Even though I’m from Jammu and have a lot of family members and friends working in Kashmir, it hasn’t been a place I cared enough to visit. Last time I was there in 1999, I had to cut short my stay after Kargil war started. Since then, I never really gave any attention to the place except for the usual stuff it’s infamous for. But recently. me and wifey made a quick trip to Srinagar to meet some family members working there. This post is a travelogue of this trip. I am not sure if it can be called a travelogue or not, but I expect it to have a lot more rants than usual.  I didn’t take my camera with me on this trip, so all the pictures are from wife’s cellphone.

To begin with, the flight and our arrival in to Srinagar were uneventful. As we drove to the main city where we were staying, I noticed a lot of security personnel on the roads. It was a mix of CRPF, J&K Police and surprisingly BSF in some places.  There was construction of some flyover going on in middle of the city and the road was pretty much non-existent forcing us to take a detour. After a bit of rest, family took the wifey out for some sightseeing.  Their original plan was to take us to Kheer Bhawani temple. It is a pretty important temple for now displaced Kashmiri Pandits as well as other Hindus too. I had no wish to visit the temple, so I refused and preferred to read something or watch cricket match. But there was some stone pelting going on in Ganderbal area and some other localities on the way which forced a plan change and family took wifey to Chashme Shahi and a shikara ride on Dal lake.
Botanical garden

Botanical garden

Next day, we hired a local car and visited Shankaracharya Temple first. The road leading up to the temple on hill top is very picturesque and green. There were a lot of brown eagles with white spots in the tree canopy as well as road which raced the car for some distance. Theres a security check point at base of stairs leading up to the temple and you can’t take cameras and phones beside this point. There are roughly 200 steps made of stone. Even though my last trip was almost 18 years back, I was a little surprised to see the changes. The open ground in front of temple was gone and covered by some tin and wood huts built by CRPF unit deployed there. The Dal lake near base of hill was much smaller, dirtier and full of weeds, a lot worse than what I remembered. Later on, I could smell the stinking water of the lake when we got near it.  This once beautiful and huge lake is dying fast and the people as usual are too stupid to stop. Another annoying thing was that the muslim dominated J&K government was trying to rename the hill to Takht-e-Suleiman. The turds are already renaming many places in Kashmir to muslim names like Anantnaag to Islamabad and so on.
Nishat Baag

Nishat Baag

From Shankaracharya Temple, we drove to Botanical Garden near Chashme Shahi. There’s a small lake with some boats and a nice garden around it.We had some tea and snacks there before moving on to  Nishat Baag, which is one of the better places in Srinagar city. There were only a few tourists, mostly Bengalis and a few Gujaratis who usually travel in big groups. As we walked around , the gardeners working there kept offering us flower seeds. We bought some but I have little hope of them doing well in Delhi’s weather. The garden itself is big with running water and fountains which work more or less. There are some huge and centuries old Chinar trees in the garden and all around the valley.
Our next stop was Harban which has garden and a lake for sightseeing. Last time I visited it, the lake was completely dry and the garden looked half dead. This time there was some water in the lake but the area seemed to be much smaller. Garden was green with some water flowing through, massive chinar trees and nice flowers. We didn’t stay there for long and stopped at Shalimar. Our driver didn’t want to stay there for long as a lot of stone pelting incidents happen in the area.  While on road, I could see a lot of walls with pro-ISIS and anti-India slogans including a wall of Shalimar Baag. We had our lunch of Kashmiri Masala Dosa, Cheese Dosa, too salty Maggi noodles and some kehwa in a “Vegetarian” roadside restaurant in front of Shalimar Baag. The eatery even had Jain and “Half Jain” food for sale.  Since everyone in the group was vegetarian except me and all other nearby shops were closed, we had few other options.
Shalimar Baag is nice by itself, but it was noting really special after we had visited 3 other similar gardens. The water channels and fountains needed cleaning but was done in a half assed way. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and left to visit Hari Parbat. It is a old fort and has a temple, gurudwara and a mosque. The temple was looted and vandalised by muslims a few years back, like dozens of other temples in muslim majority Kashmir and idol damaged. It was repaired and family along with some Hindu co-workers arrange bhandara and puja there whenever possible. But we had to turn back as the road was blocked due to some more stone pelting going on in the area.
Walnut blossoms

