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Archive for the ‘People’ Category

A Lawless Law in A Lawless Land

In Human Rights, India, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, People, Politics on 22 March, 2011 at 1:13 pm

What does one do for revenge? Or for wanting something from someone against his will? Or for hating someone’s guts? Or wanting to ‘teach a lesson?’ Or for bullying someone at school? One can either act on them or just be content without doing anything. A lot of them appear vague reasons, meriting no response. (Some of these reasons are stronger than what our government uses to arrest people (it uses no reason) as you will read later on).

How does one act to fulfil these wishes, if one can not be merely content? A person may kidnap another to ‘teach him a lesson,’ or ‘demand money’ or  ‘ just kill him.’ This person then will be considered a kidnapper or a killer, as the case may be. A sane democratic government will hunt this person down and then put him on trial and then behind bars.

Q. But what if a state wants to do ‘all of the above’, and get away with it? What can the state do?

Read the rest of this entry »

Of Hunger Strikes and Yasin Malik

In Human Rights, India, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, People, Politics on 23 February, 2011 at 4:01 am

In the early 90′s whenever there were plans by leaders to fast unto death or go on a hunger strike – a majority of the population would fast with them. Kashmir saw itself as one homologous unit, there were supposed to be no differences. Everyone had one goal: Azadi. There were no contours of this Azadi. It was crystal clear and above all, no one doubted the intentions of the leaders.

Today a hunger strike is seen more as an attempt to make ones presence felt than a tool of non-violent protest, as it is made out to be. And our iconic Hunger Striker is Yasin Malik, who has once again vowed to go on hunger strike for human rights abuses and etc.

Why do these symbolic gestures result in nothingness?

Symbolic gestures are essential, but have to be an extension of

Read the rest of this entry »

Inception, Introspection

In History, Human Rights, India, Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 18 February, 2011 at 6:33 pm

There one skill that we, the Kashmiris, as a nation, can always claim to have: protesting.

We protested the Gujarat riots, the hanging of Saddam Hussein (who, as India’s ally and friend, always stood against Kashmir & Pakistan. 98% of the Iraqis won’t even know what or where Kashmir is). Global events or not, news or rumors, true or wrong, by our own free will or under the cloud of threats and warnings, with or without consequences for Kashmir, we have stood up for every invitation to protest by anybody and everybody who either is somebody or a nobody. We have emerged as one of the finest protesting nation in the history of the world. Kashmir, let alone the issue of Kashmir, might not be well known globally, but we have given the world the Islamic Rage Boy. In the early 90’s Read the rest of this entry »

5 Years of Blogging

In Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 28 December, 2010 at 11:42 pm

5 years ago, this blog started with just a single sentence:

Ah! Kashmir: so near yet so far!

Kashmir, the dream of a Free Kashmir, remains so near yet so far today, as it did 5 years ago. It is near, for every Kashmiri breathes it and feels the pain of this geographical piece of land called Kashmir. These words may appear poetic, but they are not. The pain of Kashmir is felt, just like a cut by a sharp knife. This pain is as much physical as it is emotional. The images of Kashmir embedded in our memory are not, as most Indians might think and want to believe, of honeymooners, neither are they of a Kashmiri boatman selling shawls by the banks of Dal Lake. The images are of death. They are Read the rest of this entry »

Omar v/s Omar

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 11 May, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Its been weeks of Sundays since a new post appeared on this blog! Today, I end that hiatus. My next post would be ihrams – a new Kashmir that I see emerging. A Kashmir which is losing touch with reality. And this post, to an extent, is what the people, the politics and the media of Kashmir seem to be focusing on: an internetKashmir. A tabloid version of the Afghanistan.

What exactly is the difference between Omar and Umar – the two OUmars of Kashmir who represent, in reality, nothing. Both love designer labels. One can flaunt it, the other just doesn’t want to (or can’t).

The difference between them: one sports watches…

Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah (3)

…the other doesn’t.

Umar Farooq (4)

Umar Farooq (5)

Umar Farooq (8)

And, before I sign off – here is a little something about Umar and Omar:

The Abdullah wears the Hindus sacred thread Mali and Farooq wants to look a lot like his father.

Omar Abdullah (5)

Umar Farooq (9)

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The End Of Hurriyat

In Human Rights, India, Kashmir, People, Politics on 5 October, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Kashmir today; this follows the imposition of section 144 yesterday. Yasin Malik has been arrested, while as Geelani was hospitalised. Authorities claim that UPSC roll number slips and Air Tickets will be considered as Curfew Passes, though such consideration was not shown the last time when even a pregnant women on way to the hospital was beaten ruthlessly by India’s Army. A local cable channel has again been banned.

The Hurriyat is failing the people, they have sold-out, and their acts (what made them believe that the government would not impose the curfew?) if seen in a critical manner would lead to one conclusion: that the Hurriyat is exhausting the spirit of the people so that the struggle falls back to its own slow pace, which comforts all but the common Kashmiri people. Last time when the rally was planned; people were hopeful, supportive and full of energy; today they are upset, dismayed and undermined in spirit. This October may not see the withdrawal of the Army from Kashmir; however it might see the end of Hurriyat and the emergence of a new leadership. The Hurriyat may have proved their importance to India and Pakistan, but they are definitely going to fall in front of the people. Emotional fools we may be, but idiots we are not.

Tomorrow may decide a lot of things for Kashmir, I just hope tomorrow does not see the end of more innocent lives. Hurriyat, against my better judgement, may prevail and win their battle, and we the people, will have to continue fighting ourbattle.

Earlier Posts on the land row, the gagging of the people and the spirit of Kashmiris:

Was It Just A Few Hectares Of Land? – I

Yes, I Am A Daemon, But Kashmir Scares Me

No Photoshop This!

Kashmir Strikes Back

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Forgetting Heroes

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 2 October, 2008 at 5:39 pm

This is just one of the ills that ail our civil struggle. Absence of self-introspection has plagued our society tremendously, we tend to forget our own sacrifices way too easily, detrimental to our own cause.

Asiya Andrabi’s words are almost always to get media attention. If she were as honest in demanding succour for those martyred and injured as her words claimed to be, she (or her organisation, since she is in Jail right now; on a different note: Kashmir suffers from a lack of Organisations, there are only individuals (read leaders lacking even the basic sense of leadership)) would have fought for their rights in a similar manner she fought for the closure of liquor shops in Kashmir. Geelani definitely has taken a leaf from this news item:

Seven-year-old Bisma looks shabby in ragged clothes. There are no chances of her getting a new pair on Eid. The father who used to get her dresses every Eid is no more. He was killed by Hindu fanatics during the economic blockade of the Valley in August.

According to Jigri the president of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) president Prof Bhim Singh paid for the admission of the children in a private educational institution.

“No body else has come to the rescue of the children,” she said.

Greater Kashmir

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Was It Just A Few Hectares Of Land? – I

In India, Kashmir, People on 19 September, 2008 at 1:06 pm

The city of Srinagar abounded with sparkling lakes, today just one survives, the rest having died unnoticed and silently. This one lake, the oft-quoted and oft-photographed, Dal Lake has withstood the onslaught of man’s greed and nature’s fury for centuries. This lake perhaps is the symbolic representation of a Kashmiri – one who has survived decades, nay centuries, of onslaught by foreign rulers, and continues to sparkle, like the lake, hiding its scars far within. Kashmir would see an era of Peace only when the seat of power was held by one of its own. Never have foreign rulers been able to control it for good and nothing has ever dampened the spirit of the people of this humble valley. A Vale surrounded by such tall mountains that it should never have been discovered by ‘the others’ to begin with. Invaders of all religions, colours, hues, wishes and desires have trampled this humble valley but never could they escape from the fire that burns within the heart of every Kashmiri, the desire to be free. Having lived under subjugation and enslavement, the Kashmiri body may have been enslaved, not the Kashmiri soul!

The year 1947 saw such turn of events, that Kashmir, instead of seeing a breather after an excruciating survival under the Dogras saw it being occupied by a country it did not know. A country it never had any ‘unconditional’ economic, social, political, cultural or religious ties with, any that it might have had were forced. The country was India and 61 years have passed without the slightest ebb in the hatred for the state of India in the hearts of Kashmiris.

Non-violent protest never seen in the past; art of subjugation learned from Israel by India; and a silent international community are the hallmarks of Kashmir since last three months. Was it a simply a case of the few hectares of land that were transferred or the blocking of the National Highway that has given birth to such staunch resentment in Kashmiri hearts? Are they willing to die of starvation rather than come on the table just because of these two issues? Even the rampant un-employment in the state never led to such massive civil disobedience. What is it then exactly? Is Freedom the uncomplicated and simple answer to this complicated and intricate problem that has been dragging on even before the states of India and Pakistan were created?

Freedom does suffice as an answer for a Kashmiri. A Kashmiri who is not well read may not be able to explain further this Freedom to a non-Kashmiri; a learned Kashmiri may elaborate to a non-Kashmiri as to what exactly this ‘Freedom’ means, but still the definition would be elusive. It has a thousand contours and colours, rather Oppression in Kashmir has a thousand contours and colours and the only way to even out those contours and the only antidote to this oppression, as all Kashmiris see it, is Freedom.

To think that it was just the Land Transfer or the Economic Blockade is naïve thinking, it would be murderous for India and the people of India to think of these two abstract reasons as the only and main cause of all the effect we have been seeing in Kashmir.

From a previous post on this blog 1521 For 1, written February 0f 2008:

For those who want to know, this is a clear indication that the fight in Kashmir is not just with the 460 odd always on run militants but something greater. What is that greater? That greater is the burning desire in every Kashmiri for Freedom. The never dying desire to breath the crisp fresh air of Freedom; Freedom from slavery, subjugation, torture and oppression or perhaps just the freedom from having to carry an Identity Card for moving outside our homes in our land or still just perhaps the freedom to know that every morning won’t bring the news of deaths by bombs and bullets. Increasing number of tourists visiting Kashmir or decreasing number of militants is not an indicator of peace, as the Government is trying to portray. Kashmir is a volcano about to burst, like it did in 1989.

And Kashmir did burst the summer of 2008.

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Welcome To Indian Kashmir!

In Human Rights, Kashmir, People on 3 September, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Alistair Scrutton on Reuters

Might Of The State

The world’s largest democracy locks up protest leaders without charge, shoots dozens of demonstrators dead, beats and intimidates ordinary citizens and raids homes without warrants.

