeting them was right.



In response to a question about the fate of the Kashmir Committee headed by former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, Padgaonkar said the initiative was non-official

and its recommendations were not binding on the government.



"This team is official and so far our recommendations have been accepted and now these are to be implemented," Padgaonkar, who was a member of the Jethmalani-led committee, said.



He said it was for the separatists to explain their refusal to meet the interlocutors as the team had the backing of the Government including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.



Padgaonkar said Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Ahmad Shah has responded to the letter sent to him by the team saying "such talks would be relevant and significant hen draconian laws are repealed, political prisoners and youth are released, withdrawal of troops begins and persons involved in human rights violations are brought to book".



"We urge Shah to embark on an engagement with us so that the very first point on the agenda could be the issues he has listed in his letter," he said.



Padgaonkar said the team will be submitting an initial report to the Centre next month which will contain the recommendations and broad contours for resolution of the Kashmir issue.



On their visit to the state, Padgaonkar said there was a broad consensus among people that the political settlement has to be found only through a sustained and inclusive process of dialogue with all stake-holders, including separatists and civil society.



"Any outbreak of violence would thwart the process," he said.



He said no single political formation of the mainstream or otherwise could claim the exclusive prerogative to speak for the people of the Valley, let alone for the people of the entire state.



Padgaonkar said there was a broad consensus on preserving the "unity and integrity of the state" while asserting the state's "special status in the Indian Union".



"The mainstream political parties in every region of the state would be required to evolve a consensus on political settlement and then seek a similar consensus with other regions of the state," he said.



"The delegations we met also insisted that the situation on the ground has to change to enable the dialogue process to progress and suggested several steps," he added.



These measures include an end to intimidation and harassment by the police and security forces, including the indiscriminate use of the Public Safety Act (PSA).



The other steps are early release of stone-pelters and political prisoners not charged with serious crimes, expediting the trial of jailed militants, bringing to book those responsible for human rights violations, redeployment of security forces and check on their special powers, corruption free governance and employment for youth.



Padgaonkar, however, said the withdrawal of army or other forces would depend on the threat perception. "Calm in a certain district does not mean threat perception has reduced," he said.



He dismissed suggestion that there were differences between the Defence and Home Ministries on the issue of reduction of the troops in the state.



"The statement about reduction of troops has to be seen in the context of which force (paramilitary or Army) it was made. I would like to believe that MoD and MHA are on the same page," he added.



In response to a question, he said the protests witnessed on the streets of Cairo were happening in India everyday as the country was a democracy.



"What you saw on the streets of Cairo, you see it in India everyday. India is a vibrant democracy, which Egypt was not," he said.



He said elections are held in the country every five years and there were enough avenues for the people to air their grievances and problems.




Jammu Kashmir & Laddakh

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