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www.epilogue.in CONTENTS

Prologue 3
Editor in Chief Letters to the editor 4
Zafar Choudhary
Hear & Hear
Consulting Editor Who Said What 5
D. Suba Chandran
Columns
Associate Editor Keen Eye 6
Irm Amin Baig
Ladakh
Designs & Layout Agriculture 44
Keshav Sharma
Interview 47
Mailing Address Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2008 Diary 49
PO Box 50, HO Gandhi Nagar,
Jammu IN FOCUS Stop Press
Fire 2008 Review of Media 51
Phones & email
Office : +91 191 2493136 Reviews
Editorial: +91 94191 80762 9 Jammu And Kashmir
Movies 53
Administration: +91 94190 00123 Beginning Of The Endgame
editor@epilogue.in 18 Post-Agitation
Epilogue
editor.epilogue@gmail.com Uphill Task For Jammu’s Politics, Economy
subscription@epilogue.in From the Consulting Editor 56
22 Amarnath Confrontation :
Is It Sureal ?
Edited, Printed & Published by
26 Replay Of 90’s ?
Zafar Choudhary for CMRD Still No Lessons From History
Publications and Communications
Published from ‘Ibadat’, Madrasa 28 Find The Enemy
...It Is Communalism
Lane, Bhatindi Top, Jammu, J&K
33 Our Mis-Leaders, 39 Hectares
Printed at Of Land And Seesaw Of Faith
Dee Dee Reprographix, Jammu 35 Jam-Kash Showdown
Clash Of Vested Interests
Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction 39 Reconnecting Kashmir :
of courts and competitive tribunals in Need For Reopening Traditional Routes
Jammu only.
41 After 2500 Cr Loss,
Eyes On Jhelum Valley Road

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September 2008
Epilogue
because there is more to know

Jammu & Kashmir


Center For Contemporary Studies

The J&K CCS, a non-profit institute, is engaged in research on


issues of contemporary importance involving Jammu and kashmir

ANNOUNCEMENT
For an upcoming project on people of Jammu and Kashmir, the
J&K CCS invites proposals from researchers, scholars, teachers,
journalists and other dispassionate observers of life to write brief
biographical account of the personalities listed below. It may be
noted that the list is not complete and will be continuously
updated during life of the project. Interested writers may also
suggest names of people who, they believe, have contributed to
change in Jammu and Kashmir. The biographical account
involving a critical analysis of personality, successes, failures
and contributions to various aspects of general life, shaping up
thoughts and present positioning in the public space should be in
around 2500 to 3000 words. A modest honorarium of Rs.
1000 is being offered for each submission. Any particular author
can not write on more than two personalities. Interested authors
are requested to list their choice of personality with J&K CCS
before starting the assignment so as to avoid many authors
w r i t i n g o n s a m e p e r s o n .

THE PEOPLE
Aagha Ashraf Ali • Muhammed Yusuf Taing • Prof Rehman Rahi • Syed Ali Shah Geelani • Syeda Aasiya Andrabi
• ZG Muhammad • Khwaja Sonaullah Bhatt • Omar Abdullah • Farooq Abdullah • Mehbooba Mufti • Mufti
Mohammad Sayeed • GM Shah • Mirwaiz Omar Farooq • Shabir Ahmed Shah • Mohammad Yasin Malik • Pervez
Imroz • Mian Abdul Quyoom • Nighat Shafi Pandit • Prof Hamidi Kashmiri

Contact :
J&K CCS ‘Ibadat’ Madrasa Lane, Bathindi Top, Jammu Ph : (O) 0191 2493136 , 94191 80762
email : epilogue2008@gmail.com, zafarchoudhary@gmail.com
P R O L O G U E
FROM THE EDITOR

Thus Begins The End

Zafar Choudhary

A Epilogue
round three months back a rigging the1987 elections. Then it took
front page story in Srinagar 20 years to restore some order of
newspaper and later a much semblance. Yet no lessons were learnt.
detailed report also in a This time around the government in
Srinagar based magazine asked, “who Jammu and Kashmir which triggered the because there is more to know
says separatists are not participating in Amarnath landmine was headed by
elections?” At that time the buzzword in Congress. The Government in New Delhi EPILOGUE aims at providing a
Kashmir was about the forthcoming is also headed by the Congress. Do we platform where a meaningful
elections. Further explaining the still need to blame the Pakistan's ISI for exchange of ideas, opinion and
argument, the story pointed out that all this mess? The worst scenario this thoughts can take place among the
much of the separatist sentiment has time, however, is that there has been people and about the people of
been consolidated by the mainstream dangerous fallout in Jammu –a place Jammu & Kashmir. The attempt is to
political parties seeking to work under which endured everything silently and research, investigate, communicate
the constitutional ambit. The reference welcomed everyone who felt insecure and disseminate information, ideas
was to Peoples Democratic Party and in rest of the state. All those gaps which and alternatives for the resolution of
the National Conference. One leading were required to be filled in for common problems facing the state
example was given of Mohammad Yaqub achieving a larger goal of peace and and society of Jammu & Kashmir and
Vakil –one of the founder members of stability have been widened. The gulf in the context of their significance to
Hurriyat Conference –who joined the between Kashmir and New Delhi, the South Asia as a whole.
PDP and was tipped to contest elections gulf between Kashmir and Jammu and
from one of assembly constituencies in more dangerously the gulf between We welcome contributions from
central Kashmir district of Badgam. various sections of society has never academics, journalists, researchers,
Yaqub was not a case in isolation. He been as wide as it is being seen today. economists and strategic thinkers.
was among at least three dozen such When things were normal no efforts We would also like to encourage
politicians who continued to toe the were made to make people talk to each first-time writers with the only
separatist line and at the same time other. Our present issue carries well requirements being a concern for and
prepared to participate in a democratic opinionated essays and articles on the the desire to understand the
exercise. A month and half later, when bloody fire which has engulfed Jammu prevailing issues and themes of life in
Yaqub issued a statement on his and Kashmir. Gautam Navlakha's lead Jammu & Kashmir
dissociation from the PDP; again he was essay comes as an eye opener for all
not the case in isolation. All those who those who have been rubbishing the Contributions may be investigative,
had been thinking on these lines stand eruption as temporary. Syeda Afshana descriptive, analytical or theoretical.
thrown back to the scene of 1990s. A gives a poetic sketch of life's return They may be in the form of original
stage has reached in the Valley where journey in Kashmir. Interviews with the articles or in the form of a comment on
even the PDP and NC are now shy of members of Shri Amarnath Yatra current events. All contributions have
talking about elections. They are asking Sangharsh Samiti –which spearheaded to be neatly typed in double space and
for a larger debate on Azadi. This is how Jammu agitation –open a window to the may be sent to the address given
New Delhi lost its plot in Kashmir in a discrimination sentiment in the region. I alongside or e-mailed to the editor.
period of just little over two months. am afraid if New Delhi can do anything at
Looking back at such eruption 20 years this stage but at least the Civil Society While the editor accepts
back once can recollect how Congress can take a lead in picking up the threads. responsibility for the selection of the
twisted the neck of democracy in 1984 material published, individual
(by toppling an elected government) Feedback : authors are responsible for the facts,
and then buried this institution by Zafarchoudhary@epilogue.in figures and views in their articles.

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
M A I L B O X
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mail your letters to editor@epilogue.in

They eroded essence of 2002 Get some views from other side Spare labourers
also
2002 assembly elections in Jammu and It is deeply regretted that the poor
Kashmir were hailed and applauded labourers from outside the state are
With EPILOGUE We feel relaxed and
world over for their fairness. being treated shabbily by none other
informed about the political and
Unfortunately what followed later was than the so called secular voices of the
otherwise happenings in Jammu and
unfair. The ruling coalition partners, the Kashmir. (Biharis on radar in Kashmir,
Kashmir, but at the same time it is
PDP and the Congress eroded credibility Epilogue, August 2008) God knows, why
of the whole exercise for their mutual requested that a view from other side of
they are destroying the very essence of
and continuous engagement in a bitter Kashmir may also be carried, after all Kashmiriyat i.e. tolerance? A secular
acrimony next five and half years. Yes the world knows very little about society like that of Jammu and Kashmir
indeed, they had made 30 pledges to Neelam Valley. Now time demands a leaves no space for the communal and
the people at the time of assuming vision and voice from Muzzafarabad intolerable forces that are hell bent to
office but they conveniently forgot to also, so you can be helpful to bridge the spoil the progress of the state.
issue a white paper while demitting the gap. Anyhow the last issue covering the
office. Kudos to Epilogue (August, 2008 Ladakh story with statical figures Mohit Sharma
issue) for a precise but still fair analysis deserves appreciations Jammu University
of the points of coalition's Common
Minimum Program. My suggestion is that Zubaid Rana, Media should not succumb
when PDP and Congress come for votes Bangalore
again, public should first seek a status Deeply concerned over the
report on these pledges before Thanks ! Wajahat Habibullah developments in Jammu and Kashmir
entertaining them. we have been just trying to get
Reyaz Dar The views expressed by Jenab Wajahat updates from the media. Looking at
Baramulla, Kashmir Habibullah over recent happenings in different outlets one ends up in
the state (in his interview, Epilogue, confusion. One based in Jammu has
August 2008) clearly signify that no entirely different feel of things than
II
secular and informed person like him the one in Srinagar. And those in New
can remain mute at this juncture, Delhi have altogether different story
Nothing serious was done on the CMP
pledges. Bitter but the fact is that many perhaps he knows more about the state to tell. It appears that all means of
of the pledges of the duo went and is worried about the present print and electronic media are
unnoticed. Unfortunately none of the scenario. Wajahat Sahab truly deserves somewhere under the influence of
two partners is willing to own the guilt a warm appreciation for always showing locals and religious groups. May be
that they failed in keeping their courtesy for the cause of Kashmir, surely somewhere crossing the line of true
promises. The serious research and time has compelled him to speak up. journalism. To say the least, I am
analysis of EPILOGUE is appreciable to People like him, across the society need happy that Epilogue is still adopting a
remind us that politicians always to come for the sake of nationality. balanced approach. Keep it up!
remain politicians.
Avenesh Dutta, Ahsan Ahmed Rather, Kanhaiya Bhardwaj,
Poonch Advocate, Anantnag Mumbai.

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
H E A R A N D H E A R

WHO SAID WHAT

'No one can airlift land from Kashmir to Jammu.


It should be given back to the SASB for the yatra
period only. It is just a matter of two months.
We should not forget that scores of locals earn
their livelihood by the yatra'.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Former CM J&K

‘If police agencies continue to use excessive ‘The recent incidents in the state of
force, then it will be difficult for people like Jammu and Kashmir are a cause for
me to continue in Parliament'. concern. In this hour of crisis, divisive
politics will lead us nowhere'.
Omar Abdullah, MP , President, National Conference
Dr . Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Of India

‘India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir


needs azadi from India'.

Arundhati Roy, Social Activists and Writer 'Vohra (NN; Governor J&K) is my
friend but I still feel his exit is
necessary to cool down tempers in
Jammu'.
‘We are Pakistanis and Pakistan is us because Dr. Karan Singh, Former,
we are tied with the country through Islam'. Sadar-e-Riyast, Jammu and Kashmir,

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Leader, Hurriyat Conference,

‘The current attitude of the Kashmiri Leaders of all hues


has convinced us that our own movement for securing a
‘They (Kashmiris) will neither act nor go there. Union Territory status is justified'.
Otherwise, Muzaffarabad is also our area and if they are
happy to go there let them go' Thupstan Chhewang, MP, Leader, Ladakh Union Territory Front

Leela Karan,, Convener, Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti

‘Mehbooba Mufti feels her rhetoric will


mislead the people on the Land
‘The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is Controversy but she is too inexperienced'
reminiscent of the times when a permit was
needed for a visit there'.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Former CM, J&K
L.K Advani, Leader BJP

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
C O L U M N
KEEN EYE

Looking Back
How An Explosive Situation
Was Resolved 44 Years Back
Balraj Puri

When I read Mohammad Yousuf Shaheen's reminiscences of the mass movement in Kashmir from 27 December 1963 to 4
February 1964, for the recovery of the holy relic in a local English daily, I, too, felt like recording my reminiscences as I was
deeply involved in it and had played my humble role in resolving the crises created by it. However, I remained too much
distracted by a mass upsurge in Kashmir followed by a similar upsurge in Jammu for and against revocation of the
government order for transfer of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Even now I would not be able to deal with all the
details of the events which I know but only refer to what I could do during those crucial days. The role I could play in the holy
relic agitation was facilitated due to my close association with its three leaders, Maulana Mohammad Saeed Mussoodi,
Ghulam Mohiuddin Karra and Mirwaiz Farooq. The first too were my old friends, the last, just entered in public life became
my admirer till his end. The three leaders led the movement in a well organized manner.

W
hile in terms of mass pro-Pakistan. Mirwaiz's predecessor on the phone and asked me what was
involvement in the protest Maulvi Yusuf was against Sheikh the hurry. I told him that there was so
movement against Abdullah's decision in favour of much trust for government of India
mysterious disappearance accession to India and had ran away to which his ministry had squandered. He
of Moe-Muqdas, there was no Pakistan whereas GM Karra was leader further asked me "how"? In reply I said,
precedence, it was mainly directed of a pro-Pakistan party Political did he want me to explain the whole
against GM Bakshi and his nominee to Conference. How, the holy relic was story on telephone. Then he asked me
the post of the Prime Minister, recovered from whom, according to to come immediately.
Shamusuddin. This was evident from the Mullik, "was an intelligence operation
incident quoted by Mr. Yousuf Sheikh never to be disclosed." I told Nanda that Vishwanthan had
when Bakshi Rashid's jeep was thrown refused to get the holy relic identified
into the Jhelum and he had to run away As the situation started deteriorating I by the Action Committee and had stated
to save his life. There were appeals to rushed to Delhi to seek the intervention that anybody who demanded
the government of India, in particular to of Indian leaders. The PSP, which was identification was a Pakistani agent,
the Prime Minister Nehru, to intervene the major opposition party in the thus dubbing almost the entire
in the situation. country agreed to sent Nath Pai to population of Kashmir as Pakistanis.
Kashmir as it had earned some goodwill Nanda heard series of my allegations
But contrary to the impression of the as a vocal voice against GM Bakshi's rule. and spoke to the Home Secretary on
author of the article, BN Mullik, the But he fell ill and
Director of Intelligence Bureau and Lal could not go. I sought
Bahadur Shastri did not work in an appointment with
cooperation. Much damage had been by the Home Minister
Mullick and Home Secretary Gulzari Lal Nanda but
Vishwanathan that Shastri was sent by was asked to wait till
Nehru to repair. Even after the relic was a delegation of
restored on January 1964 as Kashmir government,
surreptitiously as it had disappeared, on who was coming to
27 December 1963 the two officers of see him had met him. I
the government of India refused to get insisted that I should
it identified the reason for their refusal meet Nanda before
to do so was that two of the three main official delegation.
leaders of the Action Committee were Nanda himself came

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
C O L U M N
KEEN EYE

phone. Then he repeated his to a person like Lal Bahadur Shastri, a


explanation to me. I told Nanda if the
Home Secretary had the audacity to
minister without portfolio in his
cabinet. Otherwise the situation in
Now
speak lies to him, what he would he Kashmir might take an explosive turn."
doing in Kashmir. Nanda called him
again but meanwhile he had left his
office. He called Mullik and asked him
I gave the letter to Ashok Mehta, a
former socialist leader, who had
joined, on Nehru's appeal, the Planning
Telling
to come to his room immediately I Commission as its deputy Chairman. He
rebutted Mullik's explanation and
asked him that on February 6, it was a
lived in South Avenue just opposite to
Teen Murti, the Prime Minister's
The J&K
Dedar day when the relic had to be residence. I requested him to take the
shown to millions of people who would
gather there, if some score of people
doubted authenticity of the relic,
letter personally to the PM and get his
reply. He could enter PM's bed room
and was able to get a favourable reply.
Stories
there would be explosion. Mullik said
"we have made arrangements to face
the explosion." To that I remarked "it is
not wisdom to first create an explosion
Shastri arrived in Srinagar on 30
January much against the wishes of
Epilogue
Nanda and officials of the Home because there is more to know
then try to face it." I assured both of Ministry. Brushing aside the advice of
them that I had full trust in the Vishwanthan and Mullik, Shastri invited
integrity of Mussoodi, the senior most
leader of the agitation, and that if the
relic was genuine he would certainly
the Action Committee for Iftar and
offered dates and other things which Contact
Muslims usually eat to break their fast.
endorse it. The other two leaders, As a Kayasth of UP, he was well aware of
would never defy the decision of ABDULLAH NEWS AGENCY
customs of Islamic culture. He offered
Mussoodi. In course of my discussion, Lal Chowk, Srinagar
to the Action Committee that he had no
Mullik said that there were certain objection to get the holic relic 9419074859
things that could not be disclosed in identified. Trust begets trust, they say.
national interest. I almost lost my Shastri's goodwill gesture as against
temper, and said," Nanda ji have you distrust of the officials, disarmed the RAINA NEWS AGENCY
called me to get a lesson in national Action Committee and its members
interest from a person who was serving
Residency Road, Jammu
offered to cooperate and send him the
he British imperialism when we were list of identifiers. Which "upet
fighting against it." Nanda tried to Vishwanthan and Mullik."
pacify me. I enlisted the support of ABC STATIONERS AND
Jayaprakash Narayan also who spoke to DISTRIBUTORS
Nanda in my presence. But I was not Maulana Massoodi told the Action
Committee members that as the holy Leh
satisfied. I had so far avoided to
contact Nehru as he had fallen relic ws a spiritual heritage, it needed
ill—perhaps first illness in his public Basirat (spiritual eye) and not merely
life—and it was announced, on his Basarat (physical eye) for the job of CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY
behalf, that he would not see anybody identification. Every body agreed, and New Delhi
till he recovered. the task was left to Meerak Shah, the
holiest saint of Kashmir in Rishi order.
On the appointed day Meerak Shah
I wrote a "personal and urgent" letter declared "Haq" meaning right. All the OXFORD BOOK STORE
addressed to him wherein after gathering started dancing with joy and New Delhi, Mumbai,
apologizing for approaching him during shouts of "Mubarak, Mubarak." Thus a Calcutta, Bangalore,
his illness, I requested to entrust the potentially explosive situation was
job of dealing the situation in Kashmir
Chennai & Goa
turned into universal celebration.