Welcome to Indian Kashmir, where the biggest separatist protests in two decades have clashed with the might of the state.

Anger Against India

The crackdown may also be counter-productive. Residents say the deaths and violent crackdown have fuelled anger against India and boosted the separatist cause after years of relative peace.

Coercion

“The government of India does not have a strategy,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, diplomatic editor of The Hindu newspaper.

“It is relying heavily on coercion, arresting top and middle-level leaders in the hope it will break the back of unprecedented protests.”

Most Militarised Region

For decades there has been simmering resentment at the hundreds of thousands of Indian troops stationed in Kashmir, making it one of the most militarised regions on earth.

Target Killings

One surgeon, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution from Indian authorities, said he has received around 400 wounded people in three weeks, 150 of them hit by bullets.

“These are target killings. It’s simple to see,” said the doctor, explaining that many of the chest wounds were from weapons such as AK-47s. “Most of these were intended to kill. They were not to disperse a crowd.”

For complete article click here.

No Photoshop This!

In Kashmir, People, Srinagar on 23 August, 2008 at 12:53 am

A Million Kashmiris Demand Complete Freedom! No Photoshop this!

Kashmir Demands Freedom [Courtesy of RisingKashmir.com]

Kashmir Demands Freedom [Courtesy of GreaterKashmir.com]

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Chameleons

In Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 22 August, 2008 at 8:01 pm

The mainstream politicians, scared of being the target of public ire, are talking the good talk these days. Be it Abdullah or Mufti, both of them have supported the Hurriyat demand of opening of trade routes between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, revocation of special powers to the forces in Kashmir, release of prisoners languishing in Jails and even of Azadi. What one remains amazed at is that were they blind till now to the true desire of every Kashmiri? Why did they, as the rest of the India, need to see hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris on roads to know what the heart desires? Abdullah has dared to speak about Azadi, only after some prominent Indians have done so. Are they so naïve to think that a Free Kashmir will put the reigns of power in their hands?! That will never happen! Ms. Mufti & Mr. Abdullah should better keep quite and not indulge in chameleon talk, for they have damaged the cause of Kashmir like no other.

Kashmir Strikes Back

In History, India, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 19 August, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Truth has always been relative to a people’s a belief. Truth for one nation is sacrilege for another. This has been true for Kashmir since forever. The Truth about Kashmir has taken such contours and colours for the people of India – that it is nothing less than blasphemy for the People of Kashmir. The Indian people have always wanted to see the Truth about Kashmir by eyes that have been blinded by a pride in their country, a pride that is build on rhetoric rather than reality – perhaps doing that does not weight down too heavily on their consciousness.

Kashmir = Terrorism / Kashmiri = Terrorist

Two words from a dictionary, Terrorism and Terrorists is the metamorphosis of a Nation – Kashmir and a living and bleeding people – the Kashmiris, for the Government, the People and the Media of India. The blood of Kashmiri people keeps safe the so-called integrity of the India, the largest Daemon-cracy of the World. The BLind INdian meDIA (Blindia) has always seen, heard and reported the plight of Kashmir with its blind eyes, deaf ears and biased radio waves. This all, coupled with the image of a vibrant and thriving Tourism (which has never been the largest bread-and-butter earner for a Kashmiri as has always been purported) and a (defunct) Peace Process in Place has helped the Indian Government unleash a reign of terror unseen elsewhere. Oppression, torture, disappearances, maiming, raping and genocide (Yes, Genocide) has continued abated for two decades.

Indira, The Slave of Delhi, The Peace Process And A Spark

The blame of the Kashmir problem is shared by many shoulders: the British, the Governments of the Dominions of India and Pakistan, the Right Wing Hindu Groups (ever since JanSangh), the Muslim Conference (later National Conference), Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi, Nehru, Jinnah, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah. One of these names stands the tallest. It was none other than Indira Gandhi whose earnest desire to control the State Of Jammu and Kashmir, in a similar manner as the provinces of India, that destroyed the straw-strong relationship of India and Kashmir. Her reign saw bullying and imprisonment (following the foot steps of  her father Nehru) of one of the strongest ever democratically elected Kashmiri Leaders – Sheikh Abdullah and thereafter leading an appointed and dictated to democracy in Kashmir after throwing the Kashmir State Flag to tatters (revocation of Autonomy).

Even the creation of Bangladesh, an extension of Kashmir politics, did not satiate her. Was it the fear of losing Kashmir to Pakistan that made her act this way? We will never know but indeed it was one of her progenies during the emergency who attempted to do what she did and he failed as miserably as she had (Kashmir never saw peace even after the revocation of Autonomy). Two decades behind bars may have broken the will of Sheikh Abdullah and he may have joined hands with her (Sheikh Abdullah would later consider his ‘coalition’ with Indira as the greatest mistakes of his life) but force and the nozzles of Kalashnikovs can never suppress the desire of a Nation to be free!

Oppression in different forms is the tool Congress has been using to suppress Kashmiris. When Congress dispatched its loyal than the King slave (Mufti Sayeed of PDP had laid the carpet), Ghulam – e –Dilli (Slave of Delhi, Ghulam nabi Azad), to Kashmir, its policy was in act once again and it was hopeful of reigning in Kashmir for good. The mistrust of the Kashmiri people, whose seeds were sown by Indira Gandhi, had grown into a full fledged plant and Congress, wrongly thought, that use of force and non-force in subtle and not so subtle manners was the best way to quell the rising.

The Peace Process, initiated by the BJP, acted as a decent cover for the Congress. The Peace Process was a celebration,  it was a time to rejoice and bask in the glory of the good relations India and Pakistan were developing. People were flying in and out of Kashmir. A lot was going down in the name of Kashmir: Indian and Pakistani actors kissing on screen were claiming to be doing so for Peace; Sufi Singers flew in, sang a song or two and talked about the essence of peace and how music helps further peace; Journalists from Pakistan flew in, talked to and listened to Kashmir University students and never wrote back what they heard; Ambassadors of exotic countries teed off at the Royal Spring Golf Course, shared a joke or two and talked about the beauty of Kashmir; Junoon’s concert in Srinagar was supposedly aimed at Peace in the South Asian sub-continent.

The blood of a hundred thousand Kashmiris had been treaded on for long by politicians; the Peace Process gave a lot more people a chance to do the same, for personal glory and fame. The Peace Process was never meant for the Kashmiri people in the first place.  The Peace Process, the Healing Touch and the Confidence Building Measures never made an iota of difference to the lives of Kashmiri people.

While all these abbreviations (CBM etc. etc.) were being thrown around the hapless people of Kashmir were seeing no real progress and no hope. The atrocities within the cities had reduced visibly but not in reality. Villages saw no respite at all, mortars turned more homes into rubble than ever, people kept disappearing and custodial death was still not news for Kashmir. As the International Media got stuck with covering Sufi Concerts, killings of an unprecedented nature took place in Kashmir:  young boys aged 8 thru 14 were shot dead; a 19 year old tortured with hot iron rods and killed; a young man was frisked and immediately shot (the personnel were later rewarded 100,000); a 75 year old man was brutally attacked by an ambush party; a handicapped person, limping his way home, was murdered. All these were dubbed Mistaken Identity Killing, but how does one mistake an 8 or 75 year old to a militant or for that matter a person limping home! While Kashmiris were killed, the CRPF and the Army was being praised, rewarded and supported by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister  once claimed that less people died in Kashmir by bullets compared to the road accidents elsewhere! He even had the audacity to compare the number of women raped in Kashmir and elsewhere. Oppression grew in a well planned manner: the killings were solitary, targeted and always of innocent people. Protests would roar and then ebb out as they were dealt with strongly. Sadly each incident was forgotten by the people. To keep the people distracted, development of no real importance was undertaken at amazing speed and the people, for some time, fell to it: an Amusement park was constructed; gardens to which entry was restricted earlier were opened up; forts were lighted up and a large (allegedly one of the largest in the world) tulip garden was laid! At the same time changes in the administration were being effected: Non- Kashmiris now held all the top executive decision making posts in Kashmir, this was akin to the pre-90’s Kashmir, when Kashmiri Pandits were appointed to all executive decision making posts. Fear was being instilled into the people’s minds and by appointing Non-Kashmiris the government was firming its grip on Kashmir. The obvious resistance indeed decreased in Kashmir.

One is reminded of Niccolo Machiavelli’s words:

“…remember that as resistance decreases, suppression increases and the peace offered by suppressive regimes is often no more than the peace of prison or of the grave…”

However a people, any people, can only be lured by fake promises of peace, of progress and of development for so long. The desperation was growing, a burst out had to happen, the people did realise that the peace offered by suppressive regimes is no more than the peace of grave, all that was needed was a spark and the Land Transfer and the Economic Blockade provided just that.

A Few Hectares Of Land

The transfer of a few hectares of land being transferred was not the issue (there were some issues associated with the land transfer which I will talk about in a later post), as I pointed out the desperation had grown to such a peak that it just needed a spark and the land transfer provided just that akin to the rigged elections of 1987. As much as the BJP, the VHP and the people of Jammu tried, they failed in giving the protests a communal colour as not a single Yatri was harmed inKashmir, unlike the burning of Kashmiris elsewhere; which in itself is a testimony to the character of Kashmiris and their real demand. The protests were so spontaneous and evolved in such a massive and disciplined manner that even the Hurriyat was taken aback and they definitely had no plan to direct the protests in the beginning. The APHC might have thought, and in some ways rightly so, that the protests would die out like all the others in the past, but that did not happen this time. Even though no strike call was given by APHC, the people spontaneously came out on streets demanding the revocation of the order. The order was revoked and the government of the day had to resign. There was jubilation in the air for some time. Since the Land Transfer was never the issue, Kashmir was back on the streets, this time arguably against the economic blockade but as the protests grew the people forgot and ignored the land transfer, the economic blockade and demanded no roads and no electricity.

The people demanded just one thing: Freedom. And its hundreds of thousands of people out on streets day and night.

A group of people, holding a big banner inside the TRC ground, had a clear message that was making rounds inside the ground: “No jobs. No roads. No gardens. No financial packages—we want freedom.”

Perhaps the most telling placard carried by a quiet youngster, sitting in one corner of the ground, had a message of revolution in Kashmir. “You can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill a revolution”.

