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Archive for June 14th, 2009

Kashmir’s ‘peculiar problems’ need political solution: Chidambaram

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 14, 2009

Agrees on troops reduction; AFSPA revocation ‘flagged’

Srinagar: Home Minister P Chidambaram Friday linked ‘peculiar problems’ of Jammu and Kashmir with development and asserted need for political solution to resolve them.

“Jammu and Kashmir shares some common problems with other state and has some peculiar problems which deserve special care. These special problems are not certainly resolved yet and require political solution as they come in way of development,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told a news conference here this morning to windup his two day visit of valley.

Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that Chidambaram who wound up his two day visit to the Valley expressed hope that the separatists will be engaged in the dialogue process. “Government of India believes to engage “everyone” in dialogue process,” he said when asked to comment about the separatist’s participation in any sort of dialogue with India.

“We are all aware of political issues. We will address political issues that require dialogue- and we will have to ensure dialogue,” he said. However, he refused to give any time frame and said that it will start at appropriate time.

P Chidambaram, who retained his portfolio in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second innings, said that there was decrease in infiltration and militancy related incidents in the state even though he underscored rise in what he said, “agitational activities.”

“Infiltration from across the border as well as the militancy is on decline but at the same time there is rise in the agitational activities in the state and happen almost every day,” he said being flanked by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former Union Minister for water resources Saifudin Soz during the news conference.       

“There have been unfortunate incidents in the past and whoever is responsible will be punished. Intention is to take action and action will be taken on information to the state and centre government. If intentions are good, there will be action and anybody found guilty will be punished,” he said.

The Union Home Minister said that agitational activities must be ‘contained’ and not allowed to disrupt normal life.

“People want better roads, more water, electricity, jobs, they want to send their children to school and want a better future,” he said, as per a Press Bureau of India correspondent present in the conference Hall at SKICC here on the banks of the Dal lake.   

“I would appeal to everyone that agitational activities must be contained so that they do not interfere in the normal life of the people. Normal life must carry on as well as normal governance,” he said, adding, “There must be some moderations.”

According to Chidambaram, while peaceful agitation was the hallmark of a democracy, they should not interfere with the lives of the people.

On being asked about the cane charge on women students, he said: “I can not comment on what happened during a particular demonstration but ideally it should not happen.”

The Home Minister reiterated ‘intention’ to redraw lines of responsibilities between police, paramilitary forces and the army.

“Army has conventional responsibilities to counter infiltration on Line of Control and militancy in the border areas. Paramilitary troops are to aid police in security and law and order maintenances while police is the principal force in law and order and fighting militancy. We are in a process of doing that and it will take time,” he said.    

“We like to see army outside the inhabitation and not in towns and cities,” he added. On revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the visiting Home Minister promised to take every required step.

“The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is a subject matter. We have flagged it during my meeting with Omar Abdullah in Jammu before the elections and have flagged the issue again. I have to discuss it with the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister and it will look at the matter,” he added.  

On the reduction of troops, the Home Minister, who choose Valley as first place to visit after the new government at the centre, said: “We have agreed to move on the road?”   

Chidambaram said stability has been reasonably assured after the elections to the state assembly and the parliament.    

He also announced to form a monitoring plan on Prime Ministers reconstruction plan and assured every help from the centre.

Chidambaram also evaded comment about United State’s Under Secretary of State, William Burns, urging wishes of Kashmiris to be considered.

“I don’t have to respond what Mr William Burns has said,” he said. (PBI) 

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THE POWER OF CONCEALMENT

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 14, 2009

By Javaid Iqbal Bhat

The very idea of breaking away from the Shopian episode and picking a new issue for discussion is heartbreaking. In the gallery of macabre images being inherited from the arrogant Indian hegemony, the album from Shopian can never be effaced. The despair cannot grow deeper. It was in a moment like this that the famous Jonathan Swift of Ireland in an essay entitled “A Modest Proposal” humbly requested the rich and the powerful to take the little boys and girls of Ireland and prepare a special non vegetarian meal for themselves. That way the endemic discomfort of the powerless can be eased. We are in no different situation though of course our problem is of the political nature. The intensity of the consciousness of suppression has hit the peak. One wonders if after this there is any other brutality that can be imagined. Yet, despite the surrounding gloom, for today’s column I decided to go over to another theme; if for no other purpose at least to bring a little relief (distraction?) from the bottomless frustration. Though, as would be clear soon, the nub is not so far away from Omar Abdullah’s tight upper lip declaration “accidental drowning.”

Conventionally, the techniques for the retention of power used to be more open. The rule or the authority was established in a more open, clear, direct and broad based manner. The awe and veneration among the masses towards the seat of the authority was created through measures which were not so clandestine. Such as, the demonstration of the military strength of the ruler. Or through wanton exploits in the foreign territories. Lest Authority was seen as blood thirsty, the show of power was also done through the network of charitable institutions, the elaborately laid out public works and the widely publicized donations. The intention in both cases was common; to lay deep the roots of authority. In other words for the ruler to be seen and recognized as powerful, above whom no one existed in main and might, it was believed to be indispensable to try to remain open and overt.

That was though in the past. Today the case is substantially different. There is a fine overlap between power and concealment. Not that there is no open demonstration of authority and influence. The naked show of power does exist; and brutally so. Yet at the same time there is an almost equal quantity of involvement with hiding and concealment. The consolidation of power is not solely or substantially wedded to openness, transparency and publicity. It has a cardinal link with the fine art of concealment. Why is there an almost pathological preoccupation with keeping certain things away from the masses? The reason is that idea of the rule and the ruler is not merely concerned with the physical self of the king, and his mammoth size monuments and minarets. Today the rule and the ruler are at a huge distance from the masses as they are, ironically, also very close to them.That is due to the omnipresence of images. Through the print and electronic these images mediate between the ruler and the ruled. There is a huge flow and dissemination of them. They are carefully produced and attractively sold out through the mass media. In fact the image may not necessarily be a reality but they are vested with the color of reality and given a fair touch of authenticity through a meticulous packaging. Thus making the image sometimes far taller and durable than the medieval monuments. Through the appealing mass media the images are voraciously consumed. That there is no stop on the emission and circulation of images implies their valuability for the rule and the rulers. From the top leadership, those who have shaped the ideological base or serve as a source of inspiration, only select photos are used for creating a desired impression. The photos are selected keeping in view the temper of the masses at a given point of time. Others not falling in line are cast away as though that facet of the ruler did not exist. There were definitely in the past sculptors and calligraphers who performed this function but it was so minimal in scope as to be negligible compared to the huge bombardment in our period.

For an example, every paper currency note in India carries a smiling Gandhi. It seems the Father of the Nation has taken birth with a smile and left the world with one. Actually the widest possible circulation of the smiling Gandhi reinforces the “Mahatma” impression in the consciousness of the masses. The permanent smile worn by the Father puts him next to the serenely smiling gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Though what is concealed in the dominant discourse is revealed elsewhere; in the Dalit sub culture the images of Gandhi are shown vis-�-vis Ambedkar, wherein the latter is depicted in reverential poses. And not like any archetypal Indian saint in whom the long flowing beard is replaced by a clean shaven face and the smile. For the insurgent Dalit movement in India a bold and serene Bhimrao pushes away the toothy smile of Gandhi, and when the two are shown together, an arguing and adamant Mahatma faces a calm  Dalit messiah, Ambedkar.

Similarly the oldest political formation of India, the Congress Party uses the images of Nehru. Broadly seen, his images in the public are constituted around three themes; as a thinking Brahmin, as an organizer and builder (the celebrated film “Gandhi” by Mr. Attenborough congealed his persona as a smart, active organizer) and as one doting on children, the chacha Nehru. Common to all these mass circulated images is a rose attached to his coat. So far it is alright. However, how many know hat the first Prime Minister of India, in addition to the above, was also a chain smoker; a fact mentioned by R C Rajamain in his book “Witness to History”. Actually not many. For mass memorization in this manner goes against the clean image so painstakingly constructed; an idealization of someone who was after all a human being prone to so many crude temptations. The idealization is necessary if dynasty is to be created and sustained. They cannot survive for along on (real)ization.

Closer home, for a long time the sher-bakra divide shaped the political discourse of Kashmir.The sher group was made of the peasants and workers, on the other hand the Bakra was mostly made of the urban-clerical-bourgeosie. And the images on both the sides were framed as per the same dichotomy. Whatever was a misfit in this split was withheld with clinical precision from the popular mind. One such picture is that of the grandfather of the current Chief Minister. Scarcely can anyone say with confidence that the messiah of the peasants ever sported a long beard. That is however as much true as it is hidden.. For once, not only does it break the conventional adversarial dichotomy (the Sher,it turns out, is also a self reinvented Bakra) but it also stains the much sought after secular image and character for the Party. It is true that there is an easy access to images, however, the filters are not in every one’s custody. They are ever alive to the possibility of the diminution of power if everything is paraded before the public. The dynasties are more prone to the fall in esteem and power subsequent to the exposure of the hidden closet. The only S M Abdullah in the mass memory is a tall figure delivering thunderous speeches or one in the offices overlooking the official work with a clean shaven face and a slightly tilted Karakuli. The beard has gone; it is no longer needed. Though it may be retrieved if the future demands. As dynasties are vulnerable to hiding so are the masses prone to scandal (and switching sides) if the hidden is exposed. Hence hide and rule; reveal and perish.