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
I N F O C U S
FIRE 2008

'First priority is restoration of land; discrimination


issue can be dealt with in phased manner’
Interview : Brig Suchet Singh, SAYSS

How do you define the ongoing agitation the anti-Jammu discriminatory mindset. blockade. The media is also being fooled
in Jammu? There are varying versions. Is When a piece of land was allotted to the and its surprising how the media got
it strictly for restoration of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, the taken-away by this rumour without
Shri Amarnath Shrine Board or it includes separatists and mainstream parties checking the ground realities. They can
the larger issues of discrimination agitated against the decision in Kashmir. also make research and bring the truth
against Jammu? The government succumbed to the into light. Why no voice of economic-
pressure just in five days blatantly blocked came from Ladakh, when the
Such eruptions can not been at spur of the ignoring the Jammu sentiment. Jammu highway is same which passes through
moment and at any petty issue. There was was taken for granted as they have done Kashmir Valley. It was a rumour
an anger pent up for last 60 years which over past 60 years. concocted by the political parties.
erupted when all limits of patience had
exhausted. The ongoing agitation in Therefore, the first step towards It is understood that the SAYSS, at no
Jammu represents the popular aspirations standing against the discrimination is to point of time, made any attempt to give
and anger of the people of Jammu which have this land restored to the Shrine a communal colour to the agitation but
has remained bottled up for the more than Board. We will step by step go further on still there were some unpleasant
60 years. People across all affiliations of other issues and let us hope for a positive incidents. There is an undeniable
faith and politics are supporting the Shri outcome. Now the people in Jammu are communal tension in Poonch, Rajouri
Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti which well informed and perhaps prepared to and Kishtwar and then there is
has been spearheading the agitation. We ask for and fight for their rights and this is migration of some 100 families of
have an overwhelming support 70 the first step but its true the way ahead is Gujjars in Jammu. How do you look at
political, non-political, social, trade and quite difficult but not impossible. these incidents?
even literary organizations. The core issue
before us, of course, is the restoration of What do you have to say to say on the We are happy that at all stages we have
land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board but allegations of economic blockade of tried to keep the traditional communal
at the same time we are seized of the Kashmir? During initial days of harmony in Jammu intact. There were
discrimination factor which can not be agitation, various leaders of Shri many attempts by National Conference
ignored. The main direction of the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti and and Peoples Democratic Party and in
agitation at present is on the core issue, also leaders of various supporting some cases even by the government to
and the discrimination issue too will be organizations –including the BJP, Shiv defame the ongoing agitation; Sangarsh
dealt with in phased manner at suitable Sena, Tankers Association and Bar Samiti condemns any step of any political
platforms. Once the agitation achieves its Association –have been on record party or person that tries to sabotage the
present purpose then it will keep on threatening snap of supplies to the secular social fabric in the society.
adopting different modes to address the Valley. Don't you think this put India in a
discrimination issue. difficult situation on Kashmir as Even the Muslims are supporting this cause
separatists politicized the issue to of Jammu, they are a part of Samiti, if at
The demands are for restoration of land invite international attention? some places some miscreants did this
to the Board and recall of the Governor. coward act, we condemn it and want a
There is perception and expectations This is all a bundle of lies. What to talk judicial probe to bring the guilty to book.
that the agitation shall be called off once about it, I think people who are But one thing is clear there are some forces
these demands are met. Then what propagating this, even do not know what who never miss any opportunity to raise
happens to the larger issues of does it mean. From the office of conflicts and we have evidence that some
discrimination against Jammu? Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir to people incited by the NC and PDP were
PMO to Food Corporation of India and given free hand by the local administration
Look, from where did this revocation of Hindustan Petroleum, all have made it to threat some particular community in
land allotment come? It is an outcome of clear that there was never any economic other districts of Jammu.

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
I N F O C U S
FIRE 2008

Jammu And Kashmir


Beginning Of The Endgame

Gautam Navlakha

Having scored a self-goal by its acts of omission and commission it will be difficult for Indian state to
push the genie of freedom back into the bottle of indifference. Once an idea grips the imagination of
people it becomes a material force. The idea of 'azaadi' from India has truly resurfaced with a passion.
On the other hand by privileging fight against armed militancy and pretending that popular
aspirations for freedom from India had waned Indian state became victim of its own disinformation
and remained disinclined to take people seriously. Talks with Mirwaiz Omar Farooq led Hurriyet,
never popular with the people, were stalled while crackdown on dissidents rose. There was no
movement of any kind which suggested that Indian state was at all sincere about fulfilling any of
the promises and assurances it had been making. Let alone release political prisoners arbitrary
arrests of political dissidents and defenders of democratic rights, some of who were targets of
attacks, have carried on.

U
ntil recently it was claimed Of course firing across LOC did take the Indian government was itself
that militancy had petered place but Indian army's role in setting up downplaying militancy then why were
out, but that the threat of a forward post in violation of ceasefire they fighting shy over troop reduction?
infiltration remained. As a at Nowgam sector has been ignored. The former Governor SK Sinha boasted
matter of fact number of infiltration (Parvez Bukhari in the Mail Today that in 2002 there were 10 casualties per
bids has sharply declined; officially in August 1, 2008 ) As a final proof it was day which came down to below 2 per day
2001 it was said to be 2417 and claimed that non-militancy related when he departed. Whereas number of
declined to 311 in 2007. Up to May 2008 crimes have shot up! Arguably, militants operating varies from between
it was said to be 120. Indian government statistics can be manipulated. But if 150 (yes hundred and fifty)-1200.
also claimed a seventy percent decline
in militancy related incidents between
1990 and 2007, from 3500 to 1000
incidents. Firing incidents came down
from 671 to 183. Bomb explosions
declined from 1000 to just 50. Killings
of civilians declined from 914 to 153.
(The Tribune, 12 December, 2007).
However, official propaganda claims
that ISI was up to its old trick. Albeit it
was said that situation has reached
“normal level”. That people are
participating in existing political
process and shunning 'separatists'.
Besides, ceasefire was being observed
by India and Pakistan along the LOC
since November 2003 resulting in ending
mortar shelling and a fall in infiltration.

Epilogue Ø

September 2008
I N F O C U S
FIRE 2008

Obviously, all this meant was that Indian not how long the movement can sustain attitude of the security forces and their
military no longer faced a magnitude of itself. Or whether squabbling leaders vulnerable dependence on New Delhi
threat which called for obtrusive will manage to de-rail the momentum. for their physical well being. When a
presence 24X7 by seven lakhs armed This could be wishful thinking on part of State ceases to present itself as
personnel. Yet they go on expanding and the Indian state. Political mood of the protector of the beleaguered and
occupying land. So how do they justify people has already been displayed. That unable to ensure free flow of
their presence? The arrogant claim is such mass mobilization was possible for movement on highways and
that Indian military is here to protect so many days itself shows that it can be transportation of supplies of essential
the people from “cross border commodities, despite extraordinary
terrorists”. But when this , as per their presence of Indian army on the
own claim, no longer can be sustained
leader of a Jammu based transport highway, then fear fuelled by this
then it is clear that India's enemies association Ashok Nanda told the dependent relationship overtakes
remains inside J&K and who by their Tribune (August 21, 2008) that other considerations. It is here that
very religious identity are perceived to Indian State's abysmal role, especially
Kashmir valley will soon face of its law enforcing agencies, which
be real or potential supporters of
acute shortage of foodgrains failed to stop the agitators in Jammu,
Pakistan. Therefore, suspect in the eyes
of the Indian state and a demonized because four out of six FCI depots Kathua and Udhampur from fomenting
are running out of stocks. communal divide and blocking the
projection of the movement becomes
National Highway for nearly three
necessary. The perception of anyone According to him normally 200 weeks, which enraged a people whose
demanding 'azaadi' as being anti- trucks use to daily carry right to life was imperiled even as their
national and pro-Pakistani may have
been a part of disinformation campaign
foodgrains to the valley now less suffering has been belittled by the
than 20 trucks are plying. If this is Indian state and its 'good 'people.
but it has deep roots and it suits Indian
state to remain in the victim mode. So not a form of blockade then what
Economic Blockade
much so that Union home secretary is. Worrying part of this is the fact
recently forgot that by accusing
that this is happening when the The report presented by the J&K police
Pakistan for fomenting trouble in the
valley he was implicitly foregrounding Indian state cries shrill that there to the all party delegation on August 10
the incompetent role played by a has been no economic blockade! speaks of “(a)gitation started blocking
bloated and pampered security the National Highway repeatedly with a
apparatus in India. Surely if Pakistan view to obstruct supplies to valley
repeated. Routine life will return. including LPG, oil, petrol, diesel etc”.
can bring lakhs of people out on the
However, periodic public rallies will And went on to say that “(m)any
roads of Indian held Kashmir there is lot continue to take place. Thus it will be
to be said for the ineptitude of the incidents of attacks on Highway on
presumptuous to read routine life as a individual vehicles and supply load
Indian state. If this is what policy return to normalcy. In other words this carriers…(and) beating of drivers
makers want us Indians to believe then upsurge has unambiguously displayed created a sense of insecurity…”.
they obviously feel Indian people are the organized and self-managed Deniability of the blockade by New
gullible. One can not expect good sense popular desire to be free of India. This Delhi is astounding because it flies in
or 'good faith'( the mantra to wash off all is not going to dissipate anytime soon. the face of people's own experience of
sins) to prevail under these
shortage as well of the police
circumstances.
The agitation which began in June over department of J&K. Why is it that fruit
“diversion” of forest land for Amarnath merchants of Delhi's Azadpur mandi say
It could be that authorities feel Yatra has proceeded beyond it. The that in the first fifteen days of August
confident in restoring authority of the issue of 800 kanals which brought only 124 fruit trucks reached the market
Indian state as time passes because people out in June has been overtaken as against 814 in the same period in
livelihood concerns can come in the way by demand for 'azadi' caused by their August 2007? If it was not a result of
of mass mobilization. But the point is sense of insecurity at the communal blockade then how come it took 19

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days, from July 25 to August 14, for of army, attacks continue to take place? demand freedom from India? Why is it
Avtar Singh (truck # PB 08 0997) Surely their presence is unnecessary that out of 10,513 incidents that took
carrying medical supplies from and in fact contributing to choking place in Jammu region 10,098 incidents
Jalandhar for SMHS hospital Srinagar,? ( civilian traffic on the two lane highway? took place in Hindu majority areas of
Greater Kashmir, August 15, 2008) Or Again why were Jammu's BJP leaders Jammu (3758), Kathua (2270),
how come five drivers were attacked in publicly declaring their intent to starve Udhampur (1850) and Riyasi (740)?
Kathua when they were part of an army people in the valley in order to 'teach Does it make it a regional movement or
convoy on 17 August going to Delhi. them a lesson'? Why was no action taken in fact a movement confined to
(Rising Kashmir, August 20, 2008) There against them? Why is it that out of the predominately Hindu areas? Is it a
are stories a galore in valley press. Let 1171 persons arrested, including those regional movement that is driving
alone this leader of a Jammu based who probably lynched the two J&K Muslims to move out of Hindu majority
transport association Ashok Nanda told police constables, Zakir Husian and areas? Is it not fear that drives them to
the Tribune (August 21, 2008) that Zafar Javed, all were given bail? It is take this step? Is this unaided migration
Kashmir valley will soon face acute also important to ask why second rung not a bigger blot on India's constitutional
shortage of foodgrains because four out leaders of the agitation in Kashmir have democracy? Is it alright to abuse the
of six FCI depots are running out of been charged with waging war, sedition 'separatists' for migration of kashmiri
stocks. According to him normally 200 and criminal conspiracy when no such pandits from the valley even when the
trucks use to daily carry foodgrains to acts were invoked against the Jammu Indian state provided them 'safe
the valley now less than 20 trucks are agitators? Why is it that out of 129 cases passage'? But to be mute when Muslims
plying. If this is not a form of blockade registered by the police in Jammu start fleeing their home and hearths in
then what is. Worrying part of this is the region none were under any draconian Jammu driven by Hindu fanatic mobs
fact that this is happening when the law or provision? and hostile security forces?
Indian state cries shrill that there has
been no economic blockade!
Does it mean that agitators who carry So obvious is the patronage and
tricolour, but engage in mayhem are to protection extended to the rabble
Besides, if the situation is normal, and
be treated with compassion, whereas rousers in Jammu that it is astonishing
there has never been any blockade, why
those who remain unarmed and that otherwise sensitive people did not
is the army out on the highway since
peaceful but carry green flags are once speak out for years against
August 4? And why despite the presence
persecuted because they dare to permission granted to Bajrang Dal and

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VHP to hold weapon training camps in private lives, and indeed even camps in J&K (excluding those in
Jammu, which is a Disturbed Area. They “transform their will and attitude” as is Jammu, Kargil, Leh, Akhnoor and
publicly display weapons during their the case in J&K. Publicly Indian state Udhampur) and these occupy 90,000
rallies including in Jammu city but pretended it was heeding the public acres of farm and orchard land and 1500
violation of Arms Act is condoned. Let feeling which wanted demilitarization buildings. But the appetite for acquiring
alone authorities even the 'good' people when it setup a committee headed by land continues to grow. For instance in
choose to look the other way. They can India's defense secretary to look into saffron rich Lethapora in Pampore
go and disrupt press conferences at will the demand. The incongruity of a huge tehsil, where no construction is
anywhere in Jammu but no harm ever presence of armed forces occupying permitted under state laws, the CRPF
comes to them. Ninety per cent of the large tracts of land even as the number has demanded 5000 kanals for its group
25,000 members of the Village Defence headquarters. Indian army is
Committees in Doda district, (with 60- demanding 10,000 kanals for expansion
40% Muslim-Hindu ratio) are armed As of now 2204 kanals , of which of Army's Kundroo Filed Ammunition
Hindus. How many of them are members 1500 kanals is forest land (and Depot (FAD). Besides, Indian Air Force
of right wing extremist groups is which possesses 850 acres in
from which 800 kanals were to be
anybody's guess. But that there are a Awantipora has asked for 763 acres of
large number with such leaning bodes ill “diverted” to SASB for temporary additional land. Army which was given
for the people. use) are being used for yatris in 212 acres in Sharifabad in exhange for
Baltal route. This land includes vacating 139 acres of Tattoo Grounds
Finally, the sharp contrast between how Garrison in Srinagar has taken
56 kanals of private land
Jammu agitators were met by security possession of 100 acres at Sharifabad
including a graveyard. In other but refuses to budge from Tattoo
forces and how trigger happy they were
in Kashmir drives home the hostile words not only must SASB Act be ground! In the Cattle Research Centre at
nature of Indian government forces amended to make its membership Manasbal spread over 352 acre army in
towards predominately Muslim people. local but its powers must be 1990 first asked to set up few bunkers.
In one go all that was being claimed Then built barracks and laid claim to
delimited and the yatra be 252 acres of the land in 2005.
about normalcy having been restored
evaporated before the heat of people's
regulated with restricting the Furthermore, the annual Landmine
anger. That foundation of normalcy number of yatris to one lakh. Report 2007 states that about 160 sq
were tenuous was never understood by kms in Jammu and 1730 sq kms land
the charmed circle of policy and remain mined. Speaker of J&K
of militants, said to be operating has Assembly recently pointed out that
decision makers.
officially come down to 1200, was bad 3500 acres of agricultural land in his
enough. But by rejecting constituency Chamb (Jammu) have
So let us list two blunders committed by demilitarization, pull back of troops, been mined and 6000 families
the Indian state in recent times in J&K. reduction of troops etc in February last displaced. J&K Tourism minister told
along with the new rents for acquired media on October 19, 2007 about army
The Issue of Land land announced by India's Ministry of violated Master Plan for Gulmarg and
Defense ranging from 2.1 to 5 times is a without requisite permission “(t)hey
It requires no rocket science to realise way to buy silence of the people, for have occupied 400 acres of land on
that involuntary alienation of land in some more time. Which is all very well which they have raised huge concrete
general, and cultivable one in except that this sends a message that structures”. (The Asian Age October
particular, will enrage people. This Indian armed forces are in no mood to 20, 2007)
turns into fury when land is acquired for vacate occupation of land and they are
armed security personnel who maintain here for a long haul. Thus new rent structure may even be a
an intrusive presence among civilians precursor of occupation of more land.
designed to control their public and There are reportedly 671 security forces For instance, until recently the Ministry

