Kashmir Rights Forum

Month: June 2022

While the rest of India witnessed strong social and economic development post-independence, Jammu and Kashmir, a bone of contention between India and Pakistan lagged in terms of economic growth, employment, gender equality, literacy and many other indices. This lack of progress can be attributed to prevailing law and order situation in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. During the past two years, there has been change in trend and Kashmir is marching on the path of development. Various development measures have been taken by the incumbent government to bring prosperity and restore the glory and beauty of Kashmir. The common folklore might be aware about only Aarif Khan (represented India at the winter Olympics in Beijing), Sadia Tariq (winner of gold medal in Moscow Wushu Championship) and Umran Malik (sensational pace bowler in IPL) as they made the headlines of national and regional media. Apart from them, there has been a structural and progressive changes taking place in Kashmir which is bringing back the Kashmiriat in Kashmir. This land of unimaginable beauty is steadily progressing towards normalcy and more importantly the people of Kashmir are welcoming these changes.

The routine interaction with locals of Lolab in Kupuwara district which is part of my job indicates that law and order situation has significantly improved and Kashmir is on course of development. The Kashmiri youths are moving away from the clutches of Pakistan and its proxies. While interaction with the families of houses located in remotest corner of Surigam, I found their wards are pursuing higher education. Some of them have even gone to abroad. The children of that locality are filled with aspirations and even elders are trying to engage themselves gainfully to contribute towards the prosperity of their family which shows Kashmir’s holistic development. Even though the schools of my area of responsibility lack basic education facilities, they are filled with inquisitive children. The war of narrative propagated by Pakistan and its proxies are on waning phase. The narrative of “Azadi” is being redefined as “Azadi” from poverty, violence, nepotism, religious extremism and corruption. In totality there has been an overall decline in terror activities. There is almost a 33 percent drop in infiltration in 2021, 90 percent decrease in ceasefire violation, 61 percent decline in terrorism related incidents and almost 80 percent fall in abductions by terrorists. The above stated figures are manifestation of Kashmir’s slow and steady march to progress.

Kashmir is also witnessing unprecedented development through various schemes of government. J & K is one of the first UT to implement Union Health Insurance coverage. Till end of October 2021, 76% of families in UT have at least one Ayushman Golden Card. More than 16.2 lakh and 38.4 lakh Golden card have been issued to the beneficiaries under AB-PMJAY and AB-PMJAY SEHAT respectively.

In the field of IT, several procedures have been framed such as providing “subsidy on rent” to the outside investors, building two large size IT parks-one each in Jammu and Srinagar. Premier educational institutes like IITs and IIMs are already functional. Similarly, in the medical field, two All India Institutes of Medical Science, seven new medical colleges, five new nursing colleges and a State Cancer Institute are planned.

J&K government has received proposal worth 150 billion rupees from around 40 companies from different sectors. In February 2020, central government approved 60 billion rupees for a multi-purpose irrigation cum power project in J& K’s Kathua district. six agreements with global investors were signed in EXPO 2020 Dubai for investments in real estate, infrastructure, tourism and healthcare.

To give a boost to saffron farming in Kashmir valley, a new Saffron Park has been started just for the sole purpose of processing and promoting the sale of saffron from Kashmir valley.

Infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir got a big push after the abrogation of article 370. The execution of new roads, tunnels and other basic infrastructure has gained momentum to ensure overall development of J&K. According to tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir, 700,000 tourists have visited the valley in the past four months- the highest in the last ten years and with Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) starting in June, the government expects the numbers to grow further. Some suggestions which will make the development measures adopted by government more sustainable and bring the Kashmir at par with mainland India are enumerated as under.

Kashmiri youth must be exposed to a course in critical thinking. Kashmiris by nature are scholars. Their natural skills in the softer aspects of life such as art, literature and emotions are very subtle and refined. Government should come up with schemes which will propel common Kashmiris to engage in such soft skills and further make it as source of employment.

The geographical location of state makes it ideal for developing players for winter sports. Although, government schemes like “Khelo India” are providing platforms but it has not penetrated in entire Kashmir and a lot of raw talent are remaining unexplored.