Javaid Iqbal Bhat is Research Scholar, Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Email:  javjnu@gmail.com

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Memorandum: Inqilabi to Dr Manmohan Singh

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 14, 2009

MEMORANDUM

 
 June 13, 2009

Nageen, Hazratbal, Srinagar.

Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh,

Honourable Prime Minister of India

Compliments �

As a humanist I feel that it is time when Dr. Manmohan Singh, the unassuming and suave personality enjoying power as the Prime Minister of India and who has the requisite capacity and capability to address the festering Kashmir issue with volition and resolve, should take Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership into confidence for a permanent solution of Kashmir issue. Manmohanjee and rest of the global leaders who are eager to sympathize and empathize with Kashmiris should certainly commiserate with the suffering people of Kashmir. Alas!, Kashmiris have been writhing with agony and torment caused by the perpetual repression and suppression here for the last six decades. Recently U.S President, Mr. Barak Husain Obama � the  global rabble -rouser having incisive urge for a change from regressive fixation to futuristic humanism, tried to be vocal and straightforward while dilating on the global issues in Cairo University (Egypt) on June 4, 2009. His realism and political acumen should coax and cajole the global leaders to adopt proactive and objective approach to global issues which have bedevilled and embittered relations between nations and continents.

So it is time for the restitution of the peace process which got stalled due to unpredictable events deplorable and reprehensible indeed. Why should India and Pakistan remain permanently entrenched and embedded in the mesh and marsh of uncertainty, mistrust and socio � political cataclysm  ? Days of one –  upmanship have gone. Let rationalism and objectivity prove as a force majeure in determining the nature of the relationship between two nuclear powers of South Asia. Kashmir continues to be ‘ fuse in the tinder –  box’ of South Asia. New Delhi cannot elude the culpability for the tragic episode of Shopian where two innocent girls fell a prey to the vandalism of ‘ security forces’ who outraged their modesty and subsequently slaughtered them ruthlessly. The tragic and condemnable act triggered off unrest here over the blatant human rights abuse and violation. In the ongoing  peoples’ agitation against the scourge, which is aimed at breaking the will of the people to resist the onslaught of totalitarianism,600 Kashmiris got injured and a few votaries of Kashmir freedom struggle were literally eliminated by the trigger � happy men in uniform.

Of late, some resistance leadrers including Syed Ali Geelani (the ailing stalwart), Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Ashraf Sehrayee and Asiya Andrabi Sahiba were arrested under PSA, the draconian law, and lodged in different jails of Jammu. Some senior leaders of JKLF too were put behind the bars under the same act. Thus the simmering and brewing feelings of rancour and acrimony got automatically augmented. The brash and rash proactive role of the authorities boomeranged and back � fired. Please hold back for soul � searching. Are Kashmiris supposed to be cannon � fodder?

In the political conclave on June 12, 2009 in Islamabad (Pakistan), Pakistani and AJK leaders including M.Fazal-ur-Rehman, the renowned opposition leader, vociferously espoused the Kashmir cause � right to self-determination. And all the humanists of India are prompt in wooing Kashmiris by expressing solidarity with them and their freedom aspirations. It is our optimism which is resilient.

 

Wish you success                                                                

Yours,

Khuda Hafiz                                                                  

M. Azam Inqilabi

Patron Jammu & Kashmir Mahaz-e-Azadi

Srinagar

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Lawyers March For Justice, Say CM Should Resign

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 14, 2009

Srinagar, June 13, KONS:
Lawyers throughout the valley today staged protest demonstrations and held rallies to denounce the double rape and murder in Shopian last month, with the High Court Bar Association demanding the resignation of the chief minister, the rural development minister and the divisional commissioner for Kashmir for having misled the public.

During demonstrations by lawyers, the president of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) met the families of the two victims in Shopian and inspected the spots where the bodies had been found.

Taking the call of the Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, forward, the HCBA took out a procession in Srinagar.

Led by noted legal expert, Zaffar Ahmad Shah, the marchers emerged from the lower court complex chanting slogans against the Shopian outrage and demanding punishment to the perpetrators.
As the procession headed for Lal Chowk, it was joined by many more members of the legal fraternity, the swollen numbers marching to the press enclave via the clock tower to demand hanging of the culprits.

The lawyers also raised slogans against the divisional commissioner for Kashmir, M Samoon, and the NDTV news network which had tried to question the character of the two victims.
Addressing the gathering, Zaffar Shah said that the outrage was not a question of two women only but the collective self-respect of all Kashmiris.

“We can tolerate any atrocity, but will never allow the honour of our womenfolk to be harmed,” the leading lawyer said.
“The police and the army here are called the security forces, but we have become insecure in their presence,” he said.

Senior advocate and former president of the Bar, Nazir Ahmad Ronga said that people should wake up because now it was a question of  Kashmiri honour.
“The public tide will sweep away those who attack our honour,” he said.