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of Home Affairs set a standard of 75 the norm and the earning varies local Muslim participation in the yatra,
acres of land per battalion for central between Rs 90,000 to Rs 125,000. (One including sharing one third of offering
para military forces. Now the MHA has quintal fetches Rs 1800). Thus the offer with the Malik familes, it chose to
asked these forces to acquire 150 acres of Rs 10,000 per kanal for orchard is very endorse the Hindu extremist agenda of
of land per bn. This is being done under low. Depending upon the fruit or crop it creating Hindu stakeholders in J&K.
the argument that this will enable could be less than 2 and at best no more
better housing facility for the jawans 10% of the actual income. Thus the rent In order to understand the magnitude of
and also allow these forces to set up does not compensate the farmers for the blunder committed by Indian State
schools and hospitals for the family of the loss of income. Put it another way let us begin by taking a look at salient
the jawans as well as local population. farmers or orchard owners are subsiding features of the Amaranath issue which
With average size of family being 5.5 the deployment of armed forces. first stoked fire of resentment. Shri
even if 100,000 soldiers bring their Amaranath Shrine Board (SASB) set up
families then population of such people This by no means is all. This land also by the National Conference in 2000,
will go up by several lakhs. Could this be provides employment. It is well known comprised non state subjects, presided
an indirect way of demographic that largest source of employment in over by Hindu governor, saw itself as
transformation? (2) J&K is agriculture and horticulture. being a sovereign body accountable to
Remove this land from cultivation that no one and went ahead to takeover an
Having said this let us consider certain much less earning and lesser number of entire area to prepare for larger and
hidden facts which lurks behind the jobs become available. Seen in this light larger turnout of pilgrims. Under clause
rent hike. The previous levels from the pitiable rent being offered is a 16(d) of the SASB Act authorized them
which rent has been increased were fraction of the earning and its spin off to carry out 'development activity
pathetically low. So two or five times also includes decline in employment. concerning the area of shrine and its
increase must be tempered by this fact. Besides, even if 10% of the total cropped surroundings'. Using this, as well as
For instance Class I category of irrigated Jammu High Court's pronouncement
area of 1,126.000 acres or 9 mn kanal in
land the rent was previously Rs 1125 per that everything being done by the board
J&K is removed from production it
kanal per year, which now has been will be deemed to be done in 'good
means, for an economy so dependent on
increased to Rs 3381 per kanal. For faith', SASB began to make demands
agriculture and horticulture as that of
double cropped irrigated land the rent which were resented. Worse they
J&K, a huge loss. All these losses are not
was Rs 1688 per kanal and has been pretended to be a body which was
calculated. (3)
increased to Rs 4087. For orchards the virtually unaccountable to any
rent earlier was Rs 1575 and has been institution. Recall the infamous
increased to Rs 10,000 per kanal. This context of how angry people are statement of CEO of SASB on January 1,
over occupation of their land and Indian 2008 wherein he claimed that the
State's attempts to buy silence through legislature has no authority to question
For another the rent increase does not
rent hikes provides the background in SASB or for them to answer their
take into account the loss suffered by
which SASB landed itself. queries. And yet the SASB, it is said, was
those whose land is thus alienated. To
get an idea one has to consider some set up on the basis of the
other figures. One kanal of apple Revisit Nitish Sengupta Committee recommendation of the Dr Nitish
orchard is officially said to have 12 trees Sengupta Committee (1996)? A reading
although upto 18 is not uncommon. This Indian state's biggest blunder on of the report makes it abundantly clear
translates into 300 to 360 boxes of fruit. Amarnath was to promote a Hindu that the committee's recommendations
The income varies from Rs 1.2 to 1.5 Shaivite pilgrimage as a patriotic were scrupulously ignored.
lakhs. As for walnut one kanal is said to enterprise forgetting the constitutional
have 6 to 8 trees. Income from this truth that all Hindus are not Indians and For instance, SASB was not tasked with
could be anywhere between Rs 4.25 to 6 all Indians are not Hindus. And, micro managing the yatra or to turn it
lakhs. If the land is used for paddy therefore, religious affiliation is into an all Hindu affair from which
cultivation between 50-70 quintals is irrelevant. Also instead of building on Muslims were to be kept away. Among

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the various acts of governor SK Sinha Gomukh in Uttarakhand. At both Kailash livelihood. Any damage to the ecology
was to summarily discontinue the Mansarovar and Gomukh the period of could prove fatal for them, which is
traditional role of the Malik family as pilgrimage is restricted and the what pollution of Lidder river by SASB's
protector of the shrine and their right to numbers regulated. System of ceiling unregulated promotion of yatra and
get one third of the offering. And on number is practiced at Vashnodevi destruction of the ecology of Nunwan
instead of regulating and restricting the also where a cap of 20,000 per day is in valley threatens to bring about.
number of pilgrims SASB went in to place. In fact Nitish Sengupta on page
overdrive to make it for a longer 52 of the report says that “(a)long with The report proposed that
duration and for larger and larger the regulation of the total number of administration of the yatra should be
numbers. Non state subjects were being pilgrims to about 1 lakh during the 30 handed over to the department of
engaged for all kinds of services day period, we should also regulate the tourism, as is the case in every other
traditionally performed by the local maximum number of people who can be state of India where religious tourism
population both Kashmiri Muslims and permitted at any point of this journey at comes under the purview of the tourism
Pandits. any given time”. And adds “we could lay department of the respective states.
down a ceiling of 3000 pilgrims that can They wanted that local tentwallahs
So what were Nitish Sengupta be permitted to travel on any of these should be allowed to offer
committees main recommendations? sectors in a single day”. (Three sectors accommodation and dhaba owners
are Chandawanri to Sheshnag; Sheshnag
provide food for yatris. (p 62).
to Panjtarani and Panjtarani to the
Setup after the 1996 Amarnath Yatra Moreover, in so far as the high powered
Cave).
Tragedy in which 205 yatris and 25 board was concerned the committee
porters and security personnel lost their recommended that the CM should be
lives the report emphasized that “the It also called for restricting havans the chairperson. The board was to
pilgrimage to Amarnath is not just performance at the Holy Cave since supervise the yatra and prepare
pilgrimage but high altitude they “pollute the purity of the strategic plan for providing facilities.
mountaineering” (p 54). It wanted a atmosphere and also constitute fire
minimum age of 15 and maximum of 65 hazard”. (p58) The report opposed
As of now 2204 kanals , of which 1500
for yatris. (p 55) The report repeatedly proposal for making road from
kanals is forest land (and from which
makes the point that at this altitude, Chandawari to Sheshnag and then up to
800 kanals were to be “diverted” to
the hazardous nature of the track and Panjtarani motorable. Because
SASB for temporary use) are being used
uncertain weather number of pilgrims “(a)llowing the motor vehicles to go
for yatris in Baltal route. This land
and period of yatra has to be strictly into this area will not only damage the
includes 56 kanals of private land
regulated. “It has to be emphasized environment of these areas, but will
including a graveyard. In other words
here that carrying capacity of this also spoil the pristine scenic charm of
not only must SASB Act be amended to
pathway of about 32 kms (between these mountains and valleys.” (p 60) But
make its membership local but its
Chandanwari and the holy cave) is SASB has gone beyond and introduced
powers must be delimited and the yatra
extremely limited. It passes all along at helicopter services for pilgrims which is
a source of major concern. It was be regulated with restricting the
very high altitude, well above the tree
evident that the meltdown of the number of yatris to one lakh. Or else
line and through areas with no human
'lingam' within fifteen days of yatra this devout Hindus can bid goodbye to the
habitation”. (p 5) For eight months of
year was contributed by presence of health of the area for posterity.
the year there is snow and formation of
ice lingam, nautral stalagmite, begins huge numbers of yatris and the
only by June. helicopter services. The critical Communal Prejudice or Jingoism of
importance of protecting the ecology of Officials
this area can not be underplayed when
In this sense Amarnath yatra cannot be
it is realized that while tourists come Next blunder was in persisting with a
compared with any other pilgrimages
and go local inhabitants depend on the Governor who flouted all constitutional
and the closest parallel can be drawn
water and land for their life and norms and pushed Hindutva agenda.
with Kailsah Mansarovar in Tibet and

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One person is like tree in a forest but a disappearance of 8-10,000, uncovering economic blockade is located.
constitutional position of governor and of mass graves in just one Uri sector,
his continuance is reflection of Indian cross firing, encounters, custodial Long and short of it is that Indian state
state's policy. Were one to go through deaths….. Even where relief and has become its own worst enemy. There
what former Governor SK Sinha said in rehabilitation is concerned the is no point blaming Pakistan,
his Field Marshal Cariappa memorial promptness with which New Delhi fundamentalists, human rights activists
lecture on August 16, his Hindutva announced compensation for one and usual alibis used by the Indian state.
proclivities are self-evident. It was his Kuldeep Kumar who committed suicide It is time we acknowledge that 'national
great contribution that Centre for in Jammu is unmatched by anything security' paranoia cannot hide the
Kashmir Studies, set up in Kashmir they announced through 19 years of reality that Muslims of J&K have no
University, uses 13th century as the cut war to the families of Indian confidence in the Indian state. The
off date thereby history of Kashmir's government's forces atrocities. Did one march to Muzzafarabad was not a
Hindu past is studied but not its Islamic hear of any compensation for the 34 rhetoric or a drama enacted but
present's past. This was his killed and 500 injured or property something that emerged from this
understanding of 'kashmiriyat'. And it damaged by the India security forces in palpable sign of fear and was perceived
was his principal secretary, who just 48 hours? as one way in which J&K's dependence
officiated as CEO of the board, who on India could be reduced. In any case
went out of his way to insist that land In fact it is strange that despite entire Jammu-Srinagar highway is an artificial
was “permanently” transferred to the Jammu and Kashmir region being link and by itself unsuited for 21st
board and insisted that “as the “disturbed” whereas in Jammu security century said to be an era of
population of India will increase we will forces waited for executive magistrate 'globalisation'.
have to consider further extension of to issue orders to open fire, in the valley
the yatra period”. (Greater Kashmir no such procedure was followed. It is
In this sense we are back to square one.
June 18, 2008). instructive that Indian army called in
And just as well. Because this time
4500 soldiers from 9 corps in Himachal
there are no militants but people out on
Pradesh because they did not want
The fact that Indian state allowed him the streets. Indian state and India's
334,000 soldiers deployed in counter
to do whatever he wished was perhaps 'good' people can ignore this now at
insurgency duties in the valley to be
no accident. Once a movement is their own peril. Perhaps a bout of self-
disturbed? This sleigh of hand meant
demonized, passing it off as a form of criticism, good for intellectual clarity,
that these 4500 troops belonging to 9th
'proxy war' being waged by Pakistan, might be in order to ensure that at least
Corps operated under magistrate's
and underplaying the role of the Indian now six decades of obfuscation and
order and not under AFSPA as in a
state including crimes committed by 'disturbed' area. On the other hand, the prevarication can be bid goodbye and
Indian security forces then next stop is sorry spectacle of highly communalized the reality of popular aspiration for
manipulating people's minds. Such has CRPF forces entering hospitals, firing opting out of India be given its due.
been the nature of Indian state's tear gas shells inside them, (a war crime Instead of fearing right of self-
attempt to manage people's will, 'turn under Geneva Convention), opening fire determination it is time we embrace it
it around' as the army's doctrine on which targeted head and chest, non-use because this offers us the only chance of
small war proposes. That killings of of rubber bullets, venting their anger a peaceful and democratic solution. It
209 Hindus and Sikhs and migration of by destroying properties on several offers this to every state subject across
about two lakhs Kashmiri Pandits is localities in Srinagar……and yet their the LOC divided Jammu and Kashmir as
played up but by far the larger picture crime of excessive use of force and well as communally polarized Jammu
of killings by Indian security forces violation of their constitutional pledge and Kashmir an opportunity to make
remains shrouded in obscurity in the did not bring Indian people out on the their wishes known. It is only when we
name of “national interest”. Not much streets in solidarity with those who have know what people want that
is ever said about the 70,000 Muslim suffered most and continue to suffer.
substantive negotiations can ensue.
killings, arrest and torture of at least Until then the hoary resilience,
60,000 persons, 33 recorded massacres, It is in the midst of this reality that euphemism for prolonged military

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suppression, displayed by Indian state, will carry on further aggravating the


dispute. And people will continue to vote with their feet and fists against a Interview with
forced union with India which threatens their fundamental right to life. Shabir Ahmed
While one wishes wiser counsel to prevail the truth is that 61 years of
regression makes it abundantly clear that it is left to the people of India, and Shah
not the state, to force a change in Indian state's policy towards the people of
J&K.

Amidst all the claims of the Indian government that allegation of economic Things were not like till three
blockade being “bunkum” and Pakistan inspired propaganda, Ministry of months back. Why this sudden
Home Affairs has finally conceded that at least between July 31 to August 4 upsurge in the Valley?
there were “disruptions” of supplies. One should be thankful for small
mercies from the centre of obfuscation and extreme right wing People in the Valley are known
pronouncements which is what MHA has become. ( Mail Today August 19, for the patience. But patience
2008.) In fact going by the threat held out by All J&K Oil Tankers Association too has got a limit. If your
Jammu truckers will not load supplies for the valley if land issue is not understanding says that there is
resolved by August 20, 2008. (The Tribune 19, August 2008) And the fruit a sudden eruption then I must
merchants of Delhi's Azadpur Mandi have said that between 1-15 August in correct you. There was no
2007 when 814 fruit trucks reached Delhi, this year in the same period only sudden eruption.
124 trucks landed at Delhi. (The Hindustan Times 20 August, 2008). Dissent and protests
have various
manifestations and
It is worth noting that total land holding of the armed forces in India is
silence is one among
approximately 1 mn acres. Recently the Indian Planning Commission of India
them. When you talk
had wanted army to part with 2 lakh acres of “surplus” land lying with with
about the situation
62 cantonments. This request was turned down and instead the army asked
three months back, I
for an additional 2 lakh acres! The point is that neither are armed forces
would say, there
willing to part with land they occupy nor is their appetite for more land going were protests in
to decline. silence which has now broken.

Just to provide an idea of the acute unemployment the J&K government By mobilizing such huge
which dealt harshly with 5000 state roadways employees for demanding back crowd in Srinagar what do
wages (they were not paid for five months) claiming they did not have money you want to convey?
to pay them has lifted ban on filling vacancies on state employment, which
they had imposed on March 5, 2008. Thereby 30,000 vacancies of which 4978
We have not been mobilizing
for gazetted posts, 20,000 non-gazetted posts and 7000 Class IV posts will get
any crowds. People have been
filled. The point to note is that state government which time and again
coming out at their own. There
delays payment of wages to some of its employees is now going to fill 30,000
were over two lakh people who
posts. Where is the money going to come from? Thus on the one hand armed
led a march to Muzaffarabad
forces occupy cultivable land, which helps reduce food and fruit production
when we were showered with
and reduce employment. And on the other hand additional employment is
bullets. Then on August 22,
being generated in the state sector even when they do not have the money to
more than 10 lakh people
pay their salaries! The begging bowl syndrome will get strengthened. And
a s s e m b l e d a t th e I d g a h
Indian state can then go around propagating that they cover nearly 80%
grounds. There was just one
J&K's expenditure. This feeds into the myth that J&K is incapable of
announcement appealing to
meeting its own expenditure and to undercut the argument about the
come out in solidarity with the
economic viability of J&K were they left alone. Thus create dependence
issue. Elders, youth, women
and then flaunt it to rub the nose of people in the mud.

