Rapes by “Security Forces”

Ghulam Nabi Azad made a statement a few days back justifying the number of rapes committed by “security forces” in Kashmir.

I was too angry to write. I read something from GK today that somehow vents out some of that anger that I feel.. so I quote it for you to read and think:

Rapes: Comedy of numbers
Time to sell some preposterous numbers to shelter the Indian forces, for crimes as heinous as rape, comments Ather Zia
There are lies, damned lies and statistics.(Mark Twain) Continue reading

The Greater Kashmir Problem.

What exactly is wrong with Greater Kashmir?
I am unable to understand. In spite of the fact that it is such a widely read Kashmiri newspaper, the standards they maintain really make one think — what is wrong with them.

I am not talking of the fact that the news paper is practically filled with pages and pages of advertisements, where you have to search for news. Fair enough, they want to make money. Make money.. but then maybe they could add a few pages for the ad’s so that there would be enough space for news. Any how…

I am not even talking of the very loud grammatical/english language errors that call attention to themselves. No no… people have talked of that. I don’t need to.

I am not even talking of the biased news items which are pro-this/that. That is a norm with all newspapers. There is no such thing as unbiased news.

What bothers me today more than on other days is what kind of ‘news’ are given front page priority. The news item on the food served in a golf course written in a lucid, story like manner with the menu at the end comes on front page… hello????? while news of people protesting against Rushdie is not important. And other news items are given coverage like this:

A Joint Director of Information (Government of India) drowned in river Jhelum on Thursday when he along with other senior officials was inspecting the Uri power project, a local news agency said.

Being the newspaper which is so widely read, it is sad to notice that things are very wrong some place.

Greater Kashmir should work towards improving its news coverage. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before somebody else comes with a newspaper that people would switch to. Afterall, news sells. And brings money.

Kill Rushdie.

Killing Rushdie is something that should have been done a long time back. Simple as that. He will die when he has to die. He can go and shoot himself and it would be perfect.

But Rushdie doesn’t bother me. He is a pathetic blob of protoplasm that should just evaporate from this planet.

What bothers me is the height of patheticness that entitles Rushdie to knighthood — and that too for Satanic verses – a book filled with filth. A book where everyone is abused and has no literary value.

Pathetic indeed. I am disgusted. The Queen of England has a gross taste in books. Yuck!

Enduring Freedom?

I find the idea of enduring freedom very confusing. Freedom isn’t anything that we ‘endure’ or bear with… it is supposed to be the one thing that we all wish for.

But then.. to think of it.. one would have to endure ‘freedom’ if the freedom is not your’s .. but someone else’s and .. it somehow infringes upon your rights.

Well maybe that’s what Operation Endure Freedom is all about. The Afghans bearing with American freedom to do just about anything….

The US-led coalition – under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom – is a counter-terrorism mission that involves mainly special forces.[bbc]

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

That is the name!
And this guys goes about preaching ‘peace’ to the world.

And what place is in need of peace more than Kashmir?
So Sri Sri (Why twice?) Ravi Shankar, decides to walk in to the vale — and address — not exactly the common masses who walk on the dusty roads — but the elite group who make it to the big conference halls.

Ravi meets Geelani
And Mr.Ravi Shankar decided to walk into the house of Hurriyet Conference leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani – coming to him with PEACE.

Anyways, it seems that Geelani had a word or two to say to him..

“If you are serious about peace in Jammu and Kashmir, you should go to Delhi and urge Indian leaders to vacate troops from occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir…When Indian government itself says there are some 1500 militants operating in Kashmir, then why it has deployed some seven lakh troops vested with draconian laws to counter such a small number?”

Sometimes I like the good old man for what he says. Sometimes I don’t like what he says.
But I was glad to read the message that he sent to the man who came to speak of peace in a conference hall.

ravi and zakirPS: In case you don’t know who Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is … its ok. 🙂 I didnt either until I watched him on Peace TV, debating with our dear Zakir Naik. Ravi Shankar has a huge following in the rich nations where people find him bringing to them the message of peace. This guy is the chairman of “Art of Living” foundation.

History relived!

The amazing things about history is that it repeats itself.

The saddening thing is that in Kashmir the only history oft repeated is the that which causes distress for the masses.

“Begar” or forced labour introduced by the Dogras had on the surface left us alone. But the fact remains that forced unpaid labour exists even today.

The ‘security forces’ ensure their own security, their own well being at the cost of the people who supposedly they are here to provide security to.