Walnut blossoms

So we decided to go back home through Old Srinagar. Driver drove much faster than usual because he feared more stone pelting following end of muslim prayers. Next day he claimed that his relatives had caught one stone pelter who attacked their vehicle just outside Srinagar. According to the driver, the stone pelter turned out to be a Kashmiri policeman who was organising stone pelting in the locality. According to him Abdullah owned National Conference party was behind most such stone pelting incidents and were using policemen loyal to them in Kashmiri police to organise stone pelting and to incite the mobs. Considering what junior Abdullah has been saying on this issue, the conspiracy theory seems quite credible.
Old Srinagar seemed to be a depressing ugly place unlike most other such older parts of a city. There were some old abandoned houses which belonged to Kashmiri Hindus forced to leave Kashmir due to violence by Kashmiri muslims. Some such houses were encroached upon by probably neighbours and random shops. Nearing our place, we saw some shops in the market which had sustained damage from stone pelters.
Panaroma shot of a farm

Panaroma shot of a farm

We were planning an early start next morning but found it impossible to sleep till late night. It was mostly due to 3 nearby mosques near our place competing with each other to see which one could make more noise. Each started it’s loudspeakers near 8:30 pm and kept playing the noise they call prayer well past midnight. I forgot to mention it earlier, but this was a very consistent experience throughout our stay. There was no single locality during our stay in Kashmir where one couldn’t hear some noise from more than one mosque. Most of it was in Kashmiri which we didn’t understand, but atleast one near Harwan was in Urdu. The preacher seemed to be non-Kashmiri and was rambling on about injustice done to muslims since beginning of time and the usual “islam khatrey mein hai” crap. Another thing was even school going girls wearing hijab and some other dress almost like burqa, but not covering face. Don’t  know what they call them. It was never like this.
Stuff like this gives an outsider an idea how mosques were used to scare and intimidate Kashmiri Hindus to leave their homes when exodus happened. It is probably even worse now.
We started for Pahalgam next morning around 75 km from Srinagar. We also considered Gulmarg, but decided that Pahalgam would be a better choice. On the way, we stopped at a kehwa shop in Pampore. Women managed to spend a more than decent sum of money on saffron, honey and quite a few other things.
Our next stop was Martand temple which everyone called Mattan temple to my consternation. It is constructed over a fresh water spring and has a specie of medium sized fish in large numbers.  There was a sign board prohibiting feeding fish anything apart from a special feed being sold by a shop there. Hindu priests from this village used to travel all over the state and did some religious work and horoscope creation kind of work in far off places. Now Hindus are almost gone and there are only a few Sikh families living there. There was a Sikh religious ceremony going on in temple garden when we were there.
Just after rain stopped

Just after rain stopped

We then drove alongside Lidder river towards Pahalgam on a road with beautiful scenery. Some river rafting is arranged on this river but the starting point had only 3-4 tourists sitting in the rafts. There was an area with a number of big tourist resorts lined up but all were empty as tourists were keeping away. On the way driver told us about some movies which were shot in the area and seemed quite proud of it for some reason. Just before reaching main Pahalgam town he informed us that the car will not go any further because the local unions don’t allow it. There is hardly anything to see or do in Pahalgam town itself and the few points nearby which are worth seeing are a few km away. We like to hike and wanted to see those places as they seemed to be bit better than just walking around the shabby town but were not sure about the idea.
Near end of