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and children all came out in tens of are ready for talks. orders diverting of land to Shri
thousands. Tens of thousands of more Amarnath Shrine Board following
people were on their way but the space What should be the contours of a protests in the Valley have led to
in Srinagar City was not enough to dialogue? tension in Jammu. What do you have
accommodate them. There were no to say on this?
speeches. There was no politics. Lakhs
We have never set any conditions. The
of them raised their hands for their This is the worst propaganda we have
basic thing is that there should be a
basic political rights. This was a sort of ever seen. Some people in Jammu are
tripartite dialogue with the people of
referendum which the Government of easily and conveniently forgetting that
Kashmir as a principle party.
India and International community not they but we have been hosts of the
should take note of. Shri Amarnath pilgrims. This is most
Yo u l a u n c h e d a m a r c h t o
secular tradition of our Valley. Can you
Muzaffarabad alleging that there was
Referendum for what and what trace one single incident of history
economic blockade of Kashmir. Was
political rights you are referring to? when the Amarnath pilgrims were put to
there so serious a problem? The
any inconvenience, harassment or
Governor's administration has all
Precisely, Azadi. People of Kashmir have humiliation by any Kashmiri? I would
along been denying any snap of
made it known that they want Azadi. We take this opportunity to convey it all our
supplies except that whatever
have long been asking for consultations, Hindu brothers and sisters across India
irregularities may occur when the
a referendum or any exercise to know that Amarnath pilgrimage is as much
situation is disturbed.
what Kashmiris want but this right was sacred for us as it is for them. It is a part
denied to us. Now people are coming of our tradition that we, every year,
You are a journalist; check the press
out to let it known to one and all, organize a special welcome function on
record of last two months. Every new
clearly and without any ambiguity that the arrival of pilgrims to accord a
day you will find statements which
they want Azadi. respect to their sentiments.
civilized people would not issue even
for the rogue states. And then our
You mean that doors for a dialogue or Then why this controversy on the land
supply lines were completely chocked,
now shut? issue?
the drivers were beaten up, trucks were
set ablaze, and our local produce was
Absolutely not. Our doors are wide open made to rot. What wrong did we do by We have not created any controversy
as they always have been. If anyone marching to Muzaffarabad. All we nor is this any issue for us. Our issue is
shut the doors it was the Government of wanted to do was to sell our produce very clear and this has been clearly
India. At least now is the high time and procure the essentials. We are conveyed by the people of Kashmir
Government of India realized urgency more than two lakh people, unarmed last Friday. If at all there is a
of a dialogue. We are always ready to and leading a peaceful march. They controversy it has been created by
get engaged in a meaningful dialogue. (government) applied brute force and some people in Jammu and their
Kashmir's case is entirely different but sprayed bullets on us. What is the patrons elsewhere in the country.
there are also other places in India justification for this? Amarnath pilgrimage is a symbol of
where people are fighting for the Kashmir's secular tradition and we will
political rights. At all these places and Now have a look at the situation in continue to make all efforts to keep it
with all such people, Government of Jammu. There is an agitation and the up. You should note that the number of
India has been talking why any positive region, particularly the Winter Capital pilgrims visiting the Amarnath Shrine
movement on Kashmir is not there. City, is burning in fire of anger. was highest this year. Had there been a
They try to isolate us, they project a Kashmir Muslims in general and problem from our side or had there
wrong picture of public sentiments and Kashmiri separatists in particular are been an inconvenience to the pilgrims
then they ask us that why are we on accused of hurting the Hindu they would not have come in big
roads? This is not fair. Let them come we sentiments. The cancellation of numbers.

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Post-Agitation
Uphill Task For Jammu’s
Politics, Economy
Epilogue News & Analysis

The 60-day long Jammu agitation has been finally called off after the Governor NN Vohra's administration
hammered a peace pact with the agitating Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS)–a 70 party
conglomerate spearheading the agitation. The final agreement sets aside the controversial 100 acres tract of
land at Baltal and allows the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to use it for creating facilities for the pilgrims. The land
will be put to such use for three months a year and its ownership title shall not undergo any change. When
protests had erupted in Kashmir Valley against diversion of same land to the Board, the main objection was
change of ownership status –ie from the Forest department to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Therefore for
reaching at the final agreement to end agitation in Jammu, it is obviously seen that both the SAYSS and the
Government made some climb down from their stated positions. What leaves one confused is that fact that such
use of land (as agreed upon in the pact) has never been objected by any party in Kashmir. Finally pragmatism
seems to have dawned upon both parties concerned even though Jammu has not remained the same place again
after two months of violent protests. The losses are enormous but at a first look one finds the mainstream
competitive politics having disappeared from the local landscape.

Loosing Political Plot compulsion or will, had become more or the agitation gathered momentum,
less constituent parts of the Sangharsh they had to endorse every thing what
It will be a tough time for the Samiti –condemning their own parties the Sangharsh Samiti had to say. No
competitive politics to resume its and criticizing their own charters. other party or leader would have
normal course. Unlike Kashmir, Jammu The BJP an essential constituent of the addressed as many press conferences as
region has a truly competitive Sangharsh Samiti was initially seen as Congress leaders did address all these
mainstream politics with Congress, the eventual beneficiary of the months. Interestingly, the agenda of
National Conference, BJP and the newly agitation as it was the Congress their press conferences and statements
emerging Panthers Party as main government accused of withdrawing the issued to media always remained
players. Bahujan Samaj Party is also land transfer order. Former Chief endorsing the day to day stand of
seen making significant inroads in Dalit Minister and Congress' 'hope' in Jammu Sangharsh Samiti. When Samiti called
pockets of the region. Just ahead of the and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad was for the removal of Governor NN Vohra,
eruption of Amarnath shrine land seen in Jammu only twice in two months the local Congress jumped into the fray
controversy, the political mainland of –on July 17, when he addressed a public as main votary of the demand. Veterans
Jammu was ripe for the electoral meeting at a border township and then like Dr Karan Singh, the scion of Dogra
politics. Elections were just three on August 10 as part of the all-party dynasty, who otherwise visits Jammu
months away but the campaign designs delegation constituted by the Prime hardly once a year, wrote to the Prime
had already been put in place by the Minister to find out a solution for the Minister seeking removal of the
parties. Two months of agitation has crises. Azad's being away from the scene Governor.
washed away whatever the parties had all these of crises not only brought down
tried to build up not only in recent few but also smashed up the morale of local Former MLAs, sitting MLCs and other
months but over past five years. Now at Congress leaders. During initial days of office bearers of the Congress would
this stage the lines of ideology stand agitation, the local Congress leaders often walk into the office of Sangharsh
blurred between the arch rivals. For tried to defend their government's Samiti to reiterate their support even as
two months all of them, out of decision but as the days passed off and the party at national level frequently

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equated the Jammu agitation “as between Kashmir and Jammu. Leaving sectors of economy the losses to
dangerous” as separatist movement in the Kashmir field to Omar, who joined respective sectors have been as follows:
Kashmir. Prominent local leader and chorus with separatist, Farooq went on Industry, Rs 4000 Crores; Tourism, Rs
MLA till recently, Raman Bhalla courted justify demand of Sangharsh Samiti and 3000 Crores; Trade Rs 1100 Crores,
arrest on August 21 as a part of called for restoration of land to the Transport Rs 775 Crores and Production,
Sangharsh Samiti plan. However, the Shrine Board. When the agreement is Rs 250 Crores. Insurance sector is yet to
veteran Mangat Ram Sharma still could inked between Samiti and Government, initiate a survey of loss to the vehicles
not escape the wrath. He had to take a Farooq turned up as the only Kashmiri that too is reported to be running into
pillion ride with a cop to reach home leaders to give a “thumbs up”. Crores of rupees. The Shri Amarnath
safely when a strong mob attacked his Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, during its
vehicle in the city. Now when the agitation has been called negotiations with the government had
off, the next battle is for the put a demand for compensation to all
forthcoming elections and the task suffering sectors of economy. Though
In Jammu region, National Conference
has much of its presence in the rural before political parties is to redraw the demand has been agreed to in
areas than the urban space. Thus NC their constituency agenda. principle but the businessmen doubt
leaders played little smart. They left any possibility of full compensation.
their plush winter capital residence to The agreement between Government
Economy Suffers Rs 26,000 Crore loss
fan out in their respective and the Samiti concluded that a
constituencies. Omar Abdullah's speech Working Group shall be constituted
Besides competitive politics, the other under the Chief Secretary to examine
in the Parliament on, July 22, had given
a new direction to the Jammu agitation major sector which suffered a huge loss losses to all sectors both in Kashmir
when a youth committed suicide during Jammu agitation is obviously the and Jammu regions. The Working
allegedly enraged over Omar's local economy. The trade and industry Group will have representatives from
statement. However, father Farooq lobby groups have put losses at Rs 26775 different sectors of economy as its
made quite a good effort to save the Crores. Though the parameters of members. “A loss assessment report
situation. After maintaining a much calculation have not been given but shall be submitted to the Central
required silence for a couple of weeks, according to local Commerce and Government for financial help”, said
Farooq played quite a balancing act Industries and representatives different the agreement.

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Agreement

Following is the text of the joint statement issued at the press conference:

1. 'The Shri Amarnathji Yatra, which has been going on for many centuries, is a shining symbol of communal harmony and
brotherhood in Jammu & Kashmir and reflective of the State's composite heritage. The Yatris have been welcomed with
open arms by the people of both Jammu and Kashmir Divisions and all required facilities have been made available for
them. Sadly, certain decisions of the State Government relating to the Yatra created misunderstandings which led to
controversy and agitation and loss of many precious lives. Apart from the damage to property, there has been a colossal loss
to the State's economy in different sectors like transport, trade, industry, horticulture and tourism.
2. 'The Yatra to Shri Amarnathji Shrine has traditionally benefitted a large number of local residents, many of whom have
crucial dependence on this annual pilgrimage for their livelihood.
3. 'There has been no occasion in the past on which the State Government has failed to provide the required support for the
conduct of the Amarnathji Yatra. On the contrary, the extent and nature of governmental support to the Yatra has been
progressively enhancing, from year to year.
4. 'In view of the need to seek a peaceful resolution of the fundamental issues, to settle all existing doubts and clarify the
continuing responsibility of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had constituted,
on 6 August, 2008, a four-member Committee comprising:
Dr. S. S. Bloeria, Advisor to Governor, Justice (Retd) Shri G. D. Sharma , Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor, University
of Jammu and Shri B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary to Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board
5. 'The Committee held three rounds of discussions with the four-member Committee nominated by the Shri Amarnathji Yatra
Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) which comprised:-
Shri Tilak Raj Sharma, Brig (Retd) Suchet Singh, Prof. Narinder Singh and Shri Pawan Kohli
6. 'The Governor has also held discussions with the leaders of political, social, religious, academic and other organizations in
the Kashmir Valley. The predominant view, emerging out of the consultations, is that the Amarnathji Yatra, which is a
centuries old tradition of J&K's rich composite heritage, will continue to be welcomed and supported by the people of
Kashmir, in every possible way. It was also felt that while the Shrine Board could continue to use the land, as in the past, for
Yatra purposes, nothing should be done to alienate or transfer the land. While an assuring convergence of views has
emerged, the Governor is committed to continuing the consultative process to ensure against any remaining
misunderstanding whatsoever on an issue which has earlier led to serious misperceptions and grade human and economic
loss.
7. 'Based on detailed discussions and deliberations held in the recent weeks, the following framework of action for resolving
the issue relating to the use of land for the period of Yatra by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, at Baltal and Domail, has
been agreed to:-
A. 'The State Government shall set aside for the use by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, exclusively, the land in Baltal and Domail
(Compartment No. 63/S, Sindh Forest Division) comprising an area of 800 kanals, traditionally under use for the annual
Yatra purposes.
B. 'The proprietary status/ownership/title of the land shall not undergo any change.
C. 'The Board shall use the aforesaid land for the duration of the Yatra (including the period of making the required

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arrangements and winding up of the same) for the purpose of user by various service providers according to its needs and
priorities.
'The aforesaid land shall be used according to the Board's requirements, from time to time, including for the following:-

i. 'Raising of temporary pre-fabricated accommodation and toilet facilities by the Board;


ii. 'Establishment of tented accommodation by private camping agencies (locals, permanent residents of the State);
iii. 'Setting up of the shops by shopkeepers (locals, permanent residents of the State);
iv. 'Facilities for Ponywallahs and Pithuwallahs;
v. 'Provision of healthcare and medical facilities;
vi. 'Setting up of free Langars by private persons and groups which are licensed by the Board;
vii. 'Facilities for helicopter operations/ parking of vehicles;
viii. 'Arrangements of security by local police/para-military forces and other security agencies as per the arrangements in place
here-to-fore; and
ix. 'Undertaking measures relating to soil conservation, land protection and preservation of ecology.

8. 'It has further been agreed that the Board shall continue to remain responsible for the overall arrangements of the Yatra on
both the routes during the Yatra period, including all arrangements as mandated under the provisions of the Shri
Amarnathji Shrine Act, 2000 A.D.
9. 'Apart from the above, the Committee set up by the Samiti had, during the course of discussions, presented a fourteen-
point “Charter of Demands” for consideration by the State Government. The main demands relate to withdrawal of
criminal cases against various persons during the period of agitation, provision of compensation to the families of the
deceased and to the injured and working out of appropriate packages of financial assistance to compensate losses of the
transport sector, trade and industry, horticulture sector, hoteliers and tourist operators. The State Government has agreed
to examine all these demands in an appropriate manner on time-bound basis.
10. 'In particular, as regards the registration of criminal cases against various persons during the period of agitation, it is agreed
that all cases of non-serious nature which shall mean bailable and compoundable will be withdrawn. The remaining cases
will be reviewed, on the merits of each case, by a Committee headed by Shri Anil Goswami, Principal Secretary (Home)
within 60 days. Till the completion of this process, no action will be taken in such cases. Also, specific allegations of
atrocities on agitators, based on prima-facie evidence, could also be looked into by this Committee.
11. 'Ex-gratia relief will be extended in favour of the next of the kin of the deceased and in favour of permanently disabled and
the injured in all cases covered under the existing rules of the State Government.
12. 'Further, a Working Group, under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary will address all compensation issues relating to both
Jammu and Kashmir Divisions and the Central Government will be approached for extending enabling financial support to
the State Government for this purpose within a period of two months. To make the exercise meaningful, one representative
from each of the affected sectors will be associated with the deliberations of the Working Group.
13. 'The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board will be reconstituted keeping in view the provisions of the Act and the past precedents.
14. 'It is agreed that the Law Department in the State Government will examine the issue of disposal of LPA in terms of the
understanding made hereinabove within one month.'

Sd/- Sd/-

(Lila Karan Sharma) (Dr. S. S. Bloeria)


Convener Advisor to Governor of J&K
Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti

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Amarnath Confrontation :
Is It Sureal ?

Anmol Sharma

The confrontation over transfer of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and the its revocation is just the trigger.
The issue is small but the problem is far larger. The office of Indian Prime Minister, as it appears now, has always
grossly overlooked the historical background and composition of aspirations in Jammu and Kashmir.