The Eco-tourism of valley still remains unexploited which should be promoted by government. In schools, the curriculum of Kashmiriyat and nationalism must be incorporated.

There is need to ensure that governance with accountability is provided with maximum focus on the people’s need and development of union territory. There will be shortcomings and issues in the short run but over the long horizon both UTs will be benefited from the changes made. It may take some time to catch up with the rest of India but they are on the way of road to progress.

“The guns have gone silent on the borders of Kashmir for over a year after the agreement of ceasefire was signed between India and Pakistan. The people living on the Line of Control are finally living a life in Peace. And now the government along with the locals is also promoting these bordering areas as the new tourist destinations.”

The bordering areas in North Kashmir have been thrown open for the public. Areas like Keran, Gurez, Tangdhar, Machil and Bangus are the new tourist destinations which have been added to the list by the tourism department.

With breathtaking views of Hills and water tributaries, these places are being promoted as the adventure tourism destinations.

”We have been witnessing to a lot of gunfire and shelling in this area. We used to have ceasefire violations every day and shelling on our homes. But with the ceasefire we are finally living a normal life. We are extremely happy after the ceasefire between the two countries. It has come as a blessing for us. We are finally breathing normally. We used to live in bunkers earlier and we are hoping that we don’t see those days again. We don’t have money to invest in making hotels. That’s why we have made homestays. This will give us employment and we will be able to generate income. The view that you get in Keran, I challenge you if you can find this view anywhere in the world.

The Indian army has played a major role in opening these areas for the Public. The whole security setup in these areas is under the Indian army and they are not only protecting these areas but also promoting them as tourist destinations. The locals of the area say that without the Indian army, it would not be possible to welcome tourists in these areas.

”We are thankful to the Indian army. We get a lot of support from the army, and they are with us 24/7. Tourism is also coming to this place because of the Indian army. It’s a beautiful place and we are making our homes into home stays. It’s completely peaceful here after the ceasefire and we hope people from across the country will visit us. ” Raja Suhail Khan, Nambardar.

The Tourist department of Jammu and Kashmir government recently added 75 new tourist destinations to their list. 38 destinations are in the Kashmir region while 37 are in Jammu. The government has drawn plans for these areas to build infrastructure keeping in view the ecosystem of these places. They are also providing opportunities for the locals of these areas to generate employment and economy.

”The main thrust is to promote rural tourism and in rural tourism also we have identified offbeat destinations 75 in total, out of which 38 from Kashmir and 37 from Jammu. The focus is to highlight these destinations. Border areas like Gurez, Keran Machil and Tangdhar. These are the areas falling under the scheme, the plans have been drawn and we are in consultation with district administration and India army to promote these areas for adventure tourism.

There is also an effort for the locals to have opportunities in the tourism sector. They can have homestays, become guides and introduce adventure sports. This will improve the economy and showcase these areas as good tourism spots. However, these are eco sensitive areas and we can’t have huge concrete structures in these areas. We are focusing on tents and home stays which will open opportunities for the locals in these areas. They can offer a homely experience to the tourists. For youth, tented accommodation can prove a game changer for them. ” G N Itoo, Director Tourism.

As Kashmir witnessed record breaking tourist arrivals in the last 4 months, all major tourist destinations in Kashmir Valley like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg are fully booked for the next two months. Government says with the promotion of these sites, it will help cater the huge influx of tourists coming to the Kashmir Valley.

Courtesy: Idrees Lone

            The Pahalgam incident of Aug 2000 drew international attention to the sadist violence, indulged in by the “Mujahids” against the innocent people- yatris, religious preachers. It explicitly points out the prejudices of terrorists for other regions. The major instance of religious intolerance from the side of separatist nexus and their gunmen faction. Though the Kashmir has got messed up in multiple versions of the same incident. However, policeman on duty identified them, one was from a Pahalgam village and other from Anantnag. But, one thing is common among the eye-witnesses said that the two bearded killers of 22 Amarnath pilgrims, 6 local civilians and 2 policemen, danced triumphantly while choosing death for themselves too. ”Their height was moderate and complexion whitish as is the case with the Kashmiris”. Fake identity cards and the new recruitment drive by LeT and Jaish-devil acts is the proxy-war in Kashmir. A plans to backstage Kashmir from the path of prosperity and development that other states of the country were going in the same period.

