Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sixteen years ago,Prof. Baker entered Kashmir and witnessed some worst human rights voilations committed by Indian Army on hapless & defenceless Kashmiris. The whole world has turned as a mute spectator to genocide of Kashmiri Muslims by a tyrrant State.The following observations of Prof. Baker are as relevant today as were 16 years ago.
The Sealed Valley of Kashmir
"Realising my own life would be in jeopardy, in July of 1992, I entered Kashmir with video and still cameras. Fortunately, I was able to bring several of the video tapes and photographs out of the Valley, and they attest to the horror of the once beautiful and Happy Valley which has been turned into a Valley of Death.
Dr. Abdul Ahad Guru [was assassinated by Indian army in Srinagar, April 1st, 1993] the only Cardio-Vascular surgeon for more than four million Kashmiris, spoke on camera recounting and detailing the daily atrocities inflicted on the people by more than 650,000 Indian occupation force. During my interview, Dr. Guru made it clear that due to curfews and crackdowns, innocent Kashmiri civilians are dying. He said no one is allowed to move on the roads, even for medical emergencies such as to help a 70-year-old woman who died from a heart attack.
Dr. Guru spoke of the shortage of basic medicines in all the hospitals due to the embargo on pharmaceutical by the Indian authorities. I personally went to twenty pharmacies with long lines of people even though the shelves were bare and empty.
In the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, I filmed and interviewed numerous civilian victims of Indian occupation forces. For example, Abdul Rashid Kakroo, a forty-three-year old ambulance driver, arrived at the scene of a shooting by Indian occupation forces, when he was finally given permission to come out of his ambulance and help transport the dying victims, he was first severely beaten and then shot twice by Indian soldiers. He was later brought to the hospital where I interviewed him.
The testimony of little ten-year old Shakeela is worth mentioning. When her village was attacked and the people started fleeing their home for fear of being shot, she too fled with her two younger relatives and jumped into a canal, plunging their heads underwater in an attempt to avoid being shot. Unable to hold their breath they surfaced and were immediately fired upon. A five-year old boy was shot dead, an eleven-year old was seriously wounded and little Shakeela, screaming in shock and horror was told to come out of the canal with her hands raised. As she did so, she was shot through the right eye. I wish every one of you could see this video, as I sat with Shakeela whose entire right eye, facial bones and skull were completely blown out. As I sat next to her I could not help but think of my own two beautiful daughters. Yes, after 30 transfusions of blood she survived, but what is her future? The beautiful face of this little girl is now shattered and disfigured by a "brave soldiers bullet."
My interviews with Kashmiri women who had been brutally raped by Indian soldiers contains untold misery. I interviewed a once beautiful young woman who had been kept naked in a pit for ten days by Indian soldiers, starved and repeatedly raped, her body covered with festering sores which resulted when the soldiers extinguished their cigarettes on her flesh. Finally thrown into a river, she was bayoneted in the head and left for dead with a terrible scar across her once beautiful face. One day after my interview, she gave birth to an Indian soldier's child. She has suffered a permanent mental breakdown.
Rape in Kashmir is not the result of a few undisciplined soldiers, but rather an active strategy of Indian forces to humiliate, intimidate and demoralise the Kashmiri people. This is evidenced by the fact that a number of the raped women I interviewed had been raped in front of their own families, their own husbands, and their own children.
The basic right to education is also being denied to the Kashmiri people. Most schools are closed, and the male students cannot take their examinations for fear of being arrested upon leaving the university. The village streets of Kashmir are empty of young men from the ages of fifteen to fifty!
Moreover, I personally witnessed beatings, shootings, and assorted violations of human decency. The people of Kashmir are suffering on a scale which is far exceeding the suffering of the people of Palestine, Bosnia, or any number of other countries and cultures.
Furthermore, I visited a special cemetery of martyred children on three separate occasions. I witnessed the burials of a thirteen and ten year old. At both burials I approached the grieving families with a sense of guilt and helplessness. When the parents, family and friends realised who I was, despite the agony and grief which they felt, they lovingly unwrapped the bodies of their children for me to see the bullet holes, the torn flesh of innocent youth. Then, with hardly a word and tears streaming down their faces, the mothers lifted their outstretched arms with palms turned upward and looking into my eyes asked simply, why?"
(Author of the Kashmir Happy Valley, Valley of Death, Prof. William Wayne Baker is the President of the Christians and Muslims for Peace, Garden Grove, CA).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sinha’s Hidden Agenda and our response
(By Abdul Majid Zargar)

The spontaneous agitation against land transfer to shrine Board has engulfed the whole state. The catchment area has been so widespread that it has even taken separatists by surprise. Did Sinha have a hidden agenda in this whole episode? To ascertain this,we will have to peep in his past & take note of some recent events.