T
he public outrage these local channels
over the revocation loaded with array of
of the land transfer statistical data disparaging
order by the minority everything from disparity
government of Mr. Azad has in number of assembly
progressively merged with the seats to Badshah University
latent issue of long felt racial standing on a forest area.
bias felt by this part of the Ve r y a g g r e s s i v e t e x t
state of Jammu and Kashmir. messages underscoring
Some of the renowned p r e c i s e s ta ti s ti c s l i k e
political analysts from Jammu number of unemployment
like Dr. Jitender Singh and being more in Jammu,
Prof. Hari Om have
Jammuites giving more
rationalized this with the
taxes compared to
analogy that the
Kashmiris and advising to
overwhelming public outcry
boycott Kashmiri goods
over the Amarnath
were also disseminated
predicament is only a
before text services was
symptom of the disease of
discrimination/partiality altogether condemned at
suffered by the people in the behest of the Governor
Jammu from hukumrans in Sahib.
Kashmir. The local Cable
channels were also Watching this kind of
acknowledged by these theatrics in these channels
commentators, for precipitating reminisces one of the
the unprecedented mass churlish PTV where till today
wave, which saw conservative every evil in Pakistan is
and politically novice women easily blamed on the
folk from Jammu coming shoulders of India. These
spellbound onto the streets talks headed by the
sloganeering and beating protagonists not only are like
utensils. one-eyed wisdom of sage
Shukaracharya, where one is
The extremist politicians fascinated by his side of
affiliated to Jammu came to perception only but also it

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seems that they are bereft of the history We can never, first-of-all deny the fact think that only Hurriyat is demanding
of J&K politics. Every voice emanating that Kashmiri community has never scraping of Armed Forces Special
in Jammu these days be it the electronic allowed itself to be identified with the Powers Act (AFSPA). This draconian law
or print media oscillates to dot the voice rest of India and culturally too their has created more havoc in Northeast
of Kashmiri leaders and Kashmiri locals. Kashmiriyat was never part of the broad than in Kashmir. IAF has bombarded
The hatred and acrimony against them Continental-cum-Secular-cum-Hindu them and used mortar shells and in
has arisen to such a level that people influenced Indian ethos. Second-of-all 2004, the abduction and killing of
have vowed not eat fruits from Kashmir we also have to wake up to the fact that Thangjam Manorama Devi triggered
and made a bonfire of their handicrafts we have repeatedly blundered in our massive protests by the people of
on streets of Jammu. brainless policy towards sensitive Manipur. A group of brave Mothers shook
issues. Just to score some more seats in the conscience of the entire world by
It is utmost necessary and meaningful to Punjab by dirty tricks, we tried to their nude protest in front of Assam
point out that the bogie of quarantine Akalis by pitching Rifles HQ. But here in just 2 days of
discrimination continuously raised Bhindrenwala and the havoc it did to Army's management on the streets, the
nowadays by the people of Jammu is not India was in the shape of operation blue intellectuals of Jammu are crying foul,
over-pampering of the Kashmir region star, sacrificing our women Prime so can we not just for a moment imagine
but was a shrewd ploy by those heading Minister and the wave of resentment by what these people in Northeast and
successively the PM's Office. It is part of Sikhs which we conveniently labeled Kashmir must be feeling?
our States history that Maharaja Hari 'terrorism'.
Singh in 1947 had approached both India We as Indians connect the image of
and Pakistan with a “Standstill Likewise, in Kashmir, we promised 'near' Bharat Mata with bureaucracy of babu's
Agreement” as he was in dilemma freedom in the shape of a sadar-i- and feel that we can commit no blunder
whether to accede to Dominion of India riyasat and a Prime Minister. Art. 370 and do not realize how alienated and
or Pakistan or to stay independent. It was a sacrosanct cornerstone and it has estranged minorities feel and what they
should not, also be forgotten that over the time been diluted to the core, really feel about India and Hindu
Kashmiri has never been empathetic specially by Delhi Agreement of 1952 Majority. The treatment to a Ladakhi
towards India, he never wanted to be a and the famous Sheikh-Indira Accord in student in my class was not what mould
part of India, and they are not ashamed 1975, the betrayal to the masses when make a Indian proud. Very few students
to openly say it. Although, this may be Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah shook would talk to him and he was a social
highly objectionable for a patriotic hands to upset the mandate to MUF outcaste. When I asked him whether
Indian, but this is the truth we do not forced them to respond in the way they Buddhists would have also protested
want to accept. did. In return, we responded with like Kashmiris if land was acquired in
unparalleled HR excesses, which saw a Ladakh, his reply was they would have.
Mrs. Gandhi had her hair pulled by some lakh people dead, 10,000 still missing Even at the slightest provocation like
Kashmiri girls in 1970's, and we know and what not. Army came and sat on the Dera Controversy, the Sikhs shout
what slogans they raised during India their orchards, cultivable lands; schools the slogans of Khalistan Zindabad in
West Indies Cricket match and the etc, our PM Mr. Singh had openly stated Gandhi Nagar.
recently held Santosh Trophy. The to the separatists that short of Azadi 'sky
biggest irony here is the fallacy of our is the limit' and at the same time we The dichotomy in our mindset is also
successive decision makers that tried to checkmate them by placing Mr. very puzzling; on one hand we have no
indulging Kashmiris with monetary Mufti at their back, so after all this, why hesitation in arresting Sri
packages will make them forget would they not protest when 100 acres Shankaracharya in Tamil Nadu who
Pakistan and consequently sift their of land is transferred. May be they feel according to our scriptures is the
sentiments, this political naivety on our that it is another ploy of Government of representative of Lord Shiva on this
part was an attempt to “win” them over India to grab the land way from them. earth and non-different from Him. No
which was at the cost of economic Christian nation whether in Europe or in
growth of Jammu. It would be a great folly on our part to America would ever dare to arrest the

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Pope, but we had the shameless audacity to


arrest the greatest bonafide spiritualist of New Delhi Should Explain,
Hindus.
Why Dialogue Is Stalled
We have no problem when Raj Thackeray
threats non-marathis openly to get out of Interview with
Maharashtra, but we take strong exception
when some renegade militant outfit does
Shafi Uri
Senior Leader National Conference
the same to Biharis in Kashmir. The entire
Former Finance Minister
belt of sacred town to Vrindaban adjacent to
Rajasthan border, where Lord Krishna
displayed his most enchanting pastimes has Lakhs of people are on Valley streets and
been dug up and His spots where He ate and countryside with slogans of Azadi. How do you look
played flute have been vandalized by the at this sudden eruption in Kashmir?
sand mafia but how many Hindus care?
Ask this question to New Delhi as they better know the
No one of earth can ever justify the answer. Ask them why
revocation of the land transfer but the way dialogue has been kept
and the manner in which SAYSS is handling stalled for so long. There
the most dangerous flashpoint on the face of was no sudden eruption.
the earth as per America is now a free for all Earlier there was silence
affair and the result is that we have and now there are
reawakened the Frankenstein of separatism protests. Both are equally
that was in coma for the last so many years. dangerous. My point is
that we have always been
Shabir Shah who was for 22 years and 8 saying that there is a
months languishing in Indian jails was on problem which needs to
record to say that he was open to look at be understood and
other options 'read political participation' addressed through a
besides plebiscite. The vertical split in dialogue. I had since long
Hurriyat in the shape of Hurriyat (M) and been saying that status
Hurriyat (G) had considerably taken the quo will not lead us to
sting out of separatist's and they were even anywhere. If New Delhi or
contemplating to field proxy candidates in anyone else thinks that
the coming elections. All these political wins maintaining silence on the
have gone to seed and we are not back to issue for so long will
square one but out of the game at the isolate the elements who
present moment. are now being seen as
unpleasant noise makers then I must say they are
Our best bet Mr. Azad who was appreciated sadly mistaken. The results are evident as everyone
even by a Kashmir local and was very fair to has seen over past few days in the Valley.
Jammu in all aspects was booed out here
when he resigned, which only shows the Some three months back the separatists were seen
lack of political acumen of the Dogras. We brooding in isolation. It was the mainstream
need someone to take us out of this logjam discourse that dominated Valley's political
before the heavens fall. landscape.

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Don't see anyone in isolation. As I Why the dialogue broke down? There held by the people of Kashmir for so
pointed out above silence is always has not been any positive movement many years.
dangerous, what you are seeing today on Kashmir for nearly four years now.
is nothing but just break down of The Government of India had three The question of land transfer is a
silence. This was the worst result of round table conferences but there completely misunderstood theory.
complacency. There may have been was no involvement of separatists. It When the government has been
some signs of normality but people was a nice exercise to understand offering all logistic support then
(in New Delhi) misconstrued this for various problems of Jammu and what these cries are all about. You
stability. Stability is still a far cry. You Kashmir but did this address the basic name any pilgrimage –may it be Hajj,
can't go ahead without addressing issue. No, it did not. Separatists have the affairs of Golden Temple or the
the basic issue. Yes, there are felt completely isolated in the Kumbh festival –entire logistic
different phases and calm is one of process. support is provided by the
them. But when there is calm that governments. Only the internal
does not mean every thing is alright. religious affairs are handled by the
What happened to all these
religious organizations. This should
So where is the failure? discourses? Why the dialogue not have happened like this.
broke down? There has not been
It is obvious. It is in the breakdown of But people in Jammu talk about the
any positive movement on discrimination meted out against
dialogue or no dialogue at all. I am
pained at times to see why India does Kashmir for nearly four years them by Kashmiri leaders.
not learn lessons. There are several
now. The Government of India
trouble areas in the country but This is in sub conscious mind. The
everywhere dialogue has always had three round table conferences discrimination sentiments prevail in
remained a continuous process. Here but there was no involvement of Jammu ever since the popular
in Kashmir, the credibility of an government took over reigns from
entire big hearted process has been separatists. Maharaja's regime. My suggestion is
eroded by cryptic stalling of that let's have a debate on the
dialogue. Remember then Prime discrimination issue.
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee What is the way forward?
addressing the Kashmiri people Have a look at all developmental
taking a cue from the famous It can not be identified and parameters you will find no truth in
couplets of poet Mehjoor. concluded here. Yes, a way has to be the discrimination theory. This is not
found but then dialogue is the only the first agitation in Jammu on the
While reaching out to the people of course to reach somewhere. The first allegations of discrimination. We
Kashmir with a commitment of step forward is obvious to initiate a have seen Poonch agitation.
growing flowers of peace, Vajpayee dialogue and reach out to the people
showed reasoning and pragmatism with a big heart.
Then Gajendragadkar Commission
when he said that a resolution of and all other studies found that there
Kashmir issue has to be sought in the How do you look at the eruption in is no substantial regional
ambit of humanity and not the oft Jammu? discrimination. This is the era of
repeated four walls of constitution. transparency. One can obtain all
Then came the turn of Prime Minister Jammu agitation is based on notions. details of expenditure. You will find
Manmohan Singh, who underlined the When some people say that Valley nothing in these complaints. If at all
commitment of building a “New Muslims have hurt the Hindu there is some discrimination that is
Jammu and Kashmir”. What sentiments why do they forget the quite even in some areas of Jammu as
happened to all these discourses? secular tradition of Amarnath Yatra well as Kashmir Valley.

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Replay Of 90’s ?
Still No Lessons From History

Syeda Afshana

T
The impulses he Newton's third political consequences This situation was
Throbs of thy dudgeon Law of Motion is except for keeping the exacerbated by the strangely
Pangs of conscience applicable to dispute of Kashmir alive from 'action-less' attitude of
I can hear; mechanics and time to time, in spite of their neighbouring country that
Iniquitous attitude equally well to human affairs political potential. happens to be one of the
Injustice on thy part to a large extent. Atleast, crucial party to the Kashmir
For an unknown crime that is definitely so if seen in It is said that the greatest issue. Failing to capitalize on
Perhaps I can realize; the light of events of past few lesson of history is that the then popular upsurge, it
Depth of bitterness months. The Jammu agitation nobody learns from history. could not come up to the
Thine indignation is an apparent reaction to Perhaps, even far supreme expectations of the people
Against all revocation of Land Transfer lesson is that we tend to who had perhaps pinned “too
Perhaps I can gauge; and associated public uprising forget history. We need to many” hopes on the rulers
Tears of torment over the issue in Valley. And a c r o s s t h e b o r d e r.
remember our past for making
Tornado of aversion the Economic Blockade, Notwithstanding the
our future better. Remember
In thine eyes which is no longer symbolic diplomatic, moral or material
the wave of early 1990's in
Perhaps I can see; now, is also a reaction to the support that they provided,
Kashmir. This period saw
Hurt psyche protests that took place here. they more or less left
mammoth mass uprising that
Ragged sentiment Again, the economic squeeze Kashmiris in the lurch when
was subsequently crushed by
Pricking thou inly led to fresh protests in Valley they needed them the most.
the powers. The loss of lives
Perhaps I can sense; that are continuing unabated. Since then, the scenario in
because of a number of
But perhaps The Valleyites are at the
massacres and the enormous Pakistan has taken a volte
Shackles on reason receiving end, in absence of
level of brutality in the form face, relapsing the country
Thy handcuffs any other alternative open
of draconian military further, and correspondingly
I can't break, road link to the outside world.
operations suppressed the Kashmir has virtually been put
I really can't. The protests, as such, in spite
people, creating atrocious on the backburner, especially
Forlorn myself of their reactionary nature
fear psychosis. The people post 9/11.
Striving for survival, are inevitable and not
I can only be something that is going to were taken aback by the level
A mute spectator. have spectacular political of oppression that was not The divided indigenous
I can't even shout, impact, as many of us would anticipated, and for which separatist leadership too was
I can't even cry. like and love to believe. There they were not actually somewhat unsuccessful in
But perhaps have been strikes in past also prepared. The fervor feeling chalking out an effective and
I can shut my eyes and the results have not been that Azadi was round the viable political roadmap for
Kill my conscience as heartening as envisaged by corner could not mature into the movement. Perhaps, the
And masses. The Hazratbal-siege, immediate reality and, in dominance of gun was too
Leave thou groaning Chrar-e-Sharief crisis, and fact, got icy by the strategic overpowering or else the
For all the time. Employees marathon-strike and ruthless maneuverings of setting was such as to
Sorry Historians, to name some major events the ruling machinery that had relegate them to background.
I'm helpless. that triggered protests and everything, from politicians, Yet again the separatist
History is always media to statecraft at its political camp did not have
extended strikes, but could
A brute goddess. backing. much to offer other than
not translate in to stupendous

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general strikes as reaction against quite unthinkable. Simultaneously, the contingency


event(s). The fact remained that after planning for putting up with any kind of
a long saga of historical betrayals, Today 2008, down two decades of ups crises is to be anticipated and, likewise,
Kashmir was out of the political-cold and downs, combined with the fallout too needs to be outlined
storage just because of the gun factor resilience displayed by the people of radically.
that had assumed a vital entry in the Kashmir, the resistance movement has
landscape of resistance movement. throbbed all through, witnessing all Getting euphoric is welcome but
kinds of socio-economic and political thinking and guiding masses in a well-
The era of 1990's also witnessed a total brunt. High point enduring that the laid and organized way is compulsory.
blackout of the events by the Indian public sentiment is still lively. This time
media. Happenings were not reported around, let's hope, a pragmatic
approach, augmented by the political Let's hope and pray history does not
at all, and information and opinions
acumen and vision can procure repeat itself, and we are unforgettable
were not widely disseminated due to
historical results. of its earlier lessons.
lack of AV media outlets, not to speak of
Internet availability. Rarely any voice
from Indian intelligentsia could be The pro-active response is to be (The author is Assistant Professor at
heard, and debating Kashmir, whether translated into a vigorous and vehement Media Education Research Centre,
in media or in any other forum, was but disciplined mobilization. MERC, University of Kashmir)

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Find The Enemy


....It Is Communalism

Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah

Often a thought leaves me wondering as why a country live India - second most populous in world, seventh
vast in area, rich in resources and too rich in cultural diversity - is still struggling to carve out a position and
get counted among the countries which stand as example to rest of the world. What holds India back is,
obviously, the plague of communalism.

T
he constitution of India for a moment asking why more didn't die man behind the trigger has a
promises its citizens certain in Jammu, that's not my point because predisposition to think in a particular
fundamental rights that form we continue to value & uphold the way in this part of the world. One is
the very essence of it. It is the dignity of the human life no matter inclined to think that there occurs a
utmost responsibility of all its whose. But what Iam asking is that it certain clandestine / blanket policy in
functionaries to uphold the same in case fails my senses as to how so much blood the psyche of those with the duty of law
of all of its people . The incidents of the shed can occur in such a short duration. enforcement.
past few days in the valley & the Perhaps the bullets pumped from the
preceding month or so in Jammu reflect weapons become more potent in The question haunting my mind- Is this
poorly upon the state establishment & Kashmir. Or maybe the weaponry has a behavior warranted? The answer-NO.
its functionaries. taste for the blood of the valley. Well The basic guiding principle of a public
maybe neither, it is more likely that the administrator or anyone involved in law
There appears a definite predilection in
the thinking of law enforcement
agencies & administrators. The way of
handling of the public agitations & mobs
on either side of the divide shows the
evident & questionable bias against the
valley in the minds of those operating in
both regions. Critics may term it to be a
confabulation of facts cooked up with
fictitious ingredients. But Iam afraid
howsoever strong the disapprovals may
be, facts remain facts.