Greater Kashmir

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You Can Only Understand It If You’re Kashmiri Or Have Lived There

In India, Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 24 February, 2008 at 7:27 pm

There is just one photograph in this blog that has not been credited with the name of the photographer, the photograph captured by Ami Vitale, is this blog’s avatar. This photograph captures the true essence of Kashmir. It is a mixture of contrasts: clear yet hazy; full of hope despite the pale of gloom enveloping it, much like the contrasts of Kashmir; the boatman is paddling to a barely visible distant shore: the shore of freedom, of peace, of dignity, of all that eludes Kashmir, many of these themes are central to the idea of this blog.

Kashmir Blog's Avatar

At last!

Photo courtesy and copyright of Ami Vitale

FRONTLINE World’s flashPOINT is showcasing Ami Vitale’s photographs . It is an indispensable and striking journey across the varied faces of Kashmir, of hope and fear, of celebration and pain. It expresses the emotions bottled up within Kashmiris in a manner I have never seen elsewhere.

Help

Towards The Heavens!

This child looks for helps towards another someone, who has probably lost the someone she would look towards.

Seething Anger

Stay Away!

The obvious seething anger towards the system, the government, the occupying force.

Desire To Crush

Knight In Shinning Armour!

Or the face of Occupation.

Ami Vitale has captured the tragedy of Kashmir both at the hidden personal level and the obvious larger scale or the contrasts within the society of Kashmir. In the audio narration, I was stuck by how Ami Vitale has observed the blending of the Pheran (the long robe worn by Kashmiris in Winter) and Kashmiri Poplar Trees (Kashmiris poplars are not akin to the evergreen European Poplars as I have learnt) and showing a not too obvious connection between land and man.

Connected To Land

The stories of women sufferings in Kashmir have been criminally neglected by the people of Kashmir, which has not augured well for anything in Kashmir. The women in Kashmir by suffering in silence gave the strong foundations needed for a movement and possibly this is the story Ami wants to tell through her photographs:

I spent a lot of time with women and inside homes, and I think a lot of the work shows their suffering. I don’t think it was intentional. It was just that I spent the most time with Kashmiri women, and I felt that they needed their voices heard, because they have one of the more difficult positions. They have to quietly endure their suffering.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

Like many other neutral observers to Kashmir, Kashmir has changed her as a human being:

I think it’s obviously changed me as a human being — I look at everything differently.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

And has understood the perils of being a Kashmiri

They’d say, ‘When I leave home in the morning, I have no guarantee of returning alive.’ It’s so real, to understand that kind of fear… I think you can only understand it if you’re Kashmiri or have lived there.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

However, not surprisingly, the comments from Indians in the showcase are no different than what a Kashmiri should expect and anyone trying to showcase Kashmir’s truth is yet another suspect, like all other Kashmiris. Ami Vitale was not in Kashmir to take pretty pictures:

I’m not there to make pretty pictures. It’s really to convey something and hopefully affect at least one other person. Those people have allowed me to be there, and that’s something I respect and honour. You can’t betray them. There are so many moments when I see great pictures, but I won’t take them because it feels wrong.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

Flawed History

While as FRONTLINE/World has done a commendable job of reporting Kashmir through the Showcase of Ami Vitale’s photographs and Anuj Chopra’s Dispatch, it has failed to give a clear view of Kashmir’s history in the Background, which is a flawed and simplistic version of Kashmir’s history, possibly because it has been taken from various web sites and is not a FRONTLINE feature:

By the time of partition in August 1947, Singh had not decided which country to join. In October 1947, in an attempt to take control of the region, armed tribesman from Pakistan’s northwest frontier province invaded Kashmir. The maharaja requested armed assistance from India, and in return, he acceded to India.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

This is a totally simplistic depiction of a critical historical event, a lot more happened preceding the Mahraja’s alleged accession to India and thereafter.

and recommended a referendum to debate Kashmir’s accession to India. Decades later, the referendum has yet to occur, and the status of Kashmir remains in dispute.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

The referendum as suggested by the United Nations is not to debate Kashmir’s accession to India, but a referendum allowing the people of Kashmir to voice their choice between India, Pakistan and Independence (the clause of Independence mysteriously vanished from future Security Council Resolutions, due to the efforts of Pakistani envoy to the United Nations).

By 1989 the clash over Kashmiri identity and independence had slowly morphed into a religious battle, pitting Islam against Hinduism and drawing religious radicals into the fray.

Source: FRONTLINE/World

Another totally wrong notion of the Kashmir Conflict, the roots of Kashmir conflict were never in religion, it was the state oppression, the failure of Sheikh Abdullah, the unceasing mistrust of Delhi for Kashmiris that helped open the cork of the anger that was building within. The 1987 rigged elections proved a turning point. Honesty from Delhi (read Indira Gandhi) was overdue for long and the people could no longer be lured with empty and broken promises. Dignity had been denied to them for long. It was Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (found in the 1970′s in Britain) that led the war against oppression which was not much different than rebellion against the Maharaja of Kashmir in 1931, much before rest of the sub-continent woke to the concept of Freedom. Hizbul Mujahideen’s entry into the Kashmir rebellion was a well thought of move by Pakistan, which was already losing what it had gained in Punjab. Such important series of events requires a much more critical understanding than a simple paragraph.

Kashmir: The Disappeared.

I Am A Muslim And I Have A Beard. Right?

On the way to the hotel, two soldiers stop us.

“He’s a tourist,” one of the soldiers says, glancing at me. No one asks for my credentials and I’m told to step aside.

The other passenger and the driver, both wearing pherans, are aggressively questioned and searched.

While the passenger grows more agitated, Abdul, the driver, exudes a gentle radiance, patiently responding to their interrogation.

“I’m a Muslim, and I have a beard. Right? That makes me a suspect,” he tells me, after we are finally allowed to move on. “I’m used to this harassment.”

Source: Kashmir: The Disappeared

For Ami Vitale’s personal website, click here

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Who Rescued Whom?

In Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 12 February, 2008 at 9:34 pm

One has to marvel at this man. It is no wonder that he remains as indispensable for the Gandhi family (aka Congress) as he did during Indira Gandhi’s infamous emergency. It is people like him and Makhdoom Amin Faheem of Pakistan who define (honest) slavery of the modern era.

It was all over the blind Indian media (blindia) and they gave it the space and the effect it was meant for. It hasn’t been since Sheikh Abdullah’s times that a Kashmiri politician has been able to create a fake truth, spread it like wildfire and then bask in its glory! Even Farooq-I-Like-To-Discoe -Abdullah failed to create such a massive sensation -using the media effectively- over what shall never go down in history – an issue that won’t stay more than a few days in people’s memory – but has created its desired effects and proved, in not so many words, the inefficiency of Mufti Sayed’s administration.

It was not a path breaking roadmap for the resolution of Kashmir. It was a simple rescue mission. The army (and the police) had rescued about 30 people who had been trapped in an avalanche. The army (and the police) had done it again; they had helped the sad people of Kashmir. It wasn’t a rescue mission that would blow the brains of rescuers around the world but the media coverage was aimed at putting to shame National Geographic!

So far, so good!

You may argue, what’s wrong in it? With elections (or the absence of them) near, a little self-glorifying by the Chief Minister should not be shouted at, or should it be?

The Actual Footage

The little actual footage showed the people and not the army (and the police) rescuing. It was the rescued people who were carrying the old and elderly and it was the rescued people who were clearing the path as they moved on (makes one to think which path did the army (and the police) take? And no it was not snowing). The army (and the police) were more than willing to pose for the cameras! The army (there was no police visible) did not look exhausted even though they had supposedly walked miles in snow for the rescue.

The rescue was over and the people of Kashmir were all happy!

However, the government pulled one more trick out of their sleeves and this time the blindia looked side-a-ways:

The Act

Even as the chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was reviewing the post-snowfall situation in various valley districts, his administration pushed thousands of Srinagar-bound passengers into a virtual hell on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

No less than 3,000 people, including a large number of women and children, have been caught in one of the worst traffic jams on either side of Patnitop.

The Army

“It is only militarily convoys which have free run on this road,” said another stranded passenger, Rafiq Ahmad Bhat.

The Aim

A woman passenger Mehmooda who was crying on phone said that children in the bus were demanding food. “But I have nothing to offer them. This Government is lying. They allowed the traffic from Jammu to kill our children of hunger and cold,” she said. The passenger said that it was a deliberate attempt by the Government to subject hundreds of people to hardship.

The Admittance

Admitting that the highway was not totally fit for vehicular traffic, the senior superintendent of police, Traffic (Highway), Dinesh Rana, told Greater Kashmir that movement of vehicles in slippery stretches on either side of Patni Top, the movement of vehicles was hazardous. “The highway is not fit for traffic between Patni Top and Jawahar tunnel and it would require another two days to make it traffic worthy,” he said.

Interestingly, it was the same Rana who had, on Saturday evening, told Greater Kashmir that the traffic had been restored fully on the highway.

[Quotes source: Azad, through his fantastic understanding of the media, tried to prove his superiority but failed miserably for the people of Kashmir.

The Army (and the police)

From a prevous post I Can Kill Everybody:

Killing in Kashmir is not uncommon but gradually it appears that the police and the army see themselves as reincarnations of God on earth. Be it the illiterate gun totting policeman or his superior office, they both think that they are the Greater Beings, created to maim and kill the children, the young, the old and the women of Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Police has turned over the past decade and a half from an organisation supporting the freedom struggle to a people more than happy to kill innocents and it will continue to grow evil. It has already graduated from beatings innocents to killing them, now they just need to expand their reach and increase the innocent death toll. Once India is confident that the police have been trained well to behave as colonial masters, as is the attitude of the army at present; it can reduce the presence of the army, flash a happy face to the world, confident and satisfied at the thought that the same role is being played by someone else. Lessons from the colonial masters, the British, has always inspired India: import officers who can act and behave as colonial masters, obtain the major chunk of the force from the local population and impose evil through them.

60 Years!

In India, Kashmir, News, People, Politics, Srinagar on 24 August, 2007 at 6:04 am

As India celebrated its 60 years of Independence, Kashmir shall have, in October, survived 60th years of  forced occupation, state oppression, humiliation, torture, arrests, rapes and killings.

I salute Kashmir for surviving and for still believing in a free  Kashmir, a Kashmir free from the clutches of state terror whether in form or in policy.

An Indian Who Lived In Illusion

In India, Kashmir, News, People, Srinagar, Tourism on 9 July, 2007 at 8:26 am

To,

The people of Kashmir,

All these years I have lived in illusion. An illusion that Kashmir, the Valley of my dreams, is very much a part of my country. I took great pride in it, and I believed you did too. But, a few days ago, I had raw exposure to your lives, much troubled lives.