Army is forcing the men of Charle, Devar, and Khan Peto villages in Budgam district into labour, a delegation of residents told Greater Kashmir. Srinagar, Apr 30:

“I have been taken to camp many a time by these government gunmen and I was forced to cut timber for Bukharis (wooden heaters). I have six mouths to feed and it means loss of earning, but I can’t say no to them. They are brutes, they can implicate you in false cases, they can kill you,” said a villager, requesting his name should not be mentioned. April 30, 2007

The mourning residents of the village told the DC and the RR commander, “your troops regularly knock at our doors in the night and harass us masquerading as militants. They take us into forest, force us to fell the trees and saw the timber. They also force the artisans to make beds, boxes and other items from the timber. For the daylong forced labour we are paid two and half kilograms of rice or two litres of kerosene. Sometimes they don’t pay even that. We are forced to look for explosives on the roadsides.” April 12, 2006

Democracy ahoy!

Democracy…
Freedom of expression…

Things that India claims to have and Indians take pride in.

(Image from Greater Kashmir)

Geelani was scheduled to address a press conference in connection with the recent arrest of four of his senior colleagues under Public Safety Act (PSA) and Judicial custody of 13 others.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), men of Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu and Kashmir police personnel today cordoned off entire Hyderpora, including the house of Geelani on the Airport road.

But then… I shouldn’t be complaining… Kashmir is not, was never a part of India, so the rules obviously differ. Democracy and freedom of expression are obviously not meant for this part of the world – which India claims to be ‘integral part of India’ and Pakistan claims ‘disputed territory’ and Kashmiris who have no claim to even the basic human rights…

We have a system where people have no right to be heard. And that has been so true for the masses in Kashmir, that somehow we are used to it. If maybe one day we are heard, we might be surprised.

But what surprises me is that even Kashmiris who have an international presence are actually ‘openly’ not given a chance to speak to the press. Yes I am speaking of Geelani’s attempt to speak to the press and the ‘security guards’ who didn’t allow him to speak, and forced the whole entire locality to be suffocated inside their homes.

They call it ‘crackdown’ – down here…
I call it curtailment of basic human rights.

What do you call it?

Kashmir on protest…

The whole of Kashmir is protesting.

And this time round it isnt ‘azadi’ in its specific socio-political context that Kashmiris are asking for, but it ranges from things like polluted roads to getting jobs.

Suddenly there seems to be a surge in the number of demonstrations that are done daily. The electropathy graduates (some branch of medicine) ask for jobs, school children ask for roads to be fixed coz of the pollution..

The forms are varied – hunger strikes (where some decide to burn themselves), boot-polish strike, where doctors/professionals seeking jobs etc, polish shoes of the people on the road, rayda kapda sale, where professional sell clothes on a make-shift portable shop (that is the closest i can get to describing a rayda).
Another very innovative protest was a group of people carrying an empty coffin to symbolise the death/apathy of the system.

The cutest I saw yesterday on TV was school children protesting against pollution due to trucks and bad roads….

The slogans remain the same…
“Naarai takbeer.. Allahoakbar…
apna haq hum laykar rahayngay..”

Kashmiris keep on protesting… is anyone listening?

To mourn or not?

Boris Yeltsin is dead.

Finally.(If I may be allowed to add.)

I read the news. And I go back a few years in time and remember my literature class…

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

And I remember the death of the man painted as the demon – no other than Saddam Hussein.

Both tyrants.
Both dead.

Yet one remembered as a “Giant of History” and the other as “demon”. The irony of it all.

Strange and sickening, but unfortunately this is how the world we live in works.
Yeltsin died – of old age, of being drunk, of whatever reasons. The country laments his death. They mourn and give him a respectful burial. The priests pray for him. And he is remembered as a giant of history.

I wont display graphic images of the brutalized Chechens … but something to serve as a reminder:

I will always associate Boris Yeltsin with my grimmest ever job as a journalist too. In the spring of 1995, I stood in a field in Chechnya. Lines of civilian corpses, some charred by flames, lay awaiting burial. This was the result of the Kremlin’s heavy-handed response to the breakaway region’s bid for independence. (JAMES RODGERS, BBC’s Moscow correspondent for periods 1991-2007)

You decide whether you wish to mourn or rejoice.

Round table

.<strong>Question:</strong>
Why are conferences on ‘critical’ and ‘serious’ issues discussed on a round table?
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Ans:
Coz the talk goes round and round in circles forever and ever…

(ah.. reminds me of Buddha, and moksha or freedom from the cycle of rebirth…)