            Two youngsters-sporting beard, wearing olive green jackets and brandishing AK-47 rifles-emerged out of the jungle at around 1845 hours on Tuesday evening and began the massacre of pilgrims from a wooden culvert, called Manzim Bridge. The stream beneath , often seen in Bollywood movies of Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh period, was in spade. They sprayed bullets in all directions, stormed into a Meerut Langar, and finally took position on a metalled road on the left bank of Nullah Aru. After leaving a total of 30 dead and over 60 others Wounded, the assailants tossed seven grenades on the beautiful hutment of Hari Singh, the commanding officer of CRPF 61 Bn.”

            Another eye witness explained the act of violence as, “the terrorists reached the bridge, they opened indiscriminate fire, hitting a women in the leg. Then they ran towards the CRPF picket, firing indiscriminately at yatris and shopkeepers. In this torrential rain of bullets that lasted for about 25 minutes, thirteen yatris and shopkeepers were killed on the spot. The next destination of terrorists was the adjoining meerut Bhandar, where 900 yatris from Meerut were camping. Two grenades were tossed at a tent, Killing one yatri and injuring four others. As terrorists approached the camp, a BSF constable opened fire and scared them away. Terrorists were running and firing towards the camp on both sides of the road. A man, hit by a bullet on the bridge fell down into the Lidder stream flowing below.”

            The grenades tossed at the CRPF picket damaged a car standing there Meanwhile CO was contacted at his office but he failed it reach the spot due to heavy gunfire at his home. Sentry SC Choudhary engaged the terrorists and in the fierce encounter that followed, he felled down one, who had hid behind a car and a massive rock. The other militant, 100 yards away on the Aru road was gunned by a BSF soldier. “Calm prevailed but only after the duo danced while crying that they had accomplished their mission”.

            Prem Lata, a teacher from Ludhiana who saw the terrorists, wearing police uniform and firing indiscriminately alleged that the terrorists were selectively killing pilgrims only. She took cover in her bus the wind screen of which was damaged as the killers emptied their volley of bullets. Baba Naresh of Gujrat, another eyewitness claimed terrorists killed a Baba after entering his tent. Ravinder Kumar of Haryana said near Meerut Langer, where terrorist brandished their concealed weapons, a barber and his customers were the first targets. “A broken mirror, a blood drenched cap and the splattered blood on the spot gave the idea of their act”. Firing on the moving pilgrims, they moved towards the small bridge.  After crossing it, they entered the area where the Langer and tents were set up. There a heavy exchange of fire took place between the terrorists and security forces, leading to the killing of some pilgrims and local labourers in the cross-firing. However, the terrorists managed to escape from the area.

            Poonam Gayal from Meerut received three bullets in her leg and abdomen. Both her daughter and husband were injured, while her, missing son was presumably dead. Aravind Kumar Verma had multiple fractures in his left leg. Arun Kumar of Delhi, who ran a Langar said the terrorists held AK-47 rifles and one of them even changed his magazine while killing yatris.

            Kuldeep Kumar, driver of a bus damaged in the firing was hit by a bullet in the leg. He said that one of the terrorists firing from under the bus finally came out and was killed by a CRPF jawan. Around four thousand yatris were camping in Pahalgam at the time of attack. Ram Sahagal, a pilgrim from Delhi said the terrorists, as they engaged in indiscriminate firing roamed freely in a radius of about half a km. Bharath Sharma, a travel agency owner of Agra, told reporters that “the terrorists began firring from a hill top and also from underneath a bus”. One of Sikh Sewadars was hit by a burst of automatic fire standing beside him, collapsed in a pool of blood.

            The prompt response by paramilitary personnel killed two terrorists, while another escaped in a maruti van. He was also wearing police uniform. As the bullets rained all around, people scrambled under the parked vehicles or took shelter under the trees along the Lidder bank. CRPF personnel were seen advising yatris to remain calm. Many other managed to escape in waiting vehicles. A large number of vehicles, including cars and buses, also showed marks of the indiscriminate firing. While many glass panes stood broken, tyres were punctured due to the impacts of bullets. The bodies of the pilgrims and other civilians were removed by security forces men and pilgrims during the night itself while the “unclaimed bodies” of the terrorists were kept at the police station.