I might never be able to think by, what they say, stepping into your shoes. I might never be able to empathise entirely with your tears. I will never be able to comprehend the torture you face, the wars you wage every day and night – to rise and to sleep, to step out of your homes into your own “motherland”, and then to step back in.

I will never understand the terror that grips you, even in the shelter of your humble abodes. I shall never possess such lack of faith in my protectors, lawmakers and administrators. I will never realise how it feels to be questioned at every breath taken, dictated at every step taken. I cannot fathom the countless defeats that greet you, everyday, at the hands of “authority”. And then, rise up boisterously again at the taste of dispiritedness. I shall never discover what your hearts are made of.

I will never feel the depth of angst in your voices which cry for freedom or “Azadi”. But, I only wish to lend my feeble yet determined voice to join yours. I only wish to make the people of my country feel the way I do.

Yours truly,

An Indian

A letter addressed to the people of Kashmir by Gyatri – a member of a group of ‘adventure junkies,’ who traveled across Kashmir and interacted with students and people.

 Its heartening to see that some Indians are not blinding themselves either to the bitter truth about Kashmir or the lies that blindia is feeding them.

Riya, a student from Mumbai, while writing about The Many Faces Of Kashmir has this to say about the Indian Media:

We believe the lies that the media feeds us.

Do not miss to read Riya’s poem Another World.

Read the reflections on Kashmir of WCNCinc, a group of enthusiastic and adventure junkies and nature freaks here.

Apples, Apricots And Almonds

In Development, India, Kashmir, News, People, Srinagar on 23 June, 2007 at 1:20 am

The economic system of Kashmir was totally shattered by the militancy claim many a learned people since it destroyed the back bone of Kashmir’s economy- the tourism industry, employing not more than 20,000 families. Yes, not ever Kashmiri is a Shikarawala or a Shawl-seller, there are others as well. Those learned people also praise the Indian government for doling out billions to the people of Kashmir in subsidies and aid. Those learned people though forget to mention that those billions for meant for the upkeep of the 0.7 million Indian security forces, busy fighting the 1,500 deadly militants.

Facts and figures tell us that the economy of Kashmir is not totally dependent on tourism and that the traditional industries in Kashmir have done very well during the last seventeen years, helping Kashmir survive and once again it is not the billions doled out to Kashmir by India or just blood money that’s circulating in Kashmir.

Exports

Exports in 1989-90 Exports in 2005-06 Expected in 2006-07
Rs. 1.5 Billion
(150 Crores)
Rs. 11.50 Billion
(Rs 1,150 Crores)
Rs. 15 Billion
(Rs. 1,200 Crores)

 

Handicrafts

Turnover in 2005 Turnover in 2006 Expected in 2007
Rs. 9 Billion
(Rs. 900 Crores)
Rs. 11.5 Billion
(Rs. 1,150 Crores)
Rs. 15 Billion
Rs. 1,500 Crores

 

Fresh and dry fruit

Revenue in 2006 Revenue in 2007
Rs. 19 Billion
(Rs. 1,900 Crores)
Rs. 21 Billion
(Rs. 2,100 Crores)

And the Kashmir government’s much promoted Wazwaan is not bringing in any money. 

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Subjugation And Torture That Thrills And Excites

In Human Rights, India, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, News, People, Srinagar on 15 June, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Suffering humiliation at the hands occupying forces is a part and parcel of the Kashmiri life be it in Kashmir or a railway compartment somewhere in the plains of India. Kashmiris have realized and understood well that all Indians (with rare exceptions) are oblivious to the sufferings of Kashmiris even though the same Indians share the pain and are even over sympathetic to the issue of Kashmiri Pandits, who when they migrated from the Valley in 1989 formed not more than 3% of the total Kashmiri population.

Indians Go Mum The Indians cry hoarse about the Kashmiri Pandit issue but they are quite, as if someone pressed the mute button, when it is proved beyond doubt that the Indian forces do kill innocents in Kashmir.

The reasons have baffled many a Kashmiris for long, one reason could be that the Indians feel ‘thrilled’ and ‘excited’ about the presence of guns-and-goons in the form of Indian security forces in Kashmir.

An Indian woman who had recently traveled to Kashmir had this to say about the presence of security forces in Kashmir:

the security presense (sic) is there everywhere it is thrilling and mostly exciting.

This is what The Toronto Star wrote on 25th January, 1991, about the Indian armed forces.

“Subjugated, humiliated, tortured and killed by the 650,000-strong Wailing, For What? Indian army, the people of Kashmir have been living through sheer hell for more than a year, the result of an increasingly brutal campaign of state repression. India hides behind its carefully-crafted image of “non-violence” and presents itself in international forums as a model of democracy and Pluralism.”

The role, behavior and actions of the security forces has not changed much since 1991, it’s just that today their presence is ‘thrilling’ and ‘exciting’ to the Indians.

A further look at what the Indian security forces who thrill and excite Indians do to the Kashmiris, as documented by the Human Rights Watch.

I was only a boy at that time. They would strip me, make my lie naked on the floor, kick and beat me, split my legs wide apart and leave me tied up like that for hours. When I thought I could not bear any more pain, they would give me electric shocks. Then they would let me go and a few weeks later, again. The same thing.

The men were from the army but they were in plainclothes. I was taken to a Rashtriya Rifles camp near my house… My hands were always tied behind my back. I was beaten and kicked. Twice, I was made to lie down on the floor with my hands and legs stretched out and tied up. I was badly beaten.

The soldiers were brutal. I was kept blindfolded most of the time, unless I had to go to the toilet. My hands were tied with rope at night. I was tied to a chair and questioned. They asked if I knew this militant or that. I kept saying I was innocent…I wish I could tell you how much I suffered. They cut my thighs open with a knife and then they would keep poking at the wound to try and make me talk.

The thrills and the excitement!

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The Terrorists Of Al-Qaeshmir

In India, Kashmir, News, People, Politics, Srinagar on 14 June, 2007 at 12:41 am

The Indian state and blindia (the blind Indian media) have been working tirelessly to brand Kashmiris as Terrorists and Fundamentalists and the Kashmiri Freedom Struggle as Terrorism. These endless campaigns have been successful within India, where people at large see the Kashmiris as terrorists and the human rights abuses the Kashmiris have to suffer at the hands of the Indian Army as the outcome of supporting the terrorists being pushed from across the border, conveniently coined as the Cross Border Terrorism (CBT).

Bollywood has lent a further helping hand by portraying Kashmiris as terrorists whenever and wherever they can. The most recent attempt was seen in Sarhad, starring Sanjay Dutt, in which the terrorist drives a vehicle with a Kashmir number plate. Both the Indian and the Pakistani armies are trying to neutralize the terrorist, the reference possibly being that Kashmiris are a bother for both nations.

Even though the smear-campaigns have worked in India, they have no takers in the west. The western media still sees Kashmir as a disputed territory. BBC, Encarta, CNN, Encyclopedia Britannica, National Geographic et al still refer to Kashmir as Indian or Pakistani controlled Kashmir as the case maybe. The issues of National Geographic on sale in India usually have an ugly rubber stamped on the maps of this region:the boundaries shown are not correct. Stamp or no stamp, it is not going to change how west sees Kashmir. Sending back or destroying copies of encyclopedia Britannica will effect no change in the policy of the west, that of Kashmir being a disputed territory pending final settlement.

The OC  The people in the west  are still struggling to understand the difference between Kashmir and Cashmere Shawls. The following conversation from Orange County (Season2, Episode 53) pretty much sums up the confusions still surrounding the word Kashmir.

Abigail Stevens: I was saying that what’s happening in Kashmir just shows us–

Summer: I know! Pashminas this season were so cute. I don’t go anywhere without my Cashmere purse!

The conversation continues with Abigail telling Summer that they were discussing the conflict in Kashmir and whether Kashmir should be independent or remain with India and then ask Summer her opinion!

 

Western Experts On Kashmir

 

 

Professor William Baker Kashmiris are not seen as terrorists by the west, not even extremists. These are the thoughts of an expert, Professor William Baker, on Kashmiris and their struggle:

On Kashmiris not being radicals:

Professor William Baker, who heads the California-based organization, Christians and Muslims for Peace, and is the author of Kashmir: Happy Valley, Valley of Death, says that people who live in the valley of Kashmir are not Islamic radicals out to establish a separate Islamic state.

“The people of Kashmir – those in the valley of Kashmir – are not radical Islamists wanting an Islamic state; they do not.”

On what the Kashmiris want:

“These people are extremely educated and open and free-minded and I’ve never met any Kashmiris in the valley who did not say that they don’t want to be owned by either country (India or Pakistan).”

 On the Indian/Pakistani occupation:

 “If one is an enemy if you oppose injustice, if one is an enemy is you oppose occupation, then okay, I am an enemy of anybody who occupies another country illegally or tortures or anything else, including my own country.”

 

The real threat, as the world perceives it, is from the Hindu extremists in India and not the Kashmiris Muslims.

 

chomsky

  Noam Chomsky

On the dangers of Hindu extremism

There are real dangers. The Hindu nationalist danger is certainly serious.


On the Indian Diaspora’s being more extreme 

…what I’ve seen of the Indian Diaspora … is that it tends to be more extreme, more pro-BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] than the native population would. At least that’s what I’ve seen.

The threat does come from Hindu extremist elements,the recent ban on Orkut is an example of the low level of tolerance for free speech. This news though has not been as widely covered by the blindia as was the ban by some militant groups in Kashmir last year on Music channels during the holy month of Ramadhan, yet another example of the working of blindia.

 

 The Indian Army who are mostly seen as saviors by the Indian population are not perceived as such by the western experts.

 

 K Alan feels:

There was something oppressive about the security presence in Srinagar and even out in the countryside. You really couldn’t get away from it. It’s like you were reminded, everywhere you looked, that there was a security problem. I could see how the people there might even feel like there was an occupying army because I do know some people feel that way.