Near end of “hiking” route in Pahalgam

As soon as we got off the car, the mule owners swarmed around us. I had no intention of riding any mule but the mule owners were very persistent, annoying and pain in the ass. I was more interested in walking to a few places of interest. But wifey was wearing some girly shoes not suitable for walking long distances, so in the end we got one mule and it’s handler to show us the way with understanding that wifey may ride it if it was difficult for her to walk. Rest of the family stayed in the town. I wish I had remembered names of the places we saw on this hike, but it was more or less a waste of time. The trail was wide as a road, full of mud due to too many mules walking on it and stank due to their crap everywhere. Another mule handler kept following us for 20-25 minutes trying to convince us to hire him to and turned back only after some getting abuse.  Wifey got on the mule we had hired a few minutes of hiking because of all the mud. I had my hiking shoes on so it was not much of a problem for me.
There was an old shikargaah of Dogra Kings on the way, a rough road led right up to it. Our first stop was a small but beautiful meadow. It had entry fee of Rs 20 and some tea shops.When we arrived, there were atleast 50 mules on the gate already. There were also a few locals with goats, rabbits, kashmiri dresses which tourists pose with for pictures. While we were there, it started raining and we had some kehwa, tea and pakoda in one of the tea shops. It was a beautiful place but experience was somewhat spoiled by the above mentioned locals and lots of children begging.  Our next stop was a point on  a ridge with couple of smaller snack shops where we had to stay a bit longer amount of time due to another heavy rain shower.  We had forgotten to bring our jackets and the rain made it very cold. Nearby mountain peaks also got a bit of snow. After rain stopped, we went downhill and made a stop at a stream going downstream which everybody was trying to pass of as a waterfall. The downhill trail was very slippery and muddy due to rains and mules destroying whatever grip the soil on hill offered.  More kashmiri locals came up to rent their goats, take pictures and similar useless services, so we left rather quickly.  Very few tourists progressed further from that 1st stop at the meadow, so the trail was mostly empty.
Panaroma shot, meadow in Pahalgam

Another panaroma shot, meadow in Pahalgam

From there, we walked back to the parking through the village. On the way we were again accosted by very annoying children from village who asked us for money and even watches. If they behave like this with Indians, I can only imagine their behaviour with foreigners. The walk back was on a level road and the mule just trotted on a steady pace, so I was left far behind.  The views and weather were quite nice through a wooded area. Perhaps the word in such places travels fast. On the way, I must have come across atleast a dozen mule owners who must have asked the same thing in different words “Paidal hi aa gaya sahaib” ! A few also asked me to hire their mules for  the rest of a km long hike.  Preparations for Amarnath yatra had started already and I noticed some para-military units assigned for the security of pilgrimage setting up camps. Sad to see that Indian Hindus have to be guarded so heavily inside India from muslim terrorists and mobs.
After reaching the parking area, came to know that the other women had spent all the cash which was not a small amount shopping. After we paid mule handler some extra money as tip, the owner started bothering us for a tip too. Utterly shameless bunch of people. Total duration of the hike was  4 hours, give or take a few minutes and cost of hiring a mule for whole circuit was Rs 3000.
We started our drive back to Srinagar immediately but made a stop at house of a colleague of family near Pampore.  They were very nice and hospitable people and made us feel quite welcome in their home. Elder of the family served in Jammu region during his working years and was a little nostalgic telling us of his experiences there. Ride back to the Srinagar was uneventful and we reached there around 8:30 pm without any incident.
There’s not much to write about after this apart from usual noise from nearby mosques and the long security checks at Srinagar airport.
TL;DR for people who are planning a Kashmir trip:
Q: Is the place beautiful ?
A: A lot of beautiful places, but man made places are badly maintained and natural places poorly preserved.
Q: Is it safe ?
A: Few days before we confirmed tickets, some tourist vehicles were attacked and tourists received injuries. Another tourist vehicle owned by our driver’s family was attacked similarly while we were there. A terrorist attack happened in Anantnag almost the same time we were driving through it.  We could’t visit a few places because of stone pelting and curfews. All these incidents happened in different parts of the valley. There is very little danger from terrorist attacks though.
Q: How are people ?
A: If you know them personally, very hospitable and welcoming. But if you are a prospective customer, then majority of kashmiri tourism businesses are extremely conniving and annoying. Before you say, “it’s like this everywhere”, NO it’s not as bad as in kashmir.
Q: Is Kashmir worth visiting ?
A: Maybe, if you are willing to take risks like those mentioned above. If you really want to visit Kashmir, don’t do it during Amarnath yatra season. Everything will be very over-priced and in short supply.

The Act, served the civil administrations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East effectively in combating cross-border terrorism. However, it has in, recent times, become target of criticism. Demands for its withdrawal have been raised, specially from Jammu and Kashmir in the North and Manipur in the East. Are these demands justified? Or are they the product of some ignorance and confusion about the word “Power” which is part of its formal nomenclature?