Sinha is said to be an able army officer but with a polluted mind. He is notorious for knowing Geography more than History, the former obiviously for Militaristic purposes. In 1983 he was superseded & denied Top Army post, on the basis of intelligence inputs, for wearing a Khaki Nicker beneath his trousers .He was subsequently posted as Governor of Assam where a genocide of Muslims, mostly poor Bangladeshis, was carried under his nose.

Follwing events of the recent past need also to be noted:

a) J&K Married Women’s( property rights) bill was not allowed to pass although it had the backing of all parties in the legislature. The congress had to beat a hasty retreat after New-Delhi instructed it to abandon forthwith.

b) The Govt made an abortive bid to allot vast chunk of Land at Gulmarg to non-residents. It had to drop the idea in the wake of stiff resistance especially from Kashimr Chamber of Commerce.

c) A major chunk of land at Gandebal, Manasbal in illegal occupation of Defence Department was dubiously allotted & regularized in it’s favour by the Govt. through an obliging & palliative beaurocrat. .

d) There are credible reports that Wakf land in Jammu district has been and is being continuously usurped by the Govt. & it’s agencies.

e) 800 Kannals of forest land has been transferred to Shri Amarnath Shrine board(SASB) inspite of Apex court’s standing instructions to the contrary. The said board, under law has to be headed by a Hindu Governor. It’s aims & objects do not contain a single word to preserve the ecology & environment of the area. Necessacity has been felt to transfer such land in Valley only though the starting point for yatra
Has been shifted to Jammu.

The above events are a clear indication of the nefarious designs of New-Delhi & its representatives in Srinagar to change the demographic character of the valley. This is mainly because of its failure to contain the popular mass uprising for plebiscite through brutal force. In a way the above events are also an admission by New-Delhi of the fact of such failure.

It is extremely essential to be very cautious & guarded in our response. We should not only be secular & peaceful in our approach but also appear to be so. In this connection the recent stone-throwing incidents at Yatris needs to be condemned by one & all. Instead We should welcome these yatris with open arms & offer them free water & cold drinks etc. enrout the holy cave. Our response to the main problem of Land Transfer could be in following ways.

1) First of all, We should prepare a white paper listing all facts & figures about the recent land transfer. We should attach clear photographs to the said paper depicting permanent constructions made by the Board en-route holy cave to nail it’s lie. The said paper should be sent to all Indian parliamentarians, notable people among the Indian civil society and various international organizations connected with preservation of ecology & environment.

2) A group of selected environmentalists from India or SAARC countries should be invited on a “See it Yourself Tour” to witness the vandalisation & devastation of fragile environment & ecology of the area. Well meaning people from Jammu should also be invited as part of this tour. We should bear the expenses of said exercise through voluntary contributions .The Agency executing such programme could be Kashmir Chamber of Commerce.

3) An Aid-memorai should be submitted to the security council of United Nations in view of the disputed nature of Jammu & Kashmir State. Simultaneously a well drafted Memorandum should also be submitted to President & Prime Minister of India drawing their urgent attention towards the problem and request them to advise their representatives to exercise restraint & not vitiate the peaceful atmosphere till the problem of J&K is politically settled.

4) Mass Public protests could take shape of waving of Black flags, wearing black badges & observing black -outs for ten minute everyday. Blowing of horns while driving through UN office in Sonawar is also a good option. Similarly Banging of tin sheets of roof tops could also be thought of at a later stage.The above modes of protest are peaceful & costless unlike Hartals which have an adverse effect on our economy. Such form of protests will also save precious lives lost to bullets of Trigger-happy security forces.

5) If everything fails then We may think of suspending payment of taxes & other dues to Govt. But this form of protest has to be chalked after due deliberations & coordination.

(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant and a member of the Executive Committee of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry.The views expressed herein are his own. The author can be contacted at