History is witness to how India and its slaves in Kashmir ridicule Kashmir and Kashmiris- when innocent Kashmiris are killed in fake encounters, the government promises enquiries or rewards the killers; when innocent girls are exploited by the highest seats of government, the government shifts the case to a court outside Kashmir and reinstates the officers involved in the scandal; when people ask for roads they are shown the palaces the rulers will occupy and when people protest against the army – the Chief Minister promises the army utmost support. Despite all this, the international media and experts still do not buy India’s argument of Kashmiris being Terrorists and Kashmir a hot-bed of Islamic Terrorism. Frustrated, the Government has recently tried something more unique, more digital but even that will fall flat on their faces. The government of India is attempting to establish Al-Qaeda presence in Kashmir, which in their opinion should help them garner the much required American support. In the coming months we might see reports of Osama Bin Laden hiding in Kashmir and then we will see American Apache helicopters burning down the forests of Kashmir. The Chief Minister of Kashmir as well as the United Jihad Council has ruled out the presence of Al-Qaeda in Kashmir. UJC spokesman has said that Kashmiris know how to fight the war of freedom and there was no place for Al Qaeda whatsoever on Kashmiris’ soil.  However one needs to remain cautious as the government of India will go as far as it has to to cry out loud to the world that Kashmiris are terrorists and Kashmir a terrorism hot spot, but none of that will succeed, not today, not tomorrow.

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Is Hope Still Alive?

In History, Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, People, Politics on 28 February, 2007 at 12:16 pm

The surfacing of the reality behind the recent fake encounter was not news for Kashmir. It’s been happening since 1989. The wounds of the Gaw Kadal massacre, the Sopore massacre and the Paribas Killings are still fresh in the minds of Kashmiris. Though Indians have shown sympathy towards the exodus of Kashmiris Pandits, which was a human tragedy, but they have always considered the wailings of the Kashmiris as propaganda. We are not talking about militants killed in an encounter. We are talking about innocents like Ghulam Hassan Padroo One Of The Four Boys Killed In Feb 2006 By The Army. Later Tagged As Mistaken Identity and the 19 year old boy who have been killed for the crime of being Kashmiris. In India it has become a crime to be a Kashmiri. God save a Kashmiri if he is unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. A year back, on 24th February, four innocent children aged 8, 10, 18 and 18 were shot dead by the army in Kupwara. Somehow, as usual, the Indian media missed the news and as usual the army tagged the deaths as mistaken identity? How can a four year old be mistaken for a militant in broad day light? Quite recently a handicapped singer was shot on spot, without any provocation, by an army personnel, who later on claimed something to the effect that it was his (the singer’s) time to die! Just like Bush, God spoke with him too. This is the reality that Kashmiris have to live with and they do.

Sakooter writes about the epidemic of fake encounters that plagues Kashmir:

Over the past 18 years in Kashmir, thousands of people — civilians, who had no arms, vulnerable and weak — have disappeared. Many many amongst these have been killed in the so called “fake encounters” where in lieu of promotion, pride, power — men have killed men.

And the ones that are killed die.

Leaving dead and dying lives

What if the dead could rise up and open up the dark secrets that the murderers keep?

A sense of despair overwhelms one on seeing an entire nation turn blind to the sufferings of millions of people. However, somewhere in the dark, sometimes, one sees a tiny glimmer of hope. Hope indeed is never dead.

Pamela Philipose, of Indian Express, in her article J&K’s bodies of evidence has dared to pose a question to India

If Nithari, a village in Noida, has today become a byword for evil and institutional culpability, why should the anonymous villages of south Kashmir not hold a similar resonance?

She writes about the Gaw Kadal massacre and also nullifies Azad’s claim that Paddar’s killing was revealed because the government had already promised to punish all those found involved in innocent killings

The Azad government boasts that it took these vows extremely seriously and that is why incidents like the Paddar murder have come to light. In actual terms, if it weren’t for the persistence of Paddar’s family in trying to trace him, and the overconfidence of his killers who sought to pocket his mobile phone, this case too would have rested quietly in the grave.

On the Indian blogosphere also there are now quite some Indians who are daring to be different. Who are seeing beyond what the government would want them to see. Sujai has blogged extensively about Kashmir and has also come up with a solution to the Kashmir problem. Horizon Speaks and Manas are actively discussing Kashmir the way it should be: with an open mind.

Horizon Speaks writes about the recent fake encounter

The news of Fake Encounters really shaked my heart. From today onwards, I won’t be at the same mood seeing ‘routine’ killing of militants in Kashmir. As it was in the case of ‘Abu Hafiz’, the LeT Commander. Army sources told us that he was killed an ‘encounter’ with SOG (Special Operations Group) on 8th December. And the person who actually killed him, got an award of 120,000Rs (almost US$ 2700).

The conflict in Kashmir has been dragging on for 17 long years and very rarely have we seen an Indian feeling the pain of Kashmir as Pamela observes

Events in Jammu and Kashmir are perceived by the rest of the country as if through the wrong end of the telescope. The existing distance between the country and the state always ends up magnified, and crucial developments playing out in the region appear emptied out of their significance.

This has held true for Kashmir for too long. Maybe it will change. Maybe the change will remain limited to a small minority. Another Indian Blogger, Pr3rna , has also blogged about Paddar’s fake encounter. Even though Pr3rna has condemned the incident but Pr3rna expresses the same view, which most Indians, wrongly, hold.

The root cause of Kashmir issue was and we still believe, is- foreign militants or militants trained by Pakistan.

The present state of Kashmir is a consequence of its history. If the root cause of the Kashmir problem were the militants trained by Pakistan, the 0.7 Million strong army of India should have had no problem in containing and terminating the 2000 or so militants that presently operate in the valley; as Paul rightly comments in response to Pr3rna

I think the ‘root cause’ of Kashmir problems is not militants, that is an effect of the cause

Kashmiris Propaganda?

Pr3rna thinks that Manas has fallen into the Kashmiris Propaganda trap.

You have also fallen to the Kashmir propaganda.

1942 Soviet propaganda poster by Viktor Koretsky [public domain picture]

For quite some time now, the term Kashmiris Propaganda has become popular. This blog has been branded a propaganda machine for highlighting the innocent deaths. Maybe Kashmiris should suffer the death of their people in silence, maybe that’s what a lot of people want. But it is not going to happen. This blog (and blogroll) is an attempt to tell the truth, to whoever is listening.

According to wikipedia the techniques of propaganda transmission include

Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters.

Let us ask some questions and attempt to answer them.

How much time does an Indian spend on reading newspapers published from Kashmir in a day?

Not a second. Majority won’t know of the existence of newspapers published from Kashmir, let alone read them. If they did, they would know a lot more about the army in Kashmir than what the Jai Jawaan program tells them. They would know a lot more than just knowing that Shah Rush Khan was performing in Kargil. They would know about the bullets that destroy innocent homes.

How much time does an Indian spend on listening to the news blasting from Kashmiri/separatist owned radio stations or watching the propaganda ads, movies and documentaries playing 24X7 on Kashmiris separatist owned television channels?

Not a second, since the Kashmiris/separatists own/control no such media.

W hen was the last time an Indian student read about the history of Kashmir doctored by the Islamists Militancy Inc. of Kashmir?

Never. None exist.

H ow many leaflets and posters does an Indian come across that spoke of the atrocities of the army in Kashmir?

Never.

All an Indian reads, watches, discusses is what that the Government presents to him. The Indian newspapers, the Indian media, the Indian Bollywood, the Indian channels and the Indian books! We can also safely make the observation that an Indian never comes across Kashmiris propaganda through the aforementioned sources. What could then be the source of this Propaganda? It could either be the sixth sense that the Kashmiris have or the Kashmiris could be capable of producing invisible waves which infect the minds of Indians with Kashmiri propaganda. Take your pick!

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Fake ‘Encounter Killings’ Epidemic

In Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, News, People on 16 February, 2007 at 8:50 pm

Fake killings an ‘epidemic’ and ‘standard procedure of the police’

“This epidemic of fake ‘encounter killings’ by the security forces has plagued Kashmir for too long,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The police must stop their standard operating procedure of killing people in custody.”

“Too often we find that India’s security forces are deemed ‘above the law’ and are spared criminal prosecution despite committing grave human rights abuses.”

Extrajudicial executions by Indian security forces are common.

courtesy of Human Rights Watch

Revelations confirm what Kashmiris have been alleging all along

“Recent revelations have confirmed what families in Kashmir have been alleging all along,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Indian security forces have ‘disappeared’ countless people in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 and staged fake encounter killings while fabricating claims that those killed were militants.”

When there are public demonstrations protesting a fake encounter killing, the official response usually is to offer an oral assurance of an inquiry, though these rarely happen. If such inquiries do take place, the findings are seldom made public. If any action is taken against those found responsible, that too is rarely made public.

courtesy of Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch September 2006 report

Patterns of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir

Previous related posts

The Largest Daemon-cracy

I Can Kill Everybody

And A Family Cries

Kill A Kashmiri, Win 100,000 Rupees

Act Two: The Slave Of Delhi Unleashes Terror

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The Largest Daemon-cracy

In Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 13 February, 2007 at 1:33 am

Daemon-cracy

India might claim to be the largest democracy of the world, an economic Abdul Rehman Padroo's Wife And Kid 9courtesy of Greater Kashmir) super power on its way to become the next super power of the world but for Kashmir and Kashmiris it is a state that rewards killing of innocent Kashmiris with money, more power and commendations. The fact that India does indeed reward its forces for killing innocents was reflected in an earlier post and now we have official endorsement that indeed innocent Kashmiris are being killed for rewards.

For long the people of Kashmir have been claiming oppression at the hands of Indian Forces. However this fact is fiction for the majority of Indians, who in their naivety sitting and living miles away from the reality of Kashmir believe or want to believe that the army is stationed in Kashmir for the protection of Mother India. For them, it is the 700,000 troops which will sanctify the land from terrorists (read Kashmiris). It is the Muslim Kashmiris who are evil, it is the Kashmiris who threw out and murdered the Hindus of Kashmir. It is the Muslims of Kashmir who are the reason for all the evils of India, everyone else and everything else is holy but Kashmiris. The Indians want us to wail and cry for the Hindus who were allegedly prosecuted a thousand years back by Muslim invaders and ignore the killings of our brethren in our courtyards.

Indian Army, the people of India would want you to believe, is one of the most disciplined armies of the world, they are re-incarnations of the Gods, thus can not commit wrong. If you were to prove that the army does commit atrocities, they would call it collateral damage! Collateral damage they say is unavoidable. They say. We suffer. How can our death be collateral? Indeed, it is easy to label innocent deaths as collateral damage or better still brand innocent people as Foreign Terrorists and there you have the world endorsing your view. The world might endorse it, but the Kashmiris will not. They know the truth, the reality of the Indian state. India and Pakistan might buy our so-called leaders, but they can never buy a Kashmiri.

The blindia media

02 repressionThe Indians are not interested in the realities of Kashmir. When told the reality of Kashmir, they call it anti-national. For long the Kashmiris have seen the Indian Media distort the truth of Kashmir for their own cause. For long we have seen the Indian Media create false stories of prosecution by militants and for long we have seen the atrocities of the Indian Army brushed under the carpet.

Does the blind Indian Media (blindia) feed lies to the Indians because that’s what the Indian media (aka Government) wants or is it because the Indians are unwilling to accept the truth? It could be both ways or it is possible that after years of tuning the minds to think in a particular way (that a Kashmiri is a militant till and until proven otherwise) the government has succeeded and the Indians can no longer accept anything other than what they have been tuned to think and that is what the media will keep on feeding them. The people in India want to hear good things about their country. They can not even fathom the idea that the Indian Army can do any bad. For them, the Indian Army is a re-incarnation of God and whatever it does is right. It is always the Kashmiris, the God-damned Muslims who are evil. Kashmiris deserve death. Whether or not we Kashmiris deserve death, we sure are getting it.

The burnt black bear

The burning of a wild bear by some people in Kashmir revealed the hypocrisy and obsession with anything that is ant-Kashmiri of the Indian media and people. A wild bear was burnt by some people in a village in Kashmir. The reaction of the media and the people of India was enormous. The India media and the people wanted answers; they wanted to know how such a ghastly act could be committed by people. It reinforced and justified their already pre-tuned minds that Kashmiris are anything but humans. The Indian Media played its part by covering the ‘atrocity’ extensively. The people asked, they shouted and they wanted the people who committed the gravest of gravest atrocities behind the bars. Syed Ali Shah Geelani sometimes speaks total sense and this was one of those times:

“A month ago when a wild animal was killed by the people at Pulwama, people in Delhi resented the killing of the wild animal and said that wild animals in Kashmir are not safe, but the on other hand the innocent Kashmiris are being killed on the orders of the same people who are worried about the safety and security of wild animals in Kashmir,” he said adding that the series of the custodial killings are “worst kind of state terrorism.”

The Killing of a bear shocked India, the killing of innocent Kashmiris lulled India to sleep.

We need a kill, operations have dried up

“I am a carpenter. Farooq (Constable Farooq) knows. Please don’t kill me,” Abdul Rehman Padroo shrieked in fear, his hands folded. “Don’t listen to him. He is a dreaded Pakistani terrorist,” shouted Deputy Superintendent of Police Bahadur Ram. Then Padroo was shot.

courtesy of indian express

And the kill was Ghulam Hassan Padroo , a carpenter murdered by the forces since the killing fields had dried up.

Quite accidentally, an investigation into a missing man, revealed the truth about the security forces in Kashmir. The truth of murdering Kashmiris and branding them as foreigners. The truth that killing a Kashmiri and branding him as a foreigner does reward . The truth that the thousands of Kashmiris who have disappeared might have been killed by the army.

The accidental investigation and the brutality consequent revelation that innocents were being murdered by the government in Kashmir opened the Pandora’s Box, many more bodies were exhumed and more graves were uncovered. The killing fields of Kashmir were revealed and 18 more fake victims identified. Graves were found in abandoned army camps and somewhere in Kashmir, 30 people lie nameless in a graveyard. The opposition claimed that 6 more encounters were fake and the police discovered another scam within its rank. The families demanded death to the killers; the government suspended four cops, arrested two senior officials and ordered an investigation. An investigation in which the Indian government run BSNL is not cooperating. The army and the CRPF have started separate investigations. Investigations in Kashmir mean cover up and a continued license to the forces to kill.

It’s tough to put into words the feelings of living in a piece of land occupied by foreigners. It is tough to see our brethren getting killed for the crime of being a Kashmiri. It is tough to see people getting murdered in the most terrible manner for a few hundred thousand rupees and a few promotions.

In a post Kill a Kashmiri Win 100,000 Rupees, many Indians claimed that the person killed was indeed a terrorist. They needed proof that it was otherwise. We have answers and the proofs and what we see now is just the tip of iceberg but this will not change the reality of living in Kashmir. These revelations will in no way change the thinking of the Indian people who are busy worrying about the burnt black bear. These revelations will not change the government policy of repression and occupation as the revelations were accidental very much like the sex scam in Kashmir. The investigations in the sex scandal led to nothing as will be the case with these investigations.

Chief Minister agrees that innocents are killed for rewards

The Chief Minister of Kashmir has accepted the fact that killings do indeed happen for promotions and rewards. The Chief Minister, perhaps unknowingly, has accepted that the government rewards murders. Indeed the murders are shrouded in the cover of terrorism.

If any security person found guilty of killing any innocent for personal reasons like promotion, rewards, or appeasement of bosses, he won’t be spared in any case, as no body is above the law

courtesy of greater kashmir

Update

DNA test confirm charge, Army not cooperating

With a DNA report confirming that the man killed by troops as Lashkar militant Abu Zahid was in fact Abdul Rahman Padroo, a carpenter, the focus of investigations into the killing of six villagers in fake encounters on Thursday shifted to the Army.

J-K Police officers say the Army is not co-operating in the investigations into the fake encounter.

The J-K Police have already arrested 13 of their own men, including the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, Hansraj Parihar, and his deputy DSP Badur Ram.

courtesy of indian express

More from Indian Express

Where disappearance history began, in 1990

Taja’s search continues, for son and justice

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New Strategy: The Solution Of Kashmir!

In History, Human Rights, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 27 January, 2007 at 4:31 pm

The end of armed struggle

As a good will gesture for the increased army deployment, continuing human-rights violations, custodial and enforced disappearances, massacres , rapes, daily humiliation and increased frisking of the Kashmiris (even women) by the Indian forces in Kashmir, the Mirwaiz has offered ‘to end the armed struggle.’

“We have already seen the results of our fight on the political, diplomatic and military fronts which have not achieved anything other than creating more graveyards.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

A bold and unpopular decision

Earlier, in a meeting breakfast with the APHC leaders, PML chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said: “Time has come for a bold decision, even if it is an unpopular one.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

An unpopular decision for whom? An unpopular decision for the people of Pakistan and India will be acceptable but an unpopular decision for the people of Kashmir is not a bold decision but a sell out. A sell out which will have far reaching consequences.

The new strategy

The Mirwaiz has claimed that political, diplomatic and military fronts have yield nothing. True. By saying so, the Chairman has accepted the failure of Hurriyat as it is Hurriyat which has always been claiming to be the political and diplomatic front of the Kashmiri struggle. A graceful solution for their failure would be to step down but since their personal interests reign supreme they won’t do that, instead they have offered a new solution. The solution is packed in a box called ‘new strategy,’ earlier it was packed in a box called United States of Kashmir.

He said with their new strategy they would convince India to arrive at a more agreeable settlement.

courtesy of greater kashmir

The new strategy involves forming of two working groups on both sides of the loc to facilitate the peace process.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the government of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) on Saturday decided to set up two working groups, one each on both sides of the Line of Control (loc), to facilitate the peace process.

courtesy of greater kashmir

Forming of working groups does not sound like a military solution but it sure does sound like a political and diplomatic method. So, what’s different in it? Confidence Building Measures are already in place between India and Pakistan and those have brought no respite to the common Kashmiri. Even a cursory look at the events will show that life for a Kashmiri has become tougher ever since India and Pakistan have shook hands. Not only is life tougher for a Kashmiri in Kashmir but it has also become difficult elsewhere in India with a Kashmiri being arrested for every possible ‘terrorist’ crime and that goes well with the Indian media and the people of India, who have chosen to blind their eyes to the truth about Kashmir. The only truth about Kashmir they are ready to listen to is the Indian Army’s version of the truth in Kashmir.

The Mirwaiz has already declared the failure of these methods in the past and the same should be expected of the latest strategy, as it is just another road map for the solution of Kashmir. India can never be convinced without massive opposition from the people of Kashmir. Kashmir needs a powerful mass uprising from the people to end this debacle.

The opposition

The UJC has voiced some sensible opposition. What is surprising about the UJC is that they have chosen to rope in Sheikh Abdullah and have even called him the most popular and towering personality of Kashmir. Forever he has been called a traitor by these people, why a change of heart? Maybe they now realise that Kashmir has never and probably will never see a leader like Sheikh. Maybe now they understand that Sheikh was not the traitor they have always painted him as.

When GoI could push the most popular and towering Kashmiri politician like Sheikh Abdullah to the wall, then what is the worth of Hurriyat (M)

courtesy of greater kashmir

Shabir Ahmad Shah, Chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP): “I don’t agree with Mirwaiz Sahib saying that gun has not given anything to us. It is due to the sacrifices of Mujahideen that Kashmir issue has been highlighted.”

The kudos

Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Sunday congratulated Mirwaiz Moulana Umar Farooq and his colleagues for ‘their bold statement against violence and in favour of peace and dialogue’

Ali Muhammad Sagar, former minister and senior National Conference leader: “ It seems they have realized that nothing will come out from the game of death and destruction, and Kashmir issue can only be resolved through a dialogue.

Ghulam Hassan Mir, former minister and senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): “We welcome Mirwaiz’s statement. It is definitely a positive change and it will prove fruitful for the people of Kashmir. We have always maintained that gun won’t solve the Kashmir issue and it seems separatists too have realized it.

India’s continued hypocrisy

Pointing towards the Sunday’s statement of the chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad wherein he had hailed Mirwaiz’s statement asking militants to give up arms, Sagar said, “If some one is showing sincerity and honesty, he should be responded with honesty and sincerity. He has given number of statements which are correlated and you should not pick and choose the statements in accordance with your own interests.”

courtesy of greater kashmir

The euphoria

In his euphoria, the Mirwaiz has forgotten the Gaw Kadal Massacre in which fifty-two unarmed civilians were shot dead by the Indian forces and nearly 250 were wounded. One young man, Abdul Rauf Wani, took the bullets of an entire magazine from a soldier in a heroic attempt to save a few lives.

Elsewhere, the state BJP chief has asked that the flag of Kashmir be brought down . The flag of Kashmir is the last symbolic proof of Kashmir’s special status.

Kashmir needs a Shiekh Abdullah!

A Kashmiri Videoblogger

In Human Rights, Kashmir, News, People on 30 October, 2006 at 1:02 pm

TearingBytes is a Kashmiri videoblogger, capturing the reality of Kashmir on video. His videoblog on Cruxy can be found here.

The description on his home page is an excerpt from Arundhati Roy’s article, which poses a very important question: how can we talk of solutions when we deny the reality?

The reality of India, however, to every ordinary Kashmiri, is an ugly, vicious reality they encounter every day, every ten steps at every check post, during every humiliating search. According to the Indian army, there are never at any time more than 3,000-4,000 militants operating in the Valley. But there are between 5,00,000 – 8,00,000 Indian soldiers there. An armed soldier for every 10-15 people. By way of comparison, there are 1,60,000 US soldiers in Iraq. Clearly, the Indian army is not in Kashmir to control militants, it is there only to control the Kashmiri people.In totally misrepresenting the truth of what’s really going on. How can we even talk of ‘solutions’ when we simply deny the reality?

TearingBytes has also been featured in the official blog of the creators of Cruxy, who write:

The works of TearingBytes are sad, touching, and often disturbing. They are as powerful as any hollywood feature film, but offer no fiction. The most prevalent topic is that of “half-widows”, women whose husbands have been disappeared, and cannot remarry since their spouses aren’t officially deceased.

Having this type of content available on Cruxy is a real breakthrough. While we love indie music and comedic short films, we also built Cruxy to give a venue for those without a traditional means of commercialization. The work of TearingBytes is a perfect case.

It is heart warming to see that Kashmiris are waking up and talking about Kashmir – their homeland. It’s the Kashmiris who matter, the people, those who have to live everyday in Kashmir, far away from those who sit in Casablanca and talk about the solution of Kashmir. Kashmiris have had enough of Indians and Pakistanis talking about them. Thanks to the power of blogging, we can finally talk about the facts, as they are.

There Was Something Oppressive About The Security Presence

In Human Rights, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 28 October, 2006 at 1:32 pm

K Alan Kronstadt’s interview with Rediff .

K Alan Kronstadt is a point man for South Asia in the Congressional Research Service, the United States Congress’ research arm which is often called the legislative branch’s own think tank.

On Kashmiris and Pakistan

Q. Was there anything else that really surprised you, helped calm your fears?

K Alan:

Another thing that surprised me on the ground there was how positive a view many people had of Pakistan’s role, and how President Musharraf’s role was not viewed with the negativity I had expected.

Many, many people in Kashmir were actually very positive about the role that Pakistan is playing and used the word flexibility in talking about Musharraf’s role. The word came up again and again that he, more than any other Pakistani leader, had (exhibited flexibility).

Q. Why did you go in with a perception that Musharraf’s role would not be viewed favourably? After all, the Indians have always accused Pakistan of supporting and arming militants in Kashmir. Musharraf has always tried to give the Kashmir people the assurance that Pakistan would always be there for them and that Kashmir and the aspirations of its people is an issue always close to Pakistan’s heart.

K Alan:

I think it was because of the so-called cross-border terrorism – the message that comes from Delhi. Of course, we did talk to security people in Kashmir, and they were very clear that terrorists came across with the assistance of some elements in Pakistan. So they weren’t optimistic or positive about Pakistan’s role. But many of the people on the ground — who I didn’t get a chance to talk to when I was in Washington but only when they visit — had a very different perspective about Pakistan’s role.

On the large security presence in Kashmir

Q. And, what about the Indian government’s role? Did you feel that when you spoke to the people on the ground, there were positive vibes — anything on par of what they felt for Musharraf and the government of Pakistan?

K Alan:

Not necessarily on par. That was, I think, a little more mixed. Some people felt that Delhi was taking the complaints of the Kashmiri people more seriously. (But) it was very jarring to see the large security presence in Srinagar. This is something I hadn’t expected.

I knew about it intellectually, but when I got on the ground, there were soldiers and police everywhere — the police , of course, were like paramilitary troops, so they looked like soldiers.

There was something oppressive about the security presence in Srinagar and even out in the countryside. You really couldn’t get away from it. It’s like you were reminded, everywhere you looked, that there was a security problem. I could see how the people there might even feel like there was an occupying army because I do know some people feel that way.

A significant reduction of this overwhelming security presence is what the Kashmiri leadership and international human rights groups have always been calling for as an important good-faith, confidence-building measure to get the peace process going. But Delhi argues it has to put down the militancy and counter cross-border terrorism which it says continues unabated and for which it blames Pakistan.

I heard a lot of stories about the impunity with which some of the security forces can act. (I heard) anecdotal cases of extortions on the street. I also happened to run into Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch while I was there. And so some of these stories really did come out.

Kids And Young Men Being Lined Up For Interrogation [copyright and courtey of greater kashmir]

On the role of United States in Kashmir

K Alan:

The United States playing a mediating role is out of the question. It’s a non-starter, and I don’t think it’s necessary. In general, the approach needs to be between India and Pakistan and in some manner incorporating the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

It’s important to not view this as a strictly bilateral issue. The United States in whatever way it acts, it needs to do so quietly. So it has to be mostly behind closed doors. I think good offices, some encouragement, diplomatic patting on the back, to bring this to a resolution, because everyone understands that a resolution of this is good for everyone. So if we can find a resolution that everyone can live with, it would do wonderful things for the subcontinent.

Q. When you say diplomatic patting on the back, does this also mean simultaneous nudging?

K Alan:

Sure. I mean there can be a carrot and stick. But it needs to be very subtle and very understanding of and sensitive to the problems on the ground, which, to some extent, I have encouraged. And the administration understands this. Again, I just hope that we don’t see the Kashmiri people feel left out of whatever comes out (with regard to the peace process). It can’t be settled as government-to-government alone.

This interview gains significance in the light of the recent claims by Mirwaiz Omer that America is mediating in the Kashmir issue and that the next two years would be very crucial for Kashmir. It is interesting to see that Alan refers to the Indian claims of cross-border terrorism as ‘so-called cross-border terrorism,’ and subtly calls it the Indian propaganda (‘the message that comes from Delhi’). He has, to a large extent, gauged well the feelings of the Kashmiri people and has indeed felt the oppressive nature of the massive security presence in Kashmir. A solution, if one is near, should never be government to government alone, as that would be no solution at all.

I Can Kill Everybody

In Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, News, People, Politics, Srinagar on 25 October, 2006 at 1:49 am

A father and a son were killed by a speeding police vehicle, which was driving on the wrong side, a day before Eid.

I can kill everybody

“I am from SOG, not an ordinary cop, I can kill everybody, I will teach you a lesson,” a visibly frustrated cop shouted at women, firing tear smoke canisters towards them. (greater kashmir)

I’ll not spare them

Superintendent of Police (South) Uttam Chand rushed to the spot with a large contingent of police and caught hold of youth from the group, saying, “Why did you burnt our vehicle. Those who have burnt it, I have seen them, I’ll not spare them,” the SP shouted.(greater kashmir)

Killing in Kashmir is not uncommon but gradually it appears that the police and the army see themselves as reincarnations of God on earth. Be it the illiterate gun totting policeman or his superior office, they both think that they are the Greater Beings, created to maim and kill the children, the young, the old and the women of Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Police has turned over the past decade and a half from an organisation supporting the freedom struggle to a people more than happy to kill innocents and it will continue to grow evil. It has already graduated from beatings innocents to killing them, now they just need to expand their reach and increase the innocent death toll. Once India is confident that the police have been trained well to behave as colonial masters, as is the attitude of the army at present; it can reduce the presence of the army, flash a happy face to the world, confident and satisfied at the thought that the same role is being played by someone else. Lessons from the colonial masters, the British, has always inspired India: import officers who can act and behave as colonial masters, obtain the major chunk of the force from the local population and impose evil through them.

Destroy Her Family. [courtey of greater kashmir]

It is not just in Kashmir that the armed forces see themselves as reincarnations of God, as far away as Christiana, the army is playing as murky a role as it can, but shouldn’t. Pakistan even though with a long history of military dictatorships is not as cruel and inhumane to the innocents as is the Indian army. With the kind of role that the army is playing in Kashmir and in places like North East and even in Christiana, one can not imagine what would happen to India if a military dictatorship was imposed. India would probably turn into the world’s largest killing field, where every innocent would get killed for 20 rupees.

Somewhere in Kashmir, a mother cries

“Why did you leave me alone?” Imtiaz’s mother Jana yelled on seeing blood and pieces of human flesh on the mangled motorcycle. She tore her clothes and tried to bang her head on the bike, but fainted after seeing the shoes of her husband and son near the bike.(greater kashmir)

And Kashmir keeps on bleeding.

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And A Family Cries

In Human Rights, Innocent Killings, Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 23 October, 2006 at 1:34 am

Does a 19 year old boy deserve to be tortured with hot iron rods? Does
the brother of a 10 year sister old deserve to be burned? Does the only
bread winner of a family deserve death at the hands of an occupational
army for the sole crime of being a Kashmiri?

Not he doesn’t, no one does.

However, the Indian army stationed in Kashmir, as occupiers, go all the
way to satisfy their cannibal and sadist tendencies.

People do what they can, they protest

Thousands of people staged massive demonstrations for second day Sunday against the custodial killing of a 19-year-old labourer Muhammad Maqbool Dar on the Shab-e-Qadr on Friday night by the soldiers of 53 Rashtriya Rifles of Army at Pakharpora. (courtesy of greater kashmir)

Doctors do what they need not to, confirm the death by torture

A team of doctors who performed autopsy of Maqbool at Charari Sharif Hospital on Saturday told Greater Kashmir that “he died due to cardiac arrest caused by extensive torture and multiple burns. His private parts had been damaged.”

Kashmir Bleeds!

This graffiti says the truth about Kashmir: “You murder us without explanations because we are aware of Dignity and Justice!”

Opposition does, what it has to, it speaks strongly against

Abdur Rahim Rather, the former Finance Minister and leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly, addressed the protesters, and condemned what he termed the brutal killing of Maqbool.

Police does, what will never yield a result, files a report

However, the SSP Budgam Ashiq Hussain Bukhari said the accused have not yet been named in the case though a case of abduction and murder has been filed against the troops.

Government does, what it always has, expresses deep concern

State government on Sunday expressed “deep concern” on the killing of Muhammad Maqbool of Pakharpora.

The Army never does what it should: Quit Kashmir!