In order to be impartial between sense and nonsense, it is necessary to understand that the Armed Forces Special Power Act, gives no police powers to Army. The Army cannot enforce its presence in any state for internal security purposes on its own without the civil government concerned declaring a particular area in its jurisdiction as ‘disturbed area’ and ‘requesting’ the Army to come to its aid.The critics, however, have never lost any opportunity to indulge in Army bashing on issues of “high handedness” and “violation of human rights”. Of course such criticism is countered by others as “politically motivated” and “voice of the vested interests”. They point out that wherever the Indian Army has gone, it has taken the welfare of the local people as its first priority also, using “heart as a weapon” and Sadbhavna or goodwill as the spirit. They point out to the surrender of several militant groups in the North East and the popular Kashmir Premier League Chinar Cup project as outstanding examples.

Demands for repeal or amendment of AFSPA specially come from areas infested by separatism combined with militancy that seldom talk of senseless killing and continuous “violation of Human Rights” by terrorists and militants. If a bomb blast outside the Delhi High Court kills several innocent litigants and lawyers or innocent citizens lose their lives in Mumbai blast, no voice is heard condemning the known and unknown killers of violating human right to live. Why?

The antagonists of AFSPA are ever active and widely reported in the media. It would be fair to listen to the protagonists too.


Why AFSPA is necessary?

The proposed amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will greatly reduce the effectiveness in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. If battalion, company and platoon commanders of units engaged, who have been fearlessly leading from the front in such operations, start becoming apprehensive about being legally proceeded against for killing terrorists mostly externally instigated supported, then we will lose the valuable cutting edge.

This, in a nutshell, is what said by a number of serving officers currently engaged in these operations and retired officers with long standing experience of the same.

Army authorities have to be taken into confidence and their nod was necessary for amending or withdrawing the AFSPA. If Government gives weightage only to political opinion it could invite problems for it because there are fears that in the absence of any legal protection the security forces may be forced to be on the defensive which could leave a free space for militants to operate. Has any government agency or committee suggested how to deal with the contentious issue?

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)-1958 was enacted by the Parliament on 11 September, 1958 to provide necessary powers and legal support/protection to Armed Forces for operations against insurgents in a highly hostile environment and it has enabled them to effectively contain insurgency and establish stability in the region. AFSPA-1958 is currently applicable in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Subsequently, Parliament enacted the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990, effective since 5 July 1990, initially to areas falling within 20 km of the Line of Control with Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar districts declared as disturbed. In August 2001, it was extended to Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri and Doda, when these districts were declared disturbed. What is interesting to note that people of last 6 districts have not called for it’s repeal. Unlike parts of Kashmir, population of these areas is predominantly pro-Indian and actively resists terrorists which try to sneak in across LOC.

The fighting capability of terrorists in J & K and the North East and has considerably improved over the years in terms of increasingly sophisticated weapons, high tech gear and finance.. Many groups even have women cadres also.

Troops and Central constabulary forces are operating in a hostile environment, in tough terrain and weather conditions, exposing themselves to grave dangers, maintaining a high degree of operational effectiveness while they are simultaneously, required to be extremely cautious in avoiding any collateral damage and loss of innocent life or property.

For sake of an example, lets talk about tactics of terrorists in Kashmir. One of their favourite modes of attack is to blend in civilian population and attack while taking cover behind human shields or from civilian houses. Kashmiris wear a long loose robe like garment called firan which covers whole body from neck to toes. What these terrorists do is to dress in same firan and hide a few grenades and gun inside the robe which effectively hides the bulge of weapons, allowing them to walk up to security check points and ambush unsuspecting security personnel. Another tactic is to attack convoys or soldiers on patrol from civilian houses, then try to run away.

Operating in such conditions often surrounded by hostile population demands that security forces do have special powers. They need to act fast without going through the hassle of obtaining proper paperwork. Wasting time on such frivolities will do nothing except provide terrorists with a heavens sent means of escape.