            The survivors with nightmarish experiences recalled the good job done by Srinagar doctors and Army, BSF and CRPF. They were bitter against JKP and said the state police looked the other way when terrorists struck.

            The Hindu, quoted a pilgrim as saying, “After the massacre, their personnel prevented us from helping the injured and taking them to hospital. Instead of helping the victims, they kept saying, “if you for the yatra, you’ll meet the face”. A senior officer of CRPF claimed that terrorists had hurled five grenades, used 19 magazines and fired 570 rounds 0f AK fire and 57 live bullets were recovered from the slain terrorists. Later, a three-members committee headed by corps commander of the Srinagar-based 15 corps, JR Mukherjee had been appointed to probe the Pahalgam killings. The other members of the committee include Messers C Phunsung, Home secretary and GA peer, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag.

            The inhumane incident backed by the Pakistan and its nexus shown no value for the human rights, killing innocent religious preachers for their only cause of visiting their place of devotion. Such incidents are rotten stains on the face of so called romanticized terrorists, who had always been the cause for the misery and destabilization of peace and normalcy in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir. It had hid badly on the larger side of the economy- tourism which is the major source of the income and employment generation. The new economic ventures had been stuck in between due to these incidents of religious intolerance; violence pushed and supported by the terror factory. It thus proves the intentions of the Pakistan absolutely wrong; which they read as support for Kashmir. All Kashmiris should read and research about these incidents of utter violence that demolished the economy and employment generation avenues till the inception of these dastard attacks.

It is the world-wide known fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Time to time the Indian government has put this point across at all world forums firmly

“We cannot always build future of our youth but we can always build our youth for the future”. -Franklin D Roosevelt.
Nationalism is an ideology that is based upon the principle that an individual’s loyalty and love to the nation surpasses other individual interests. It is an emotional sentiment that believes that one’s nation is superior to all other. In other words, Nationalism is the glue that binds its entire populace having difference in terms of religion, caste, ethnicity, culture or language & builds a strong nation. All the inevitable differences hold no ground when the national integrity, loyalty & security are at stake. The National Flag, National Anthem are few of the symbols that unify a nation and fill its citizen with euphoria of nationalism. Only this is the force which motivates a soldier to even lay down his life on the line of duty. Only this is the force that propels a warrior to do unthinkable in defending his nation’s integrity. The Chapati and Lotus movement in 1857 is a perfect example that national symbols are important instruments to spring nationalism. In this movement the ubiquitous & harmless chapatti and lotus flower unified our citizens, motivated them for revolution and created restlessness & uneasiness amongst the British.

It is the world-wide known fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Time to time the Indian government has put this point across at all world forums firmly. Top Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) said after the abrogation of article 370 “It is our belief that the welfare of the people of Kashmir lies in getting integrated with India. The inimical forces and the neighbouring country are bent upon destroying Kashmir. The oppressed and beleaguered people of Kashmir are stuck between opposing forces [i].” Pakistan has been using Kashmiris as shield to create unrest in the region. Indian government has taken scores of measures to include a common Kashmiri into the main stream. The Indian Army has been running Operation Sadbhavana, an unique humane initiative, in the State of Jammu & Kashmir to address aspirations of people affected by scrooge of terrorism, sponsored and abetted by Pakistan. The focus areas of Operation Sadbhavana are Infrastructure development, Health & Sanitation, Women & Youth Empowerment, Education and Community development projects. The Central Govt has announced several ambitious policies to boost development in Jammu and Kashmir. Various industrial zones have been identified in different districts of the UT. As per news, companies including Tata and Reliance, have shown interest in investment in Jammu and Kashmir in information technology, defence, renewable energy, tourism, skill development, education, hospitality and infrastructure and horticulture. Other flagship infrastructure projects, in the UT include the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management. Other projects include the railway project at Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla, which will connect Kashmir to the rest of India.

