Month: July 2011

From AlJazeera.com: “Indian Army Halting Peace in Kashmir

Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has slammed the Indian government, saying that it is using armed forces to stop the peace process in the restive Himalayan region.

The chairman of the separatist faction of Hurriyat Conference said on Saturday that the large contingent of troops in the region was “blocking the path to peace”.

He was speaking during a seminar called “Kashmir: Road to Peace” in the provincial summer capital Srinagar, the Reuters reported.

“India has blocked the road to peace. One million troops are sitting and blocking the path to peace. The road to peace has been blocked by the Indian government’s police. The police [are] exhibiting a display of atrocity and force on the innocent people of the valley,” said Geelani.

“The presence of armed forces is not an answer to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The presence of police is not an answer to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“Using gunpoint to generate silence is not the solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Using the strength of the police to create graveyard like silence in the valley is not the solution,” he added.

Geelani accused the Indian government of using its forces to suppress the people and issues of the disputed region.

Lashing out

“India is acting like a stranger to the issue. From time to time they are sending interlocutors, lawmakers or representatives of policy centres and other groups to know the opinion of the people of Kashmir.

“India is adopting the policy of behaving as if it is unaware of the situation Ianthe Jammu and Kashmir. Even after 63 years, we are suffering from this policy of the Indian government,” Geelani said.

He further lashed out at Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s interior minister for hailing state chief Omar Abdullah for restoring peace and normalcy in the state.

“He patted the back of Omar Abdullah (chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir) saying that you are very brave to send teenagers to jail, you are very brave for putting Syed Ali Shah Geelani under house arrest for many weeks without any law or order problem,” Geelani said.

Amnesty International reported in March that hundreds of people were being held each year in detention centres in the state without trial or a charge.

In recent weeks, the Jammu and Kashmir state government announced plans of a proposal to make some amendments to the Public Safety Act (PSA) after a public outcry over the law that allows the detention of people as young as 16 without a trial for up to a period of two years.   ….

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Sanjay Kak

From The Dawn: Interview by Nawaz Gul Qunungo

Q: There has always been a continual flow of literature related to Kashmir. There is hardly anything that hasn’t been written about in the past. How different is the work that you offer in this book?

A: I think there’s a big change. A lot of writing on Kashmir has come from a slightly tired, liberal nationalistic position.  Much of the commentary of Kashmir is sourced from the same people for the last twenty years, the so called Kashmir specialist. And frankly I don’t think I’ve heard any of them say anything new in the last ten years. And yet, they don’t ever seem to be embarrassed by the fact that their analysis of what is happening in Kashmir is constantly proven wrong. The reason is because they are not interested in seeing what is going on. They are actually interested in articulating what they are told to… that you should see that elections have happened in Kashmir and all is well. So I think the time has come to somehow correct that. And also because the new media has allowed a whole lot of new people to comment on events and a whole lot of people are getting information to which they wouldn’t have had any access earlier, that whole Brahminical specialist stranglehold on Kashmir is, I think, broken.

Q: As you write in your essay in this book, you went to Kashmir in 2003 after a gap of 14 years. Why, even as a filmmaker, did it take so long? (more…)