Somewhere in Kashmir, a family cries

“We had just broken our fast on Friday and were preparing for the Shab-e-Qadr (the holiest night of the Holy month of Ramazan) when a group of soldiers (from Kanidajan RR camp) dashed into the room and took him along. Today they returned his body.” (courtesy of greater kashmir)

And Kashmir keeps on bleeding.

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Afzal Guru Can Never Be Hanged

In Kashmir, News, People, Politics on 6 October, 2006 at 1:09 am

Afzal Guru shall embrace death, as a Kashmiri, on the 20th of October if not granted a Presidential Pardon. Reports indicate that he is not seeking a Presidential Pardon, however his wife does want to seek pardon – for the sake of her son. Political parties irrespective of their political stand are all demanding a rollback of the death verdict.

Whether Afzal Guru embraces death on the 20th of October or is granted a Presidential Pardon, he can never be hanged.

Afzal Guru is a Kashmiri.

Afzal Guru is an ideology.

Afzal Guru is the truth that is Kashmir.

A Kashmiri, an ideology and the truth can never be hanged.

The Afzal Guru case has revealed the almost impossible to fill differences that exists between the thoughts, feelings, hopes and aspirations of Kashmiris and Indians. Almost 90% of Indians demand that Afzal should be hanged, some even want that his supporters (Kashmiris) to be hanged as well, publicly. While as all Kashmiris see in Afzal a man who has been falsely implicated, a majority of Indian people see him as the face of terror, which he is not. Afzal did not have a chance to defend himself. The Supreme Court of India had upheld that:

“The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.”

Is Afzal being made a scape goat for the ‘collective conscience of the society?’ Nandita Haksar asks:

Can the collective conscience of our people be satisfied if a fellow citizen is hanged without having a chance to defend himself? (courtesy of counter currents)

National Democratic Alliance released a bunch of ‘terrorists’ when an Indian aircraft was hijacked in 1998. An Indian Union Minister, Jaswant Singh, escorted them to Afghanistan and bade them goodbye. The lapses of the Indian Government in controlling the situation in Amritsar should have called for scrutiny and the then government could have been declared as a ‘conspirator’ as well. But, nothing of this sort happened. Why do the people of India forget or ignore lapses of their own government? Why don’t they ask questions? Is it because it is easy to imagine Kashmiri as a terrorist? Is it because a Kashmiri is a terrorist till and until proved otherwise?

Delhi Police is (in)famous for its investigations, cases like the Priyadarshini Mattoo and the Jessica Lal murders have revealed the truth about the Delhi Police, but as far as Afzal’s case is concerned, Delhi Police, from the blue, emerges as a credible organisation! It is amazing that the Judge who presided over the case is known as the ‘Hanging Judge.’ Arundhati Roy, one of the few Indians who understands Kashmir slightly better, supports Afzal and claims, rightly, that the evidence is faulty:

“The whole case is full of faulty evidence and fabricated stories and to hang someone for something he may not have done is not fair.” (courtesy of rediff)

Elsewhere in Kashmir, two innocents were shot dead by the army in yet another mistaken case identity but not a single Indian has spoken against it. Not a single Indian rises against the human rights violations in Kashmir with the same conviction with which they are demanding death to a Kashmiri.

Nirmalangshu Mukherji’s and Inam ul Rehman’s article provide food for the thought, for those who have a desire to know the truth.

Update:

Brown may intervene to save Afzal Guru

The new UK Prime Minsiter may intervene to save Afzal Guru, if efforts of Save Afzal Guru Campaign are sucessful.

Jagmohan Dunnit!

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 6 September, 2006 at 12:53 am

Kashmiris have always believed that Jagmohan planned the evacuation of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits brush this claim aside as nonsense. However, none other than the former Chief Minister of Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, has gone on record to say that Jagmohan did indeed plan and execute the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

There is a continuous propaganda going on that Kashmiri Pandits were thrown out by the Kashmiri Muslims. Do you agree with that?

No I don’t agree with that. But the situation was such that they were frightened that they could be a target. And the Governor of that time Jagmohan told them to go away for some time promising them that they will be brought back.

So Jagmohan instigated their exodus?

Yes of course he did it. I have always said that. I am on record to say that.

What is your opinion about Jagmohan?

I think… I don’t think I should give an opinion about him.

Read the entire interview at Kashmir Affairs.

The Fake Letter

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 5 September, 2006 at 11:15 pm

The Kashmiri Pandits claim to have recently received a letter from Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HUJI), a miliant group active in Kashmir, asking them to beg for pardon and to accept the terms and conditions of the militant groups if they wish to return to Kashmir. A scanned copy of the letter can be found on this blog.

It is obvious that the letter is a fake, created by the Pandits to cash on the present wave of anger directed towards the Muslims. The other reason for the propagation of the ‘alleged threat’ could be the declining sympathy people in India and elsewhere have for the Kashmiri Pandits.

Kashmiri Pandits constituted a small percentage of the Kashmiri population (less than 5%). In the early 1990′s they left the valley as a part of an exodus planned and executed by Jagmoham, the then Governor of Kashmir.

The letter is:

letter.jpg

The militants in Kashmir are increasingly using the available technology (satellite and cell phones, fax, telephones etc) to communicate and convey their statements. However, in this case they have, strangely enough, made an exception and used the good old method of writing a letter, and have done a bad job at that as well! The Kashmiri Pandits seemed to have been least bothered about following the normal procedure of handing over the letter and giving details about the recipient of the letter to the authorities (which could have helped trap the militants or even bust their cell in Kashmir), instead they went ahead, started scanning and spreading it all over the Internet.

The header of the letter is:

header.jpg

After reading 786, one is usually inclined to think ‘Muslim.’ 786 is commonly substituted for “In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful” but it’s use is controversial and is not accepted by some at all. It is also a casual reference and an Islamic militant group would never use ‘786’ instead of the actual words. The Kalimah is completely missing from the letter!

Would an organisation spell its name wrongly? Highly unlikely, but HUJI seems to have done so in this case. Instead of Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, they have used Harkut-ul-Jehad Islami!

letter-body.jpg

While writing an English letter, one usually leaves a margin on the left side, but that is not usually the case with Urdu. Given the terrible (language style, grammer etc) Urdu used in this letter, one wonders why they would care for a margin on the right side! The only probable reason is that the writer did not know proper Urdu and thought that a margin is necessary as it is in English. Even though these people had access to a computer and a printer, they preferred to write it instead of printing it! Typing Urdu is tough, requires additional software and a person who can write Urdu can not necessarily type it.

The letter ends with the name of the spokesperson but the signature is missing!

signature.jpg

This letter has been widely circulated but the Kashmiri Pandits seem to have forgotten the recent press release of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Maybe that is because it does not serve their cause.

Kill A Kashmiri, Win 100,000 Rupees

In Kashmir, News, People, Srinagar on 10 August, 2006 at 12:44 pm

A young innocent Kashmiri student, aged 22, shot dead at point blank range by the draconian CRPF. They had promised a revenge killing after a trooper was shot dead by militants in the same location:

 I Lie Dead, Don't Mourn For Me!

The Slaughterers awarded one hundred rupees and promotions for killing the innocent Kashmiri:

We Are the Gods In Kashmir, Try Touching Us!

The women, wailing and lamenting the fate of Kashmiri youth:

God Save Our Children

Picture courtesy and copyright of greater kashmir.

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Kashmiri Ministers Arrested

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 20 June, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Mufti Sayeed's much publicized 'Healing Touch' is paying dividends. Two of his ministers, Raman Matoo and G. A. Mir, have been arrested in connection with the Kashmir sex scandal. The only Kashmiri Pandit in the cabinet, Raman Matoo, held the portfolio of Industries while as the fifty year old G. A. Mir was a tourism minister in the healing touch ministry. Both are still lawmakers in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Raman is the MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) from Habba Kadal, the home of the kingpin Sabeena. G. A. Mir is the ruling party MLA from South Kashmir.

Congress, famous for it's Operation Bluestar, the 1975 Emergency and the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 rules Kashmir presently. Ghulam Nabi Azad is the Chief Minister. He recently justified killing of innocents by the Indian Army.

The list of people involved so far include:

Raman Matoo, MLA and former minister: Arrested
G.A. Mir, MLA and former minister: Arrested
Anil Sethi, Additional Advocate General: Declared proclaimed offender
K C Padhi, BSF DIG: Arrested
M. Ashraf, Deputy Superintendent of Police: Arrested

It is yet to be seen what the consequence of these arrests will be? Will it reveal an intricate web of corruption, sleaze and abuse of innocents by the high and mighty or will it die a silent death?

Humiliation

In Kashmir, People, Politics on 13 June, 2006 at 1:17 pm

When a person is humiliated, he fights back. He may respond in a similar manner, he may respond in a more severe manner or he may suffer the humiliation silently. If he is among those whose suffer silently, his peers will call him a coward, a loser, a good-for-nothing. He may be treated as a social outcast, for not standing up, by his own people. But, what happens when an entire nation is humiliated, when an entire nation is unable to stand up, when an entire nation suffers and tolerates humiliation? Does that nation become a social outcast for the rest of the world? Yes, it does. Not in the manner an untouchable is made to stay away, not in the manner rich people sneer at the poor, not in the manner capitalist economies look down at the concept of social equality, not in the manner religions fights, not in the manner of blood baths during wars, not in the manner of people being hung by their own courts, but rather in a manner that is worse than and a combination of all of these.

Kashmir has been humiliated by people who occupied it. Pakistan humiliated Kashmir. India humiliated Kashmir and continues to do so. And Kashmiris, are now, unable to stand up. Having accepted defeat, having accepted humiliation as a way of their lives they have been reduced to nothing, they have become undesirables in this world and have turned into social casts for the entire universe. This all is because they were unable to retain or regain their position as equal people of this world. The way Kashmir is being treated is the way a social outcast is, and deserves to be, treated. Why will any other nation come and help a people who are so occupied in themselves, so divided among themselves, that they are unable to realise that they are seen as the denizens of a leper colony. And the world will continue to stay away from them as long as they don’t cure themselves of their diseases. Our leaders, Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Sayeed, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Mirwaiz Omer, Syed Geelani, Ansari, Beigh & Yasin Malik might see themselves as tall figures, who command awe and respect from the world. But, in reality when they stand in front of audiences all over the world, they are looked down. Their words elicit chuckles of laughter as they are considered a bunch of comedians, worse than even their own people. The world lets them talk because it is always good to listen to real actors, who shed crocodile tears, claim to be desperate and plead for justice.

Will the people wake up and regain their status as equals in this world?

Highly unlikely!

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