A stable and peaceful environment in the Jammu & Kashmir will lead to economic and social development in the region. As reported by The Times of India on 01 Dec 2021 J&K witnessed record tourist arrivals in November 2021 highest in last seven years. This is the direct effect of peace in the valley.
The youth of Kashmir hold the key to build a better future. The youth have to analyse the trouble ridden past & must understand as to how they have been used by Pakistan for spreading hatred, violence & unrest in the valley. They must also understand at the end of the day we as a nation have suffered the most from the violence spread by Pakistan, who has nothing to lose in the process. The youth of Kashmir must nurture the spirit of nationalism. Heroes like Rifleman Aurangzeb & Sub-Inspector Arshid Ahmad, who laid down their life on the line of duty, should be the ideal of youth of Kashmir. To bring peace, stability and development in the valley, whereas the government is leaving no stones unturned, Nationalism should be the key factor amongst the youth of Kashmir which will serve as the strongest bond between them and the nation. The time is not far when the transformation will make Amir Khusrau’s following famous lines relevant & the youth are the best placed to lead this transformation.

“Gar firdaus, bar ruhezaminast,
haminasto, haminasto, haminast.”

Credits: Awami Itlaah

            Individuals begin to use drugs with varied choices. Some people use drugs to relieve some medical condition but continue to use them after the medical condition is over. Some people who feel depressed begin to use the drug to self-medicate and get addicted to it. Sometimes a traumatized event or a relationship issue led a person to drugs. Some other people use the drug to escape from the pressures of life or to experience the pleasure of drugs or to compliance with the peer group compatibility to have a different view of the world around them. This voluntary initiation into the world of addictive drugs has strongly influenced society’s view of drug abuse and drug addiction and their treatment.

            There is no fine line to draw a distinction between Drug abuse and Drug Addiction or when does drug abuse become drug addiction. Drug abuse and drug can be thought of as point along a continuum. Abnormal and inappropriate use of mind altering drugs when prescribed or over the counter is drug abuse however when it becomes drug addiction, it is not much clear because different people reach drug addiction at different stages. The scientific investigation is aimed at knowing the factors that contribute to this transitive period of drug abuse and drug addiction. Drug addiction, on the other hand, is defined as the continued compulsive use of drugs in spite of their adverse health, social and emotional consequences. Once a person becomes addicted to drugs he loses his control over drug use and often become isolated from family and the friends. They may also face difficulty at work and sometimes lead them to commit crimes and involve with Criminal Justice system. For addicted person, persistent use of drugs is the primary focus in life and once the drug stops the person will have cravings – intense and strong desire for the drugs. Our physiological mechanism generates these cravings to maintain a state of equilibrium that relies now on these drugs. These cravings have a physiological mechanism as they stimulate the area of the brain (Amygdala) that controls the emotional memory in addicted persons as shown by PET scans done on an addicted person. A drug addict can experience a state of craving at any stage of drug addiction or abuse.

            A drug to which a person becomes addict does not merely impair the person’s cognitive skills and behavior but also permanently damage certain abilities depending on the amount of a dose. Experts believe that certain changes due to the addictions disappear shortly after drug use while certain anomalies remain permanent. One of the first changes in the brain that may occur in response to repeated drug abuse is tolerance. Tolerance develops when a person requires a higher amount of drug to reach that leave of pleasure or a state of alteration of consciousness that he achieved previously through lower doses of drugs. In addition to this impairment of brain, drug addiction also makes people vulnerable to other health risks. For example, inhalant abusers are at higher risk of heart problems like disruption of heart rhythms. Often drug addicts consume and inject drugs in a group for better experience also put them at higher risk of contracting HIV virus due to contaminated needles used in a group. Also, there are higher incidences of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C among drug addicts than the general population.

            Drug Abuse spoils human lives and also destroys the golden periods of life. As on 2012, 1,83,000 drug related deaths have been reported and that figure corresponds to a mortality rate of 40.0 deaths per million among the population aged between 15 – 64. In 2012 it was appraised that between 162 million and 364 million people about 3.5% and 7.5% of world population aged between 15-64 have used an illicit drug belonging to cannabis, opioid, cocaine or amphetamine type stimulant group at least once in a previous year (World Drug Report 2014) . According to this Report, only one among six problem abusers has access to treatment related facilities or received de-addiction or detoxification services.