Even a cursory study of the statistics of


violence reveals the obvious. It
certainly doesn't take a space scientist
to understand this ugly trend. 2 bloody
days of violence in the valley consumed
up to two dozen precious lives. In
contrast 40 days of equally virulent
violence took 6 precious lives. Iam not

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enforcement is to rise above petty surely. The motive behind the so called credentials of both. It seems the past
biases of caste, creed, color, region & `Sangarsh` was simply to pitch Hindus has completely been forgotten & for
most importantly Religion. Unless that of the state against the Muslim majority good. Let me then remind all such
basic premise is not employed in letter elements that the issue upon which a
and spirit by those with public dealings, mountain of problems was raked up by
Of paramount importance is –
there is bound to be a problem in their vested interests namely the Amarnath
functioning .While this utilitarian What & where the solution lies. yatra was a part & parcel of Kashmir's
principle of neutrality is practiced by For finding a solution one has to culture.
many, there remains a section who does
not abide by it. That is perhaps the
reflect upon the problems & to
It was a Hindu journey for sure but
explanation of why there is more understand their genesis and Muslims never objected to it (not even
bloodshed on this side & not on the then aim at remedial measures. in the worst of times, I might add) .In
other. fact they actively participated in it, out
Any treatment needs to cure the
of their own sweet will. Likewise having
The other vital question is how in the disease and not just the stayed in Jammu for long years I can
first did the situation turn into such a symptoms. In the past we have bear witness that I never felt any
fiasco. That again has many reasons. animosity for myself or anyone of my
all been crying about the
The most dangerous and one that is faith. What then possibly went wrong?
potentially fatal for the integrity of our symptoms of the underlying Perhaps someone needed an election
state is the mixture of religion & politics pathology. issue & something to remain in the
in Jammu. What started as an public eye only to capture power in far
administrative issue was deliberately away New Delhi. That cannot be ruled
maneuvered into a religious one. The The plan was too well orchestrated to out considering the saffron league has a
virulence & venemosity of the saffron fail. The result is that today there are past history of such brazen acts of
brigade has done its job, silently but questions being raised on the secular molestation against the fabric of
secularism.

The bad air has perhaps gone too foul


for any sane soul to breathe in. Such
extreme polarization between the two
peoples has tarnished the secular
credentials of our state to a great
degree. Although there is a long history
of this plague in other regions, the state
of J&K was immune to it up until now,
Iam afraid not any more. The seeds of
mutual hatred have been sown & they
seem to have sprouted in no time. That
is a dangerous precedent & if not
arrested it will take a heavy toll, as it
already has.

Of paramount importance is – What &


where the solution lies. For finding a
solution one has to reflect upon the
problems & to understand their genesis

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and then aim at remedial measures. Any


treatment needs to cure the disease and not Kashmiri Muslim Does
just the symptoms. In the past we have all been Not Tolerate Jammu
crying about the symptoms of the underlying
pathology. Hindus, Muslims
Any solution to the current fiasco should be Interview with
broad based. The civil society of both regions Prof Varinder Gupta
needs to deliberate on a common ground.(And
President Jammu State Morcha,
that does not include those who started the fire
seeking trifurication of J&K
, namely vested political personalities ) .It may
seem difficult , but it is certainly not
impossible. The need of the hour is to insulate The ongoing agitation is perhaps the longest in Jammu region
people from the nefarious elements professing in last 60 years. Contemporaries say even the Poonch agitation
religious hatred in Jammu. It is about time the or the Darbar Move agitation were not as widespread as the
establishment cracked down upon "trident present one is. The premise of agitation is little confusing. The
brandishing miscreants" in that part of our Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti –spearheading agitation
state. –says the agitation is about Hindu sentiments hurt by the
shrine land controversy. The constituent units, including your
Their role in promoting communal hatred is all party, claim that the movement is a protest against the
too obvious to ignore. It is also of vital political and economic discrimination meted out with Jammu
importance for the common masses in this part region. How do you sum up?
of the state not to resort to actions like
destroying public property, or stoning vehicles The present agitation no doubt is religious one, but because the
including ambulances . It is the duty of all of us issue of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Land pertains to upholding
to prevent such elements from taking the the secular traditions and ethos as enshrined in our constitution
protests into their hands. They are in fact no every community of Jammu region thought to support and join
better than those forcing an economic blockade the movement. Further, the people of Jammu region have
upon us. suffered because of the communal, secessionist and anti- Jammu
policies of Kashmiri leaders and they have been discriminated
At the same time the high principles of public against in all spheres of life and treated as second class citizens,
dealing need to be strictly adhered to. The role of irrespective of their religion and caste they found in the present
the administrators & policing agencies is critical agitation an opportunity to express their resentment and anger.
in revival of any normalcy in the minds of people. The present agitation is thus an outburst of common man of
Any partisan or prejudiced individuals should be Jammu against the Kashmiri leaders, against their communal and
purged away to restore the confidence of the anti- Jammu politics and against the Kashmiri domination.
general public in the institutions. In this regard
the initiative of removing the chief of a
The SAYSS is engaged in a dialogue with an official panel of the
paramilitary force is a step in the right direction,
Governor to resolve the impasse. The dialogue agenda,
however more needs to be done to infuse
seeking to end the present agitation, does not carry any point
confidence into the minds of people.
like regional discrimination. The Samiti leaders are on record
saying that the agitation shall be called off only when the land
The road ahead doesn't look too bright but Iam
withdrawal order is rescinded, land is restored to the Shrine
reminded that " The darkest hour of the night
Board permanently, and the Governor NN Vohra is removed.
lies just before the dawn " . Praying for a new
Does this address the discrimination issue?
dawn for all of us . . .

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Though the present agitation is desire to create a buffer between the the communal and fundamental
confined to the land issue, but it has expanding Russian empire and their elements to feed suspicion between the
provided an opportunity to the people Indian dominion. The nature has also regions and thus nourish communalism
of Jammu region to assert and give a made these regions as three distinct and disaffection. At present all the
clear cut signal to the Kashmiri geographical identities: Jammu region three regions feel alienated from each
leadership and to the Government of is separated from the Kashmir Valley by other and they are in reconciling
India that Jammu region should not be Peerpanjal Mountain whereas Kashmir situation.
taken for granted any further. If is separated from Ladakh by Korakaram
anything is done against the aspirations ranges of Zanskar Moutain. e) Jammu and Ladakh regions have
and interests of the people of Jammu been discriminated against by the
region, they would vigorously and even b) All the three regions have different Kashmiri leaders in all the spheres.
violently react and oppose such a move. political, linguistic, social and cultural Their aspirations have always been
It is also an assertion that wishes of the perceptions. The interests, aspirations ignored. They have been dragged along
people of Jammu region have to be and needs of these regions are by imposing the wishes of the people of
ascertained before arriving at any conflicting and mutually exclusive. To Kashmir.
solution of Jammu and Kashmir keep the regions under one state during
imbroglio and they would no longer
f) So long Jammu region remains part of
tolerate any dictates either from the To keep the regions under one the present state it would not get
valley or from the Government of India
state during the dictatorial rule justice. It would not get its due
in this matter. The present agitation has
of a King may have been possible representation in the state legislature
boosted the morale of the people of
in the Lok Sabha, in state civil
Jammu region for their further fight but it is not desirable to not
secretariat and in other Govt. services,
against the Kashmiri domination and allow the people to progress and in the matter of development and in the
discrimination and to achieve justice develop as per their interests and selections to the professional
for themselves.
aspirations in a democratic institution.
system.
For almost 20 years you have been
g) Jammu region is facing a great threat
running a movement for trifurcation
the dictatorial rule of a King may have to its identity because of the Kashmiri
of Jammu and Kashmir. You want
been possible but it is not desirable to domination and because of its
separate statehood for Jammu. What
not allow the people to progress and secessionist and communal agenda.
are the bases for this demand?
develop as per their interests and There have been attempts to divide
aspirations in a democratic system. Jammu region on communal lines and
The demand of trifurcation of Jammu
disturb the atmosphere of religious
and Kashmir state is based on the
tolerance and communal harmony by
following bases: c) The trifurcation of the state shall not
the Pak agents and by the Kashmiri
only satisfy the aspirations of the
leaders. If the region is separated from
a) The union of Jammu, Kashmir and people of three different regions, but
the valley these threats would vanish.
Ladakh is an unnatural wedlock. All the it shall also eliminate the role of religio-
three regions have their own distinct regional appeals in politics in this part
of the country. h) Trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir
identity and personality. The state of
state shall also pave a way to resolve
Jammu and Kashmir came into being by
Kashmir issue.
the treaty of Amritsar in March 1846. d) The union of Jammu, Ladakh and
The integration of three regions was Kashmir regions has become counter
merely political and mainly motivated productive. The artificial union of these If we look at some ground realities,
by the British Indian Government's regions has provided opportunities to the discrimination story does not

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hold well. Per capita development assembly seats in favour of Kashmir separatist sentiment in Valley and
expenditure is basic criteria to province was four not two. In 2002 the pushed the situation to a level which
determine the balance or partiality Parliament only put the ceiling on the Pakistan could never do in last 60
in regional development. The number of seats in the state years. Then what good the Jammu
average annual per capita assemblies and decided not to leadership is doing to patriotism and
development expenditure in Jammu increase the number of seats till 2026. Indian nationalism?
and Kashmir is Rs 901. If looked at The NDA govt. did not exempted
the regional level it works out to Rs Jammu and Kashmir Government from It is wrong to say that Jammu does not
991.16 in Jammu region and Rs 767 the Delimitation Commission. It is the tolerate the Kashmiri Muslims.
in Kashmir region. Therefore, Kashmiri leadership that always Number of Kashmiri Muslims including
average per capital plan expenditure opposed any increase in the number of the Kashmiri leaders who have anti-
in Jammu region is more than Rs 200 assembly seats for Jammu region. Of Jammu mindset migrated to Jammu in
higher than what is allocated in the course, the Government of India is 1990. In spite of surcharged communal
Valley. also responsible which always tries to atmosphere in Jammu because of
appease the Kashmir leadership and migration of Kashmir Pandits, Jammu
The figure is fabricated and did not allow the increase under the Dogras and Sikhs people of Jammu
completely false. The figure does not pressure from the Kashmir leadership. region did not raise finger against
agree with the Government's own them.
statement about the expenditure In 2002 the Parliament only put
made in the 8th and 9th plan under the the ceiling on the number of seats It is Muslim Kashmir that does not
different heads. Let the concerned in the state assemblies and tolerate not only Jammu Hindu but
authority who has supplied this also Jammu Muslim. Trifurcation of
decided not to increase the
information comes out with details. the state would allow all the regions
number of seats till 2026. The
to get their aspirations fulfilled and
Number of assembly constituencies
NDA govt. did not exempted have the Government of their choice,
and therefore the balance of Jammu and Kashmir free of pulls and pressures from the
political power are skewed in favour Government from the other respective regions. The
o f K a s h m i r Va l l e y. T h i s i s Delimitation Commission. situation in Kashmir has always
understandable. The last remained vulnerable. It was worst in
delimitation was held in early 1990s 1990. Kashmir Valley witnessed mass
An average leaders or activist in
when Jammu region got five more protests on Shri Amarnath Land row on
Jammu always seeks pride in
assembly constituencies, Ladakh and after 22nd June, 2008. There was
declaring himself as the most pure
and Kashmir got two each. That was no economic blockade; it was Kashmiri
Indian patriot and nationalist. Look
held during the President's rule. leadership that made the false
at from the international level,
Later in 2002, the then BJP led NDA propaganda about the economic
India's position on Kashmir is always
government exempted J&K from the blockade that was flared up by the
sensitive. Had it not been like this,
purview of the Delimitation media and even by the Government of
Kashmir would not have been an
Commission headed by Justice India without ascertaining the facts.
issue for 60 years. Demanding
Kuldeep Singh. Then is it the This was done to sabotage and curb
trifurcation means sending across
Kashmiri leadership alone to be the present Jammu agitation.
message that the Hindu majority
blamed for this imbalance or you can Government of India and the State
Jammu does not tolerate the
think of some other factors also. government are responsible for the
Kashmir Muslims. And then look at
present situation in the valley. They
the present agitation. There were
The last delimitation was done in 1996 did not tackle it properly and allowed
the talks like economic blockade
and not in 1990. The increase in the it to take the present shape.
which has consolidated the

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Our Mis-Leaders, 39 Hectares


Of Land And Seesaw Of Faith

Suninder Kaur

The high velocity driftage that turned a soft snowball into a deadly avalanche is the gift of our adored mis -leaders whose
actions exhibit nothing less than radicalism. The state which has been in cringing position for last two decades was again
clinched in a confused motion. The course of normalization been put into a topsy-turvy standing by creating a havoc. The
tumultuous disorder was been provoked for the formation of a vote maze in which the makers themselves got stuck. The
labyrinth which was made to grab ballots at the cost of bullets in the intricate streets of the valley was thought to carry some
people to power but it just led things to the perplexity.

A
bungled state order was used temperature of air in the valley rose up that has been used by yatris for more
as a bow to shoot out cautions, to the degree which blew masses to the than 200 years before the formation of
threats, blames & historical Lal chowk including every Shrine Board the whole picturesque
indictments. The order was to small or big street of the valley. Oceans town of Pahalgam used to look like
administer the expediency of Amarnath of humanity in a single tone incessantly Shivlok & all Kashmiris used to cherish it
yatris by transferring the right to use of demanding for the cancellation of without any problem. No one ever
800 kanals of forest land temporarily to botchy transfer order of land. A grave complained of pollution of any sort or
Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. It spoke for mockery bewildered a common degree, nobody used to reproach that
momentary diversion of right from state Kashmiri who got blinded by the wheeze the peaceful affair of 40 to 50 days of
to the board which got over estimated to see that same land & even more than pilgrimage can turn Chandanwari or
by sham as well as the real
separatists who could not
stop themselves from
advising to all stake holders
i n K a s h m i r ' s e c o l o g y,
environment, identity and
culture that Kashmir is going
to be exploited and Israel
type colonies of Hindus are
being set up at Baltal. The
s y n c h r o n i z i n g
misinformation move was
adhered by each and every
pitched voice of Kashmir. All
protuberant antagonists and
even supporting partners of
state government; restive to
rebuke and make an issue
out of no issue for securing
pro-party slogans. The
culpability game served as a
thermal plant by which the

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Sonamarg into a Hindu terrain. This year exhibited by restraining media & because no such uproar is justifiable
when the toll of devotees was ever bringing sms services at halt. The for few trucks of Hazaratbali the only
highest, the serene Chinars were again opinionated arrogant actions were kind of apples ripened in the month of
made to hear vociferous cries of wailing pertinent by imposition of indefinite August in Kashmir. This bizarre and
valley. The huffy state of things curfews, disrespecting a dead body, uncanny tactic was used for
encompassed angles of communalism & putting the rituals at stake; assaulting blackmailing and menacing Delhi as it
hemmed in several attacks on yatris. journalists furthermore exhilarated has been the strongest weapon of
the young hot blood for a stiff claim of separatists.
The influence of exigent demand being nothing less than land. The utilitarian
very impelling persuaded the approach been adopted by Jammu. The whole hullabaloo got the blood of
government to revoke the transfer of Notwithstanding the economic losses dozens of people spilled over for the
land order creating one side of pseudo attacks on some body's
t h e d e l i c a t e s w i n g i n g Yeh saazishen dishaon ki yeh sazishen hawaaon ki, faith and other's identity
oscillator down The state again inculcating zilch. Now it is
on the edge of emotional Lahu luhan ho gayi zameen yeh devtaaon ki, high time to stop this haywire
division for the rescinded Na shankh ki sadayen hain na ab sadaa azaan ki, outré. It is a matter so
order was been felt as a squall delicate that if one side is up
at faith & credence of Nazar meri zameen ko lagi hai aasmaan ki, the other side is ruined unlike
Jammuites. People along one Hai darbadar ye log kyon jale hain kyon makaan. a traditional seesaw. A sea
side of Pirpanchal jubilant at void created by this outlandish
the cost of resentment of
Yeh kis ne aag daal di hai naram naram ghaas par, grotesque needs to be filled.
those on the other side who Likha hua zindagi yahan har ek laash par,
turned indignant at the unjust A soothing sound is to be
motion. People of entire
Yeh takhat ki ladaai hai, yeh kursiyon ki jung hai,
echoed across the whole state
Jammu region again felt the Yeh begunah khoon bhi siyaston ka rang hai, which is to be produced by a
precedential step-motherly huge clap in which one hand is
lakir khinch di gayi dilon ke darmiyan.
treatment by a cogent to be of a Jammuite & other of
demonstration of playing with a Kashmiri. Only such music
belief. The apoplectic feelings of hundreds of crores in industrial can bring back peace and rest
got stimulated to a mass movement, sphere, education being at a in this geologically, linguistically
the ire of which even turned down the standstill, common man facing the diversified state. The loathsome
republican scenario of the state. The scarcity of basic amenities---naught a degeneracy can be ceased only by
irresistible wrath & unstoppable hurdle in the fissionable fashioned means of the anticipation of common
impulse could not stop the youth from movement. Again a heed was given in masses when they will firmly start
crossing rivers, destroying property, the Valley of whimsical economic believing that this kind of vileness can
assailing security forces defying their blockade, there being none at ground drag the state to the noxious and misty
rage. Such persons invite openly to be level. The volumed, fallacious spells of darkness. All this is possible
dubbed as communal fanatics& recognizable voices trying to beat when people across both sides of
zealots.+ against the bushes by describing the Jawahar Tunnel will start realizing
people of Jammu to be monomaniac that they are merely being used like
The role of administrative agencies inhibitants of two and a half tyrannical the pieces on the checkered board
proved to be demonic which aired the districts. The fruit season in Kashmir with the object to checkmate the
curb of basic democratic rights viz of usually starts in mid September but opponent king. Such piqued
speech & expression, right to know, the traders on the prick force got depravities need to be comprehended
right to move. Except for this the spurred for bullying to move to PoK. rationally and a serious thought to be
autocratic tendencies were been The plea taken was obnoxiously false given to this;

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Jam-Kash Showdown
Clash Of Vested Interests

S Zafar Mehdi Safvi

The horrible fears have after all come true. Alas! MK Gandhi's "glimmer of hope" was not to last any longer. It's
Jammu versus Kashmir no-holds-barred showdown. Regional and religious sentiments, coupled with parochial and
chauvinistic interests rule the roast currently, while the grand old edifice of Kashmiriyat has been reduced to
rubble. The superior concepts of secularism, communal amity and brotherhood have been nipped into the bud.

T
he state which had stood the notes veteran political commentator chalk-and-cheese ideologies and
harsh tests of time, remaining Balraj Puri, reminding that now "neither political affiliations, they have all
unaffected by the mad politicians nor administration can assembled under same umbrella
communal frenzy even during control it. It has become a popular currently, to show their solidarity with
Partition days has ultimately fallen into upsurge". (Mail today, 9/8/08). Puri people. Never mind their petty political
the vicious trap of vested interests, who puts the blame squarely on saffron gains, brazen vote-bank politics,
have always been hell-bent on brigade for triggering this gory obviously with eye on the upcoming
tarnishing our rich social and cultural cauldron. Now as the ground reality Assembly polls in state.
fabric and out to disintegrate state on suggests, it has snowballed into a full-
sectarian lines. Regrettably their blown communal war between two But amidst this entire din, no one
iniquitous and wicked designs managed warring sister provinces and more bothers to reason out whose pride is
to hit the arrow bang on this time. Such importantly between two communities. actually at stake, and who stands to
a long-standing and bloody impasse has It is assuming alarming proportions gain from this whirlpool of brutality and
been unprecedented in the long with each passing day. anarchy. To crack this "Da Vinci code",
chequered history of Kashmir, eclipsing lets trace the sequence of events that
even the bigger legendary Hazratbal It's no more about Congress versus BJP led us to this impasse.
controversy of bygone period, turf wars or BJP vs. Kashmiri regional
aftermath of Maqbool Bhat's execution parties; its more about Jammu vs. Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) was
in 80's and outbreak of secessionist Kashmir face-off across political and constituted on Feb 21, 2001 by J&K
movement in early 90's. Precious lives communal spectrum. Many slender lines govt, for the smooth conduct of
have been lost, and incalculable have got blurred, as prides are at stake. Amarnath yatra. It carried out its task
collateral damage reported. More Many Congress and NC leaders from admirably, without any fuss for many
significantly, the notions of communal Jammu are openly throwing their years. Then after a long while, all of a
harmony, inter-religious tolerance, weight behind saffron forces like BJP, sudden, a novel bug struck then
brotherhood, and peace have failed the RSS, VHP etc, even if that means Governor S K Sinha (also chairman of
litmus test, and stand shaken. 'Jam- flouting the party lines and annoying SASB). Earlier he asked for extension in
Kash' unity has suffered a brutal blow, high commands in 10 Janpath and Nawai yatra duration, which was granted.
almost beyond repair. And, pitiably Subh complex respectively. Then he wanted huge mass of Govt land
enough, we gave in so cheaply to the for construction of facilities for yatris.
impious designs of our enemies and Similarly in Kashmir, politicians from This time he got it terribly wrong. But,
enemies of our state. mainstream arena are rather he was adamant on getting the deal
audaciously humming the separatist inked IN SASB's favor. So after constant
Who actually pulled the trigger to this tunes, and pledging support to their persuasion by SASB, backed
mess? "It was started by Sangh parivar," every move. Notwithstanding their enthusiastically by Sangh brigade, state

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govt had permitted SASB use of play. However their actual argument both water and land" (E&PW, 26 July
forestland on May 29, 05. Not by a sheer merits serious consideration. 08).
co-incidence, Shrine Board's CEO was
Governor's personal secretary, and Amarnath Yatra has never faced any Hurriyat leaders in the meantime
Forest Deptt's principal Secretary was threat from any section of Kashmiri managed to mobilize the tremendous
CEO's wife. CEO's wife in capacity of society, nor from militants. In fact support of Kashmiris, and thus a mini-
being Principal Secretary of forest Kashmiri Muslims have stood by Hindu revolution kicked off in valley against
department had granted permission to Yatris through thick and thin for "land-grabbing" by govt. It was a kind of
SASB on May 29, 05 to use forestland for decades. So yatra isn't the cause of strand that pulled together farmers,
pilgrimage. But as eminent civil rights worry, but granting huge chunks of land laborers, students, lawyers, activists,
activist Gautam Navlakha notes," It was and paving way for more environmental businessmen, employees, and you name
not in accordance with provision of J&K hazards certainly is. As any it. Violence erupted soon after, leading
Forest Conservation Act 97, so state environmentalist or ecologist would to deaths unarmed protestors. As valley
govt later withdrew the order" approve, it poses grave challenges to was already on boil, Jammu began its
(Economic and Political weekly, July 26, the ecology of the area, which is the tryst with counter-stir. Azad Govt,
08). Later SASB moved the court and caught in catch-22, finally decided to
Division bench of High Court stayed the revoke the deal in favor of voices in
withdrawal. In between, Governor Then, on June 17, Governor's Kashmir. But not before, its ally PDP
Sinha, also then chairman of SASB shot notorious Principal Secretary already sealed his Govt's fate. Hopping
the letter to deputy CM Muzaffar Beigh, mad by the Volta-facie of govt on land-
and SASB CEO kicked up a
seeking 400 acres land for Amarnath transfer deal, saffron forces in Jammu
Development Authority. On June 03, storm by declaring land
resorted to extreme steps—blocking the
Govt eventually but hastily transferred "diversion" as "permanent". It Srinagar-Jammu highway, and cutting
100 acres land to SASB. Even though drew scathing criticism from all the essential supplies to valley. With
Beigh later publicly admitted to have quarters. More importantly it economic blockade, they virtually
been "blackmailed" into giving his declared war against Kashmir. Situation
approval. (Indian Express, July 16,08).
brought the two estranged
took ugly turn in Jammu when one of
Hurriyat factions together, and the agitators committed suicide, out of
Then, on June 17, Governor's notorious they found the time apt to bury desperation. Jummuites went berserk
Principal Secretary and SASB CEO kicked their hatchet and leave all thereafter, attacking local Muslims and
up a storm by declaring land "diversion" differences aside for the cause of Kashmiri truck drivers at will, besides
as "permanent". It drew scathing razing down Mosques and other Muslim
criticism from all quarters. More
motherland. structures. Police virtually gave them
importantly it brought the two free hand to commit grave communal
estranged Hurriyat factions together, route to some top tourist destinations. crimes. RSS's Tilak Raj Sharma, who
and they found the time apt to bury As Naulakha stresses, " Environmental spearheads Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti
their hatchet and leave all differences damage caused is enormous. Yatris called it a "do-or-die agitation", whose
aside for the cause of motherland. defecate on the banks of Lidder River final outcome would be "trifurcation of
They constituted a joint coordination and throw tones of non-degradable state into neat communal
committee and vowed to fight tooth and items like polythene, plastic bags, into compartments of Hindu Jammu, Muslim
nail against what they termed "land- the river, resulting in deteriorating Kashmir, and Buddhist Ladakh" (Mail
grabbing" by Govt. They launched a stir quality of water". He also points to the Today, Aug 09, 08). At centre, Hindutva
across valley with main thrust on the threat it poses to local inhabitation veterans resorted to their customary
environmental impact that the there, "Also, threat to local inhabitants vitriolic and venomous campaign
controversial land-transfer deal would from crowding of ecological fragile area against Muslims. LK Advani gave a green
have. Soon, as tempers ran hot and where they have to compete to retain signal to saffron cadres at a rally in
high, pent-up sentiments came into their access and rights to resources, capital, exhorting them to launch an

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agitation against "anti-Hindu" mindset Now as the situation prevails on ground, Rahim Rather have been vocal about
of UPA govt. He asked them to gear up it looks due for a long haul. Deep party's stand. But their maverick patron
for "do-or-die agitation" and support the religious fault lines have developed, Senior Abdullah had ruffled many a
"courageous" people of Jammu. sectarian split has widened and the feathers when he demanded return of
virus of regionalism has spread its land to SASB, although soon following it
Terming the wanton communal tentacles all across. Every politically up with a corrigendum. Omar
carnage in Jammu by saffron fanatics correct actor has determinedly tried to meanwhile has stepped up the tempo,
as act of "courage", it didn't even cash in on this crisis to reap petty threatening to resign from Parliament in
provoke so-called civil rights activists political dividends ahead of Assembly case violence against Kashmiris doesn't
in capital to give him a mouth-ful. And, polls. In Kashmir, PDP has been a vocal end. The same person who declared
coming from a prime-ministerial cheerleader for anti-deal lobby himself in an emotional outburst to be a
contender, it says a lot about the represented by Hurriyat. But, its also proud Indian in parliament not too long
hyped-about plank of secularism in pertinent to note that it was PDP leader ago is today questioning the claim of
this largest democracy. New Delhi that Kashmir is India's "atoot
ang". Customary Double-speak this!
Things spiraled out of joint
Things spiraled out of joint when
when separatists after getting an Congress finds itself in a precarious
separatists after getting an unlikely
supporter in PDP called for
unlikely supporter in PDP called situation. It is the chief protagonist in
"Muzaffarbad march" to protest against for "Muzaffarbad march" to this reality-show. Siding with Jammu
economic blockade by Hindutva protest against economic people at this juncture would mean
fanatics. Scores of protestors were annoying the Kashmiri vote-bank (if
blockade by Hindutva fanatics. there is still any!), and standing by
killed, including a senior Hurriyar
leader Sheikh Aziz, when police and
Scores of protestors were killed, Kashmiris would be aka inviting wrath of
paramilitary troops resorted to including a senior Hurriyar Jammu voters (The traditional bastion
indiscriminate fire on protestors. But leader Sheikh Aziz, when police of Congress). So Azad and company have
People defied curfew call and braved all decided to refrain from swimming in
and paramilitary troops resorted
odds to turn up for the march. troubled waters.
to indiscriminate fire on
Separatists from Mirwaiz to Sajjad Lone
vehemently denounced the economic protestors. But People defied Separatists meanwhile have made
blockade of valley by Saffron forces in curfew call and braved all odds maximum out of this stalemate. They
Jammu, terming it an "act of war". to turn up for the march. have shot back into limelight and struck
Social and trade organizations and emotional chord with hyper-
student unions like JKCCS, CCIK, sentimental Kashmiris. Leading the
KHAROF, Trade Union Centre, KU and then Forest minister Qazi Afzal, charge from front in these trying times,
Students, and Kashmir Pandit Sangarsh who had given thumbs up to the land- they have rightfully emerged as
Samiti fully backed the "Muzaffarabad transfer deal, and that would not have torchbearers of the movement. It has
chalo" call by Separatists. Though been possible without the blessings of also refreshed the memories of early
politicians at Centre called the Big Boss Mufti. Besides him, other 90's, when young boys would daringly
economic blockade as 'myth", it didn't signatory was senior PDP leader pour out on streets in defiance of
mask the truth, which eventually made Muzaffar Beigh, then Azad's deputy. draconian norms. More importantly the
its way into international community. It Beigh says he was 'blackmailed", while present cauldron has managed to break
was apparent with New York Times party boss Mehbooba goes a step further the ice in separatist camp, with two
running a headline " deadly force used saying, his ministers "misled the party" estranged factions calling peace with
to halt march in Kashmir" on Aug 12. on the details of deal. Cheap talk this! each other. Azadi chants are again
Other widely read foreign papers like National conference may have played reverberating in air, international
Guardian, Washington Post; L A Times second fiddle role in this anti-deal spotlight is back on Kashmir, popular
followed the suit. rhetoric but its leaders Omar Abdullah, support in valley has swung back in

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favor of separatists. Mirwaiz faction president Sanjay Tickoo maintains, land, and removal of army from Jammu
seems to have made peace with militant "Amarnath Yatra is being used as a tool which didn't find favor with delegation
outfits, Geelani though has emerged as by some elements in Jammu to fulfill members. As of now, return to normalcy
an unlikely hero, and Yasin Malik has their own interests". That merits a looks a distant dream. With no solution
again shown by example why he is serious thought. in sight, and no camp willing to budge
different from rest of the flock. Lastly even an inch from their stands, the
Shaheed Sheikh Aziz has given fresh Centre meanwhile has gone pitifully crisis is due for a long haul. Hope the
fillip to the freedom movement, and bang in hammering out a solution to this better sense prevails. Because, while
further strengthened the resolve of crisis. Govt's trouble-shooters are politicians only stand to gain from this
those who fight for it. cooling their heels elsewhere. Govt had bloody cauldron, it's the pride and
dispatched Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi honor of state and its people that is at
In Jammu too, politicians of all hues Shankar as peace emissary, to discuss a stake. God save my troubled land
across party lines have vowed their
support to pro-transfer deal agitation, Separatists meanwhile have Author studies at Jamia Milia Islamia
spearheaded by Saffron brigade. These University, New Delhi. Feedback at
include prominent leaders from
made maximum out of this armaan.journo@gmail.com.
Congress, Panthers Party and N.C. But stalemate. They have shot back
the potent force remains Saffron lobby into limelight and struck
represented by BJP, RSS, VHP, Bajranj emotional chord with hyper-
Dal, et al. They have cashed in on this
crisis to regain the lost ground in
sentimental Kashmiris. Leading
Jammu, and wipe away Congress from the charge from front in these
the region ahead of Assembly polls. trying times, they have rightfully
They have unleashed a reign of terror on emerged as torchbearers of the
Muslims there and resorted to grave
movement. It has also refreshed
crimes, which is not unlikely of them.
Double standards have again been at the memories of early 90's, when
play. While in Kashmir protestors were young boys would daringly pour
beaten with disdain for breaking the out on streets in defiance of
orders, and fired on indiscriminately,
draconian norms.
and even faced raids at nights (in
Downtown areas); while in Jammu,
agitators were literally given free hand way out of the current crisis with
to indulge in mindless violence. Hence Hurriyat hawk SAS Geelani. But he went
little wonder, just 2 were killed in back dejected, as expectedly. Arya
Jammu in 20 days of chakka protests, Samaj leader Swami Agvinesh also came
while the toll has crossed 30 in valley in calling on the septuagenarian leader,
just a week. In valley not even a single and hailed Hurriyat as " sole
case of attack on local Hindus and representative body" of Kashmiris. That
pandits has come to fore, while in must have created flutters in New
Jammu, local Muslims have gone Delhi. All part delegation from center
through hell in last few weeks, forcing headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil
them to migrate to safe places outside spent two grueling days trying to
the region. These hindutva fanatics hammer out a solution but in vain. It's
have played havoc with the rich cultural reported that Sangarsh Samiti's
and communal fabric of our state. As @01912493136
demands-3r formula led to failed talks…
Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti removal of governor, transfer of Baltal

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Reconnecting Kashmir :
Need For Reopening Traditional Routes

Prof Noor Ahmed Baba

O
ne of the dimensions of last five thousand years of its history has to Rawalpindi to meet the railroad
Kashmir issue has been the remained at the crossroads of crossing within the Punjab. Before
fact of the Kashmir being civilizational interface and a meeting partition this road carried the larger
pushed to a status of point of Chinese, Central Asian, Indian part of the state's traffic in men and
secluded periphery by the 1947 political and Persian civilizations, cultures and material. Most of the tourist flow to the
development. The division of Indian economies. In addition to its links with state came from this route.
sub-continent, de facto division of North and more particularly North
Jammu and Kashmir and the placement Western Indian sub-continent, it has Thus the 1947 developments pushed
of its two parts under the actual control had close trade and cultural relations Kashmir center to a sort of isolation and
of two different and hostile states, and with places in the present day China, seclusion. The division of Indian sub-
the resultant hardening of borders, Tibet, a number of cities in Central Asia, continent and de facto division of
pushed the valley of Kashmir and its
Afghanistan, Iran and via silk road even Jammu and Kashmir and the placement
surrounding regions to a number of
to Europe. of its two parts under the actual control
social, psychological, political and
economic disadvantages. During 1947- of two different and hostile states, and
48 the Jammu and Kashmir got divided Traditionally Kashmir remained the resultant hardening of borders
between what is known as Indian and connected to these places at different reinforced by hate and conflict, pushed
Pakistani controlled Kashmir. After 1962 points through routes passing Ladakh- the valley to a number of social,
Chinese aggression the former princely Tibet; Ladakh-Xinjiang (Eastern- psychological, political and economic
state of Jammu and Kashmir is Turkistan); Kargil-Skardu-Gilgit and disadvantages. Almost all of its major
practically divided into three parts. Out beyond; Bandipora-Gurez-Chilas-Gilgit; connecting points were blocked and
of the total of 222,236 sq. km of what Srinagar-Muzaffarabad-Rawalpindi Jammu and Kashmir became dependent
used to be Jammu and Kashmir till 1947, connecting to road and rail networks in on a highway that had never been
Pakistan holds 78,114 sq. km i.e. about different directions within British India;
considered reliable in comparison to
35 percent of the territory. China with Punch-Rawalakot and beyond into
roads and connections that historically
42,735 sq. km holds about 20 percent of Punjab from different directions. Most
connected Jammu and Kashmir with
the territory. Not many people know of these routes moving to North would
rest of the world. This seclusion had a
that what is shown as Indian territory in link the state to areas that are known
lot of emotional and psychological
maps is not what India actually holds. today, Afghanistan, Central Asian
implications for the people of Kashmir,
India controls only 101,383 sq. km i.e. States, Xinjiang province of China,
only about 45 percent of the total the families divided on two sides of the
Tibet and through linkage on silk route
territory indicated on the Indian maps. Line of Control (LoC) was in itself a
to more countries. Most of these routes
These developments not only did human tragedy.
including the two surfaced roads and
separate different parts of the state one railroad connected with the
from the surrounding countries but transportation network of the State to This has been the one the greatest
different regions within the state and areas that went to Pakistan. The disadvantages that Kashmir has
even on each side of the Line of Control suffered because of its post 1947
Muzaffarabad, the only all-weathered
were cut off from one another. political placement. This disadvantage
road in preparation Kashmir, ran west
from Srinagar along the Jhelum valley has also been shared by its surrounding
It needs to be noted that Kashmir for through the Baramulla pass, and south regions like Kargil and Leh and Poonch-

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Rajouri which continue to suffer the rainy season. Recent threat of its and the handicraft sector in the state.
communication disadvantage. The blockade in Jammu has exposed its For fruit growers time and freight cost
partition and the de facto division of the other risks for the Valley. Compared to of the supply to markets will be
state secluded the state, regions within Muzaffarabad road it is less secure and considerably reduced. For, example for
the state and even regions within each also lengthier to carry goods to centers apple growers at Sopore distance to
side of the LoC. For example Punch city of trade. Even though it is not generally Delhi is more than a thousand
prior to 1947 was on about five hours realized, this fact has socially and kilometers and truck load of apple on an
run from the Srinagar via Rawalakot and economically marginalized the people average takes three days to cover
Uri. But because of the LoC road travel of the Kashmir valley. Because of this distance to Delhi. Compared to this
distance between Punch and Srinagar fact people of Kashmir have always Sopore to Rawalpindi is only 250 km and
has become practically a minimum of remained nostalgic about the can be covered in about six to seven
two day run. Muzaffarabad road. That is why its hours time. Compared to Bombay-Port,
reopening has figured as important CBM where the Kashmiri traders presently
The disadvantages of political on Kashmir in different official and take the goods, the Karachi port is
uncertainty and impact of on-going nonofficial meetings between India and about 1200 Km nearer to Kashmir. As
conflict on the place created its own Pakistan. It is in this context opening of against the distance of 3000 kilometers
predicaments and problems of serious bus service on the route on April 2003 between Bombay and Srinagar, Karachi
nature for the people of Kashmir. The made a sense. It was expected to is only 1800 kilometers away from the
fact to be noted is that about 82 % J&K gradually lead to conversion of this road valley. Karachi in turn is nearer to
borders are with China, Pakistan and to a full-fledged trade route giving marketing places in the Gulf and
Afghanistan and only about 18 % of Kashmir traders an additional option. Europe.
these touches the Indian main land.
Much of this narrow stripe touches with One expected that in the context of Hence allowing the trade through
mountainous Himalayan barriers in the changing character of Indo-Pak Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route will make
Himachal with no possible motor-able relations, the process is taken further Kashmiri goods more competitive in the
link to Kashmir. Out of this connecting and this route known also as Jhelum international market. Indian
strip, in terms of topography, only about Valley Road becomes functional for government has been trying to link the
its 2% touching Punjab at Akhnoor has frequent travel of people and free flow northeast to Southeast Asia to remove
been worthy of developing a road or rail of goods across, removing the its seclusion. Government of India has in
connectivity to Jammu part of the psychological barriers between two principle agreed to open this route as
state. This point referred to Chicken divided parts. It is this development well. There has been understanding
Neck surrounded by Pakistan has that is going to have tremendous with Pakistan on the issue. It needs to
remained a vulnerable point of defense positive impact on the economy of the be expedited. Traveling should be
for India. people as this route has tremendous simplifies and frequent. Mechanism for
economic advantage for the full-fledged trade initiated with no
The national highway, 1A, which links transportation of goods and services to further delay. Significantly even the
the Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the outside world, because of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has
India passes through this stripe. relative advantages of security, hinted at opening of more roads and
Connecting the valley of Kashmir distance and smoothness. extending them from travel of people to
through Jammu has also remained and is vibrant trade activity across even to
likely to continue to be a problem. With Unlike the existing unreliable and fair central Asia. Therefore, the reopening
all the improvement this highway weather road joining Kashmir with India need to include Punch-Rawalakot
between Jammu and Srinagar still works via Banihal, "Srinagar-Muzaffarabad routes as well as other links that
only as fair weather road creating lot of road is considered to be safer, shorter traditionally connected different
inconveniences for people of Kashmir and more stable. This route will regions of Greater Kashmir with the rest
particularly during winter months and particularly be helpful to fruit growers of the world.

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After 2500 Cr Loss,


Eyes On Jhelum Valley Road

Bilal Hussain

The Valley has suffered a whopping cumulative loss of over Rs 2500 crore in the ongoing protests. The protests started over
the 100 acres of land transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which ended up in the 300 Kms Srinagar-Jammu
highway blockade -only operational road link connecting Kashmir with the rest of India- for over three weeks. Although the
whole issue is purely political in nature but it has adverse affects on the already distressed political economy of the Jammu
and Kashmir. The economic blockade has not only affected the business of J&K but to certain extent has affected other
states exporting goods here and multinational companies as well.

T
he business in Jammu and crossed the Rs 5000 crore mark this of Kashmir estimated at over Rs 2500
Kashmir suffers whopping loss financial year. Jammu and Kashmir, crore annually is in a serious jeopardy
of over Rs 1500 crore, otherwise, was poised to attract fresh following the enforced economic
Associated Chambers of investments volume of Rs 28000 crore blockade. "There's no alternative other
Commerce and Industry of India by 2012, including export orders of than Jhelum Valley Road," former
(ASSOCHAM), highest body of the around Rs 13000 crore. ASSOCHAM said President Kashmir Fruit Growers
Chambers of Commerce of India, said on this would have created 2.5 million Association, Imtiyaz Ahmad said.
Aug 13. However, the Valley business jobs.
chamber and industrialist believe that President Kashmir Chamber of
the losses reported by the ASSOCHAM Fruit Industry: Commerce and Industries, Dr Mubeen
are on much lower side. Shah, said, "It is our right to seek
Horticulture, one of the major markets for our produce and nobody
On the contrary to ASSOCHAM report, contributing sectors to the state's gross should have any objection for it," he
according to the estimates by the two domestic product (GDP), has badly been said.
apex business bodies of Valley, Kashmir affected by the enforced economic
Chamber of Commerce and Industry blockade forcing the fruit growers and "In view of the shortage of drugs,
(KCCI) and Federation Chamber of traders to look for the Jhelum Valley essential commodities and mounting
Industries Kashmir (FCIK) the road option to Muzaffarabad (other side losses to the business community in
cumulative losses to the Kashmir is over of LoC). President, Federation Chamber general and apple growers in particular,
Rs 2500 crore due to the continuing of Industries Kashmir, Shakeel Qalander we demand that government should
protests. said that the fruit industry has suffered think of alternative arrangements of
a loss of over Rs 400 crore. According to transportation of goods through
"If the agitation goes on, the economy of him the production of fruit in this Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road," said Dr
the state will suffer major jolt as people season is over 20 per cent of total Mubeen shah. Earlier, the traders,
who had lined up over Rs 5000 crore produce in the Valley. "Till date we business chambers, industrialists,
worth of investment for fiscal 2008-09 would have disposed of not more than political and religious organizations of
will depart to the neighboring states of Rs 100 crore of the fruit through local Kashmir let by the two jointly given a
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal and other means," he said. call for "Muzaffarabad Chalo" to counter
Pradesh", ASSOCHAM said. the blockade.
The blockade has stopped fruit growers
As per its estimates, the state witnessed to export their produce to outside Tourism Industry:
increase in investment proposals from Valley. "This used to be the peak time for
around $200 million in 2001 to more exports of fruits to outside," said The hoteliers, travel agents and other
than $2.3 billion in 2007, a 10-fold president New Kashmir Fruit Association, allied traders associated with tourism
increase. This investment would have Bashir Ahmad Bashir. The fruit industry have suffered enormous losses due to

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the continuing protests. It is a stand still position in the Valley produce and should consume them in
and as a result the tourists are forced to bulk," he adds.
The oldest and famous travel agency of remain in their hotels, Nasir adds.
the state, Shiraz Travels, Director, Nazir Manufacturing Industry:
A Bakshi said that in the first half of this The hoteliers blame government for
year we have around 4 lakh tourist losses they suffer from the ongoing The business volume of the raw material
present in the Valley. "The losses to the protests. "This year we had got bookings based industries in the Valley on
tourism industry in totality would be for full hotel rooms for three months in monthly basis is over Rs 1500 crore. "On
around Rs 700 cr in the two month of advance. But the government's decision an average the manufacturing industry
unrest," he said. of land transfer has financially dented has daily volume of over Rs 50 crore,"
us," said an hotelier. Qalander adds. The gross profit loss to
According to him there very few the sector is over Rs 300 crore, during
cancellation but large cancellation are The tourist mainly foreigners have the same period.
expected within days, tourist have cancelled their trip to the Valley on the
started making queries. “This is the wake of the turbulent condition in Agriculture and service sector:
total failure and ignorance on part of Kashmir. "I had booking for tourists from
the government. In good early days Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. But all The losses in the agriculture sector
these kinds of situations used to take of them have cancelled their booking would be around Rs 100 crore, an agri-
place but government used to reassure and I have suffered huge losses due to economist. Likewise the losses to
tourist, hoteliers and travel agencies, their cancellation," said an owner of a service sector excluding the tourism
which has not happened till date," he local travel agency. industry would be over Rs 200 crores, it
said. includes Information technology sector
Handicraft sector: in the Valley, said a software engineer
Government should come out with dos Audil Hussain.
and don't for the tourist, agencies, President, Kashmir Chamber of
hoteliers and other's associated with Commerce and Industry said that the Print Industry:
the tourism industry, he said. business fraternity has suffered huge
losses over the ongoing protests over The print industry of Kashmir is under
While sighing a relief Bakshi said that the economic blockade to the Valley. threat due to the continuing blockade of
luckily none of the tourist has been "The loss suffered by the business would Srinagar-Jammu highway. The industry
harmed till now. We are great full to be much higher than stated by the manages an annual turnover of Rs 200
people for their corporations, he adds. ASSOCHAM," he said. "The handicraft crores in the Valley alone.
industry including carpets would have
Chairman Travel Agents Association of suffered a loss of over Rs 300 crore. " The economic blockade has affected
India, TAAI, (Kashmir chapter) Nasir over 350 printing units, employing
Shah said that lots of cancellation have Trader's loss: thousands of youths. President, Kashmir
already started from the general tourist Printers Association, Mukhoor Gowhar,
and few of them have postponed their The annual volume of trade in the Valley said that the highway blockade has
visits. Those who are present here are is over Rs 30000 crores, said Qalander. affected the printers' business the
leaving before their scheduled "We have monthly trade volume of Rs most.
departures. 2500 cr in the Kashmir." The 20 per cent
of the business volume make a gross "The printing industry is basic for all
Government's indifferent attitude has profit loss of over would be Rs 500 crore other sectors," he said. Local
suffered the tourism industry in the for a month, which according to him is a newspapers too are running short of
Valley. loss to local traders suffered due to newsprint. Some newspapers have
continuing protests. stopped printing and most have reduced
In my 30 years of career in travel the number of pages to ensure
business, I have first time seen world Chairman, Kashmir Traders Federation continuity.
famous Dal Lake locked up. There were Jan Muhammad Koul said the Valley
not even one single joy ride in the Dal imports food items worth over Rs 30000 On an average 8 trucks of paper arrive in
Lake," he said. annually. "We must focus on native the Valley daily. According to Gowhar,

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government hospitals require huge Traders and businessmen have jointly an emergency meeting of Valley
printing supplies in the form of OPD called for vetoing brought in items and industrialists under the chairmanship of
tickets and other forms. "Till date we encourage consumption of apple and G M Bhat, President Industrial
have managed to supply tickets and other indigenous food items locally. Entrepreneurs Association, which was
forms to hospitals without any break but held in the industrial estate Zukara to
now we are running short of supplies," The economic blockade has affected discuss the effects of the said blockade
he adds. the fruit industry in the Valley. The on the industry and people of Kashmir.
blockade has strained the growers, fruit “It was resolved that we would
Other industrialists associated with the traders, business persons and others to completely boycott the outside state
trade say the paper industry is of utmost consider other viable solutions to products," Bhat adds.
importance and government should sustain the fruit industry of the state.
ensure supply to printers. The price hike "Locals should consume more apples Formation of Kashmir Economic
of over 15 per cent in paper industry has and other indigenous fruits grown in the Front:
already affected their business in the Valley. This would ensure the market for
Valley. "We were still struggling to the fruits locally and would minimize Recently the business community of
manage after recent price hike and now the dependence of fruit industry Kashmir Valley has jointly formed a co-
the economic blockade has dented us outside the state," said Imtiyaz. ordination committee, Kashmir
financially," said an industrialist. Economic Front, to look into the
Former President Kashmir Valley Apple economic aspects of the valley arising
According to Gowhar, the government Growers and Dealers Association, out of the economic blockade.
departments have started cancellation Ghulam Mustafa said, "It is high time to Representatives of Kashmir Hotel and
of orders to the local printers. open all possible routes connecting Restaurant association, Kashmir traders
"Government in these tough times Valley to outside world." and manufacturers federation,
should stand by us. Instead they are Houseboat owners association, Kashmir
threatening us by cancellation notices," Most of the people in the Valley were of transporters federation, Kashmir flour
he said. The association said the the opinion that the public should use mills association, and many other have
government departments are planning apples instead of chips, and soft drinks jointly formed the front. On Saturday
to outsource the work to outsiders. in the marriages, get-togethers and the front has decided to march towards
"Outsourcing would mean huge loss to other functions and parties. Muzaffarabad on 11th August 2008, to
the unit holders and government should Consumption of apples locally apart export the local produce. Earlier, pro-
restrain them from doing this," said a strengthen local economy would freedom leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani
unit holder. improve public health believe medical on Aug 9, had said that fruit-laden
doctors. "An apple a day keeps doctor trucks from all corners of the Valley
Presently the printers fear cancellation away, which is true and we must do that would begin their march towards
of orders from Kashmir University, in our lives," said Manzoor Ahmad, a Muzaffarabad.
banks and hospitals. resident of Budgam.
Futuristic views:
The prevailing situation demands The apple from valley besides being
thorough media coverage and the print supplied to all parts of India is also The commoners in general and
media are doing its bit. "Paper supplies exported to countries like Bangladesh, businesspersons in particular in the
to the newspapers should be ensured at Nepal, and Srilanka. This year fruit Valley are no more considering Srinagar-
all cost," said president, Federation growers in Kashmir were expecting Jammu highway safe, reliable and
Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Shakeel more turnovers but the highway enduring route, they have already
Qalander. "It is unfortunate on part of blockade has badly affected them started demanding of all-weather and
the government," he adds. economically. "Fruits have shorter life sustainable route for trade purposes.
span. We fear 90 percent of fruit in Although, there were talks going on at
Vetoing outside items: trucks would be rotten by now high level of opening Jhelum Valley road
amounting to huge losses," said a fruit leading to other side of Kashmir for
Consensus seems to be building among grower. trade purposes but the people are so
the local traders in Kashmir on banning eager and demand immediate opening
imported food items from other states. In response to the economic blockade of the route.

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September 2008