The march later wound its way through the Residency Road, swung into the Maulana Azad Road, and singled out the Congress headquarters on the route for angry sloganeering.

The HCBA president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, and general secretary, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, lead a lawyers’ procession in Shopian, visited the victims’ family to extend sympathies, and addressed a large gathering at the Jamia Masjid.

“The Shopian outrage has opened our eyes. Therefore we don’t need to be restrained,” Qayoom said.

The Bar president said that the officers of the administration, including the divisional commissioner, had repeatedly changed their statements to mislead the public, the HCBA had filed a petition in the High Court which had sought a report from the district administration and police officers.

Shaheen said that a Bar team had visited the spots where the bodies had been found.

The gathering later passed a resolution saying that investigations so far had proved that it was a case of abduction, gang-rape and murder, with the HCBA demanding the swift arrest of the killers and registering a case under sections 120-B, 302, 376, 366, and 363 of the Ranbir Penal Code.

The HCBA said that the copy of the FIR given to it mentioned only section 376, and demanded that the chief judicial magistrate summon police dairies to investigate whether cases have been registered under sections relevant to the crimes confirmed to have been committed.

The Bar said that the chief minister, the minister for rural development and the divisional commissioner had mislead the nation by statements that have been negated by evidence, therefore they have no right to remain in power.

Layers took out a procession in Anantnag as well, with the marchers winding their way through Mehendi Kadal, Lal Chowk, Achbal, and Cheeni Chowk, and dispersing peacefully at their point of origin in the district court compelx.

Reports of processions by lawyers were also recived from Handwara, Budgam, Sopore, Kulgam, Pampore, Ganderbal and other towns of Kashmir.

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Lawyers March For Justice, Say CM Should Resign

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 14, 2009

Srinagar, June 13, KONS:
Lawyers throughout the valley today staged protest demonstrations and held rallies to denounce the double rape and murder in Shopian last month, with the High Court Bar Association demanding the resignation of the chief minister, the rural development minister and the divisional commissioner for Kashmir for having misled the public.

During demonstrations by lawyers, the president of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) met the families of the two victims in Shopian and inspected the spots where the bodies had been found.

Taking the call of the Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, forward, the HCBA took out a procession in Srinagar.

Led by noted legal expert, Zaffar Ahmad Shah, the marchers emerged from the lower court complex chanting slogans against the Shopian outrage and demanding punishment to the perpetrators.
As the procession headed for Lal Chowk, it was joined by many more members of the legal fraternity, the swollen numbers marching to the press enclave via the clock tower to demand hanging of the culprits.

The lawyers also raised slogans against the divisional commissioner for Kashmir, M Samoon, and the NDTV news network which had tried to question the character of the two victims.
Addressing the gathering, Zaffar Shah said that the outrage was not a question of two women only but the collective self-respect of all Kashmiris.

“We can tolerate any atrocity, but will never allow the honour of our womenfolk to be harmed,” the leading lawyer said.
“The police and the army here are called the security forces, but we have become insecure in their presence,” he said.

Senior advocate and former president of the Bar, Nazir Ahmad Ronga said that people should wake up because now it was a question of  Kashmiri honour.
“The public tide will sweep away those who attack our honour,” he said.

The march later wound its way through the Residency Road, swung into the Maulana Azad Road, and singled out the Congress headquarters on the route for angry sloganeering.

The HCBA president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, and general secretary, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, lead a lawyers’ procession in Shopian, visited the victims’ family to extend sympathies, and addressed a large gathering at the Jamia Masjid.

“The Shopian outrage has opened our eyes. Therefore we don’t need to be restrained,” Qayoom said.

The Bar president said that the officers of the administration, including the divisional commissioner, had repeatedly changed their statements to mislead the public, the HCBA had filed a petition in the High Court which had sought a report from the district administration and police officers.

Shaheen said that a Bar team had visited the spots where the bodies had been found.

The gathering later passed a resolution saying that investigations so far had proved that it was a case of abduction, gang-rape and murder, with the HCBA demanding the swift arrest of the killers and registering a case under sections 120-B, 302, 376, 366, and 363 of the Ranbir Penal Code.

The HCBA said that the copy of the FIR given to it mentioned only section 376, and demanded that the chief judicial magistrate summon police dairies to investigate whether cases have been registered under sections relevant to the crimes confirmed to have been committed.

The Bar said that the chief minister, the minister for rural development and the divisional commissioner had mislead the nation by statements that have been negated by evidence, therefore they have no right to remain in power.

Layers took out a procession in Anantnag as well, with the marchers winding their way through Mehendi Kadal, Lal Chowk, Achbal, and Cheeni Chowk, and dispersing peacefully at their point of origin in the district court compelx.

Reports of processions by lawyers were also recived from Handwara, Budgam, Sopore, Kulgam, Pampore, Ganderbal and other towns of Kashmir.

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