There were 18 fatal attacks on innocent civilians this year. They include 12 Kashmiri Muslims, two from the minority community, and one Hindu teacher.

Below mentioned attacks were carried by terrorists sponsored by Pakistan this year.

On 25 Feb, A civilian identified as Shakeel Ahmad Khan resident of Shopian was killed during a gunfight in Amshipora, Shopian in which two militants were killed as well.

On 02 March, Panch Mohammad Yaqoob Dar of Kulpora Srandroo Kulgam was shot dead at his residence.

On 6 March, two persons namely Mohammad Aslam and Rafiya Jan were killed in a grenade attack in Amira Kadal Srinagar.

On 9 March, PDP sarpanch Sameer Bhat was killed in the Khonmoh area of Srinagar.

On 11 March, Sarpanch Shabir Ahmed Mir from Audoora Kulgam was killed near his residence.

On 21 March, Civilian Tajamul Mohuddin was killed in Gotipora Budgam.

On 27 March, Student Umar Ahmad Dar was killed along with his SPO brother at his residence in Chadibugh Budgam.

On 15 April, Independent sarpanch Manzoor Bangroo was killed in Pattan area of Baramulla district.

On 10 May, Civilian Shahid Ganaie was killed in crossfire during an encounter in Pandoshan Shopian.

On 12 May, Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhat working in revenue department was killed in Tehsil office Chadoora Budgam.

On 13 April, Satish Kumar singh, a Kashmiri Rajput man was shot dead inside dis home in Kulgam’s kakran.

On 15 May, Suhaib Ganaie a resident of Turkwangam was allegedly killed in crossfire during an encounter in his native village.

On 15 May, Ranjit Singh an employee at Liquor shop in Baramulla was killed when a grenade was lobbed inside the liquor shop.

On 26 May, TV artist Amreena Bhat of Hushroo, Chadoora was killed inside her home.

On 31 May, Hindu teacher namely Rajini from Samba was killed in Gopalpora Kulgam.

On June 02, Vijay Kumar a bank manager at Ellaquai Dehati Bank hailing from Rajasthan was killed inside his office.

On June 02, Two migrant labourers were shot at, in Budgam’s Chadoora, Dilkhush resident of Bihar succumbed to his injuries.

June 2, among the two non-locals who were fired upon by terrorists on Thursday late evening in central Kashmir’s Budgam district succumbed to the injuries at a hospital.  The victim was identified as Dilkhush of Bihar, who was working as a laborer at Brick Kiln. Earlier two non-local laborers were fired upon by terrorists in Magraypora area of the district. One had bullet wound in hand and other received fire arm injury in neck area.  Both were immediately shifted to nearby hospital for treatment, the officer said.

KRF strongly condemns the attack on minority community especially Hindus residing in the valley. These attacks are aimed at creating fear among the minorities and spread a wave of psychosis in non-locals sustaining the economy.

On June 2, in a major violation of Human Rights, Pakistan backed terrorists shot dead yet another innocent Hindu from South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

Vijay Kumar, Bank Manager of Elaqahi Dehati Bank, Branch of Kulgam was fired upon by terrorists this morning in the Arreh area of the district. Originally, a resident of Hanumangarh Rajasthan was shot while he was performing his duties in his office.

The targeted attack comes within 24 hours of a civilian Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, being shot at and injured in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on Wednesday night. He was fired upon in at Rakh-e-Chidren area of Pulwama.

The month of May saw seven targeted killings in Kashmir, including a Kashmiri Pandit employee, a Hindu teacher from Jammu, a wine shop employee and three policemen. KRF strongly condemns the incident of gruesome terror with a request to security agencies to pounce upon the attackers soon. Our deepest condolences to the families of the victims in this hour of grief.

On 01 June, terrorists in the evening shot at and injured a civilian in the n Rakh-e-Chidren area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district. Terrorists fired upon him at the Rakh-Children area, leaving him seriously wounded.
Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, son of Ghulam Nabi Sheikh of Rakh-e-Children, was shifted to hospital where his condition is stated to be stable. KRF condemns the attack aimed at creating fear and psychosis.