Successes in operations and any violation or perceived violation attract attention of overground anti national factions / elements with vested interests and also the media, which in a democracy, they should. After some of the current exposes which including Radia tapes, Cash for Votes, ISI’s Fai among many others, one should always be sure of loyalty of people who are making noises about removal of this act. Many of the people supporting removal of this act have been proven guilty of associating with ISI’s spy Fai and also taking money from dubious sources.

While most of the allegations made are false and fabricated, operating under such environment requires a protective law which is not overarching as it is perceived to be.

The essence of the important Sections of AFSPA is :

(a) Section 3 empowers the Central and State Governments to declare areas as disturbed.

(b) Section 4 gives the Army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death, destroy arms/ammunition dumps, fortifications/ shelters/hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicles.

(c) Section 6 stipulates that arrested persons and seized property is to be made over to the police with least possible delay.

(d) Section 7 offers protection of personnel acting in good faith in their official capacity. Prosecution is permitted only after sanction of the Central Govt.

The mere fact that the provisions of AFSPA have to be invoked with regard to a particular area ex facie establishes that the law and order situation there had degenerated to such an extent that the State Government with the aid of police power at its disposal was unable to maintain peace and tranquility.

A natural corollary to the above would be that if the Armed Forces, who are called upon to assist the State administration in restoring normalcy, have to succeed in their task, they enjoy at least the similar powers as the Police force if not wider ones.

However, close perusal of the various powers available to the police under the provisions of the CrPC vis-a-vis those available to Armed Forces under AFSPA would reveal that the police still enjoy more encompassing and wider powers relating toarrest, search, seizure, summoning of witnesses, preventive detention etc than the Armed Forces.Adequate checks and safeguards are built in the AFSPA to prevent the Armed Forces from assuming sweeping powers. Violations of its provisions are liable for legal action/prosecution. DO’s and DONTs issued by the Army, duly approved by the Supreme Court are binding on all ranks.

Then what is wrong with AFSPA? The word “Power”? Then why not rename the Act, the Armed Forces Special Services Act.The Act, served the civil administrations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East effectively in combating cross-border terrorism. However, it has in, recent times, become target of criticism. Demands for its withdrawal have been raised, specially from Jammu and Kashmir in the North and Manipur in the East. Are these demands justified? Or are they the product of some ignorance and confusion about the word “Power” which is part of its formal nomenclature?

In order to be impartial between sense and nonsense, it is necessary to understand that the Armed Forces Special Power Act, gives no police powers to Army. The Army cannot enforce its presence in any state for internal security purposes on its own without the civil government concerned declaring a particular area in its jurisdiction as ‘disturbed area’ and ‘requesting’ the Army to come to its aid.

The critics, however, have never lost any opportunity to indulge in Army bashing on issues of “high handedness” and “violation of human rights”. Of course such criticism is countered by others as “politically motivated” and “voice of the vested interests”. They point out that wherever the Indian Army has gone, it has taken the welfare of the local people as its first priority also, using “heart as a weapon” and Sadbhavna or goodwill as the spirit. They point out to the surrender of several militant groups in the North East and the popular Kashmir Premier League Chinar Cup project as outstanding examples.

Demands for repeal or amendment of AFSPA specially come from areas infested by separatism combined with militancy that seldom talk of senseless killing and continuous “violation of Human Rights” by terrorists and militants. If a bomb blast outside the Delhi High Court kills several innocent litigants and lawyers or innocent citizens lose their lives in Mumbai blast, no voice is heard condemning the known and unknown killers of violating human right to live. Why?

The antagonists of AFSPA are ever active and widely reported in the media. It would be fair to listen to the protagonists too.

Why AFSPA is necessary?

The proposed amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will greatly reduce the effectiveness in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. If battalion, company and platoon commanders of units engaged, who have been fearlessly leading from the front in such operations, start becoming apprehensive about being legally proceeded against for killing terrorists mostly externally instigated supported, then we will lose the valuable cutting edge.

This, in a nutshell, is what said by a number of serving officers currently engaged in these operations and retired officers with long standing experience of the same.

Army authorities have to be taken into confidence and their nod was necessary for amending or withdrawing the AFSPA. If Government gives weightage only to political opinion it could invite problems for it because there are fears that in the absence of any legal protection the security forces may be forced to be on the defensive which could leave a free space for militants to operate. Has any government agency or committee suggested how to deal with the contentