Colours of patriotism paint Jammu

21 08 2008

Source: Daiy pioneer

Kumar Uttam | Jammu

Tricolour in hand, protesters shout ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’

The sun is about to set on the city and the roundabout is deserted. A youth suddenly emerges from one of the bylanes, carrying a National Flag in his hand and shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Soon, the solitary protest at Kacchi Chhawani Chowk in ‘paralaysed’ Jammu turns into a mass frenzy as hundreds join him to express solidarity for a cause that has gone far beyond the Amarnath land row.

In fact, the Tricolour has united people in this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir to fight the “neglect” they faced in the last 60 years. The controversy over allotment of a land plot to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was a mere flashpoint. “We raised the Tricolour and were greeted with bullets. They (separatists) in Kashmir hoisted Pakistan’s flag and brought the Government to its knees. It will not be allowed to continue any more,” thunders Subhash Dogra, a protester.

Everyone in Jammu has suddenly turned leader, brushing aside allegations that “communal elements” are controlling the movement. “We are leaders in ourselves. Nobody is leading us. We are ready to face problems today to ensure a better future for the generations,” adds Gurpreet Singh, owner of a few taxis. Though he has been getting no business for 50 days, he is ready to bear the losses for “many more months” but not the humiliation at the hands of the Government.

Everyone in Jammu has just one complaint. “Kashmir wants freedom, we love our country. They got everything, we were left empty-handed,” people living in the Mishriwalla refugee camp on the Jammu-Akhnoor highway say.

A senior employee in the Divisional Commissioner’s office revealed more. “You don’t get promotions on time if you are not from the valley. Jammu has more population and area, but Kashmir gets better representation in all Government bodies and organisations. Jammu contributes the most to the State’s exchequer, but Kashmir reaps the benefits. Electricity dues are more in Kashmir, but Jammu faces power cuts,” he told The Pioneer.

The Amarnath controversy has come in handy for all those who nurse the “wound of neglect”. They are in no double minds — the Government revoked the allotment of the land to the shrine board for a Hindu yatra under pressure from the same separatists whom they have been appeasing since Independence.

“We have to restore the pride of Baba Amarnath and that of Jammu. We are not going to be defeated at the hands of the anti-nationals. We will be on the roads until the target is achieved,” says 80-year-old Anil Sharma, as he and his grandson Ankit raise slogan of ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ outside Sarwal police post in Rewari locality.

Police have lost public sympathy (they allegedly fired at peaceful protesters and manhandled many) and the Army faces a situation it never confronted before. “How can you expect us to fire at them or even wield a lathi when they come with a Tricolour in their hands and shout slogans in favour of us?” says an Armyman posted in the most sensitive Kacchi Chhawani Chowk of Jammu.

Jammu has been simmering for the last 60 years. It for the first time they have been heard.

Giving Kashmir away? No way :: Rajiv Sikri

21 08 2008

August 21, 2008

Is it an orchestrated coincidence or random chance that on August 17, two leading national dailies prominently carried commentaries advocating independence for the Kashmir Valley? With surprising ease and lack of angst, each author has argued in favour of secession by part of an integrally constituted state of the Union of India.

Tremendous efforts by all the state and non-state personae in Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of India over the last six decades have seen sharp ups and downs, almost see-saw phases in the feelings of alienation followed by assimilation, poverty followed by growing prosperity among the people of this state.

The last few years have brought in the most sustained period of political stability, free and fair elections, economic recovery and strengthening integration, achieved through painstaking efforts and sagacity by all players. Heading into the November 2008 state assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir, the separatist groups found themselves on the sidelines, threatened with further irrelevance and declining support should these elections be held as smoothly and with equally wide participation as those in 2002.

The Amarnath Yatra [Images] land issue that surfaced in June has been extremely poorly handled by the state and central governments at every stage. The nation needs answers and accountability about why in less than two months the marginalised separatist groups are once again being allowed to set the political agenda in the Valley. Why have no efforts been made to explain the reality of the proposed temporary land allocation scheme (for the Amarnath Yatra) to the agitating people in the Kashmir Valley? Why have the strong feelings of every community in Jammu over the cancellation of the allocation been so deliberately ignored and under-estimated? Why is it that even the most elementary efforts were not undertaken to disabuse the people of Kashmir Valley about a so-called economic blockade? If there was at any point the possibility of a shortage of essential supplies for the people of the Kashmir Valley this should have been overcome by arranging sufficient airlifts and/or trucking in such supplies through the alternative Manali-Leh route.

At the same time, no matter how serious these lapses, the answer cannot be to suggest that the Kashmir Valley be allowed to secede from India. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is as much a composite whole as the human body is. If there is an ailing part of the body, you diagnose the problem and take remedial measures, not carelessly, almost casually, suggest an excision and discarding of the offending section.

For those who advocate a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], there are some questions. Do they feel that Jammu and Kashmir legally and constitutionally cannot be considered a part of India? On what basis can there be a referendum in the Kashmir Valley, or separate referenda in Jammu, Ladakh and the Valley? On what basis can “independence” be considered as the so-called third option? Should the proposed referendum be based on the UN resolutions of August 1948 and January 1949? Or are such sentiments the manifestation of a simultaneous bout of exasperation and giving in to the separatists who have been quite unnecessarily allowed to mount pressures in a sudden reversal of the peaceful situation that existed in the state prior to June?

The UN resolutions of 1948/49 (adopted by the UN Commission for India and Pakistan) are unequivocal and specific in making the proposed plebiscite in all the five regions of Jammu and Kashmir conditional upon (i) withdrawal of Pakistani troops from all the areas of the state of Jammu and Kashmir that it has occupied (this includes PoK, the Northern Territories and the Shaksgam valley that has been ceded by Pakistan to China); and (ii) the withdrawal by Pakistan, from these occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir, of their tribesmen and nationals not ordinarily resident in these areas. The UN Commission in an aide-memoire issued on January 14, 1949, stated that in the event of Pakistan not implementing these pre-conditions, India’s acceptance of the UN resolutions would no longer be binding on them.

As recently as March 2001 former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking in Islamabad [Images], accepted the legal and practical difficulties in implementing the UN resolutions and hence their irrelevance. It is evident that the UN resolutions no longer provide any basis for holding referenda either in the Kashmir Valley or in Jammu and Ladakh.

Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, and will remain so. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir itself recognises this. Any move to hold a referendum in any part of Jammu and Kashmir would contradict the fundamental statement in Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir that ‘the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India’. Section 147 prohibits any amendment of Section 3 by the state legislature. In any case, India has stringent laws that forbid secessionist activity.

It is time that the people of India and all national political parties come out unequivocally against anyone who advocates secessionism. In this context, the print and electronic media too should be more responsible about giving prominence to such views.

Upcomming events: World Refugee day and Naxalite exhibition

18 06 2008

1) FACT EXHIBITION IN PUNE (Kashmiri Pandits: World Refugee day)

2) FACT EXHIBITION IN DELHI (Naxalism: A threat to the Unified nation of India)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 – Monday, July 14, 2008
Venue : India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
(Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)

This World Refugee Day 2008 Would be a special occassion to remember, voice and address the concerns of the refugees in India especially the ones that are neglected. June 20th would be a special eve for the Kashmiri pandits this year as FACT INDIA in association with Hindu Janjagruti Samithi would organise an event complete with candle light procession an exhibition on the pandits and media awareness.

About the event
The events would be held in Pune and Delhi. The World Refugees day Programme would include ‘to raise voice against’ the closure of Wandhama massacre case.

The break-up of the event for the day is like-

Wandhama massacre refers to the murder of Kashmiri Hindus in the town of Wandhama on the intervening night of 25th January 1998. It was one of the worst incidences of violence against Kashmiri Pandits being carried out by militants in Kashmir. It was an illustration of the Kashmir militant’s policy of ethnic cleansing . The victims, all of them Kashmiri Pandits, included four children, nine women and 10 men. The case is in a way a microcosm of the apathy of the Government towards the Pandits. Ideally the government should have asked a better investigating agency like a SIT/CID or even a CBI to pursue the case so that the killers could be identified and nabbed, had its own Police proved incompetent to do the job. But that was not to be. As always the Police simply closed the case and thought its responsibility is over.

1. FACT exhibition

Mrs Gayatri Chauhan, FACT representative in Maharashtra is holding an exhibition on 20th of June, Pune.

2. Press conference

Panelists will be invited from different fields, Police commissioner Pune, Editors of leading newspapers, NHRC representatives, Lawyers etc.

3. Candle light

A candle light procession with People gathered from all walks of life would be held at the exhibition as well as press conference will be taken to the saras bagh, where in candle light is to done.

The blogsite depicts the whole of story.
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Rs.200 cr: museum in pune, Indian History museum

19 09 2007
Pune is being honoured again, because of its rich culture and convenient location. The city has been chosen to house a Rs 200 crore project on Indian history. Called the India Memory Foundation (IMF), it will showcase both India over the centuries including Vedic knowledge and the India of tomorrow. Behind the effort is a Frenchman, journalist Francois Gautier, who will raise the funds from private donors.
The project is located on an acre of land near Lohegaon airport and will be ready in the next two years.
There will be a phase-wise construction, starting with a painting exhibition on Chhatrapati Shivaji that will be ready by 2008. “My aim is to take a frank look at India’s history over the centuries. Not too much is spoken about Vedic history, astrology and maths. I want to highlight those aspects. Also, we want to show how India has been envisioned by Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekanand and others. Hence, the focus will be on the India of tomorrow,” says Gautier, who has initiated the museum through his organisation, Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT). There will be special sections on China and Tibet in reference to India’s cultural, social, political and social changes that will be a crucial part of this interactive museum.
Seven projects for the IMF are underway — an exhibit on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits which was a much-lauded effort, an exhibition on the persecution of Christians, Buddhists, Amadya Muslims and Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, a painting exhibition on Aurangzeb based on Mughal records and documents and another one on the birth of Sikhism. Most importantly, an exhibition on Shivaji and two films — one on the 1947 Partition holocaust and the other on the poor condition of Brahmins and other upper castes — are in the production stage and will be ready by early next year. “We plan to have 30 such projects over the next five years,” says Gautier, who will be bringing the Aurangzeb exhibition to Pune in the second week of October.
The museum complex will be designed by architect Dharmesh Jadeja using environmentally friendly material like mud bricks, stones and solar energy, that are common in Auroville where Gautier resides. The project is headed by a prestigious Board of Directors comprising Indian Archaeological Society chairman S P Gupta, Indian Council of Philosophical Research chairman Dr Kireet Joshi, Lal Bahadur Shastri Museum director Professor A K Dass and others.
And Pune has been chosen after much deliberation. “Chhatrapati Shivaji grew up here. The city has a rich cultural heritage. But most importantly, it’s centrally located and can be easily accessible from any part of the country,” adds Gautier.
Each of the exhibitions has one researcher. Being essentially travelling exhibitions, they’ll be making the rounds in Indian cities and abroad, before they find a permanent place at the IMF. “I’m even thinking of doing an exhibition on Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb’s brother,” says Gautier, who is also obtaining research assistance from eminent Pune-based historians like Dr Babasaheb Purandare and Gajanan Mehendale.