Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Author Behind Samalochaka Resigns

Syndicated blogging is a strange thing. Like politics, it makes for strange bed-fellows, and further it turns old friends into ideological foes.

Who would have dreamt that after being invited to write in a blog (along with the companion blog - samAlochaka) this author would some day be shown the door. Well, almost the same has happened.

I, the resigning author, have developed so serious differences with the chief editor of this blog that I find it no longer tenable to continue contributing to this blog. I, for one, have always been candid, and it is this candor which seems to ruffle many a feather. We (I and the Editor) reached a point where either I have to tone down what I want to say or the Editor will delete whatever I wrote.

So, we decided to have a frank discussion. And it turns out that parting our blogging ways is the only solution. So here I am, informing you all, that I, until now known to you as samAlochaka, resign from this blog. I requested the Editor to retain this name which is my intellectual child, and he has kindly agreed. He has further promised that he will appoint a new author to write on behalf of the same author-name, and try to emulate the spirit as much as possible, and as much as allowed in the blog.

So from tomorrow, when you read samAlochaka, understand that you are reading a different author, although in the same name. It has been nice having your audience, and I thank you all for the attention you have given me.

I wish all of you and this blog, all the very best. And I request you all to expect, nay demand, from the new author, the same outspokenness that you have got used to.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kashmir Update - July 2010

From June 11, 2010 onwards, 15 protesting civilians have been killed in Kashmir valley by Police and Paramilitary forces. Starting with the first death of a 17-year old student by a police teargas shell, each death has sparked a new cycle of violence. Hardline separatists urged residents to march to the streets and continue with the protests. Kupwara and Handwara in the north, Kakpora and Pulwama in south and Gandherbal in the east , Sopore, Srinagar and Anantnag were the maily affected places. Eight more companies of the BSF and the CRPF have been sent to assist the police.

The army was called in to control the situation. No local newspapers hit the stands for the second day running amid tight restrictions on the local and international media. The state's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, under pressure to contain the violence. Union Home Minister has appealed to the people of Kashmir to respect the curfew. He also urged parents to discourage their children from participating in the mob violence.

The protests have been characterised by stone throwing by hundreds of protestors throughout the day. Separatists have devised stone-pelting as an instrument of organized and orchestrated protest. Instead of acting tough against the professional stone pelters, the government declared a rehabilitation package for such 'surrendered stone pelters'.

The Union home ministry has found evidence that stone throwers in the Kashmir Valley are being paid from abroad by Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives through a money-transfer agency. One of the well-known agency in the business of channelling funds across countries has been used by the Lashkar operatives in Pakistan to route money to Dubai and then transfer it to Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir. The remittances for throwing stones sometimes as less as Rs 300 daily have been tracked by intelligence agencies. In the last year, the agencies were perplexed by observing transfer of small amounts of money from places in Europe to Kashmir. The riddle has apparently been solved now. Involvement of hardline separatists in engineering some of the violence in the Kashmir valley is indicated by an intercepted conversations. According to the transcript, two of the office-bearers, Ghulam Ahmed Dar and Shabir Ahmed Wani were heard planning at least 15 people more deaths among the protestors.

Protests in Kashmir in recent years follow a known pattern. Anything can provoke anger - blasphemous cartoons, America's invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan, Pakistan's Lal Masjid, Kashmir's infamous sex scandal, murder, rape, or for that matter the death of a militant in a gun battle with the Indian Army or police. Roadblocks follow the demonstrations and any vehicle that passes by becomes a target of stone pelting. Police personnel swing in and the action starts. The area around the mosque every Friday afternoon smells of burning rubber tyres and tear gas, and one can also intermittently hear the sound of cracking windshields. In the months of Apri-June, 2010, 716 incidents of violence have been reported in the Valley and more than 200 paramilitary personnel injured.

Pro Pakistani lobbies are exploiting the situation for their advantage. The Kashmiri-American Council has asked the international community to conduct an impartial probe into the killings of innocent unarmed civilians in the heavily militarized Indian Occupied Kashmir.Commenting on the massive riots taking place in Kashmir, due to the deaths of more than 17 civilians including women and children, Dr.Ghulam Nabi Fai, head of the Council, stated the myth of Indian democracy and respect for the rights of others has been exposed with the deaths and injuries throughout the occupied Kashmir.

[Contributed by mksri]