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No complacency in Ladakh

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By K.N. Pandita

Effusive concern expressed by the national and state leadership on  unpredicted natural calamity in Ladakh in which enormous landslide washed away rare agricultural land last year has, at the end of the day, turned into damp squib. The Prime Minister visited the site and assured the victims of the calamity that his government would do more than what was needed to mitigate the suffering of the people. He wanted it to be done before the harsh winter of the Himalayan range set in. His visit was followed by that of the Home Minster, who was equally effusive about what his ministry intended to do to reclaim the agricultural land since it was the only substantive means of livelihood for the people of this mountainous region that remains landlocked for at least half of the year owing to the closure of link roads under heavy snow. Of the promised over 16 crores of rupees to be provided for reclamation of the agricultural land, only a peanut of 1.5 crores have been released by the state government so far. The Ladakh Development Hill Council took the initiative and began the work on reclamation in the hope that funds promised would come at proper time and the task would be finished as early as possible.  Continue Reading…

Parallel Kashmir peace initiative

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By K.N. Pandita

Another civil society initiative following the more recent one of the BJP parliamentary group led by former President Rajnath Singh, has been reactivated to take up the thread of interacting with Kashmiri separatists from where it had been left ten years ago. This is the umpteenth initiative in the long and recurring trial initiatives aimed at finding a path out of the woods in Kashmir. Previously called Kashmir Committee, it had aided the 2004 dialogue between the then NDA government and Kashmiri civil society. Its premiers like Ram Jethmalani, Madhu Kishwar, V.K. Grover and others reported that their group had already received confirmation from some of the Kashmiri leaders like Abdul Ghani Bhat of Hurriyat (M) and Naeem Khan of PDP and Shabir Shah. It is true that Kashmir separatists had developed soft response to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first Indian Prime Minister who stated on Pakistani soil that India had accepted the partition and the birth of a new and independent state of Pakistan out of the original territory of India.  Continue Reading…

JAMMU AND KASHMIR: MOVING FORWARD

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Published on the Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir BASJAK, by Pauls Beersmans, March 20, 2011.

Excerpt of the Report for the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, Sixteenth Session on the Study Tour of Beersmans Paul, President of the Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir BASJAK to the Indian State of J&K, from 20 January to 07 February 2011, 22 pdf-pages.

… 3. CONCLUSIONS:

Following conclusions can be drawn, based on the experiences of this study tour to J&K State, especially to Jammu Province (for the latest study tour to the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh see the report of June-July 2010 on our website):

a. Jammu and Kashmir is a very difficult and sensitive state.  It consists of three historically, politically, geographically, culturally, linguistic and economic distinct regions: Jammu including Azad Kashmir, the Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh including Gilgit-Baltistan.  The State houses people whose aspirations are more or less conflicting and mutually exclusive.  This is a State where even a small issue culminates in major controversies and creates inter-regional tensions of extreme nature.  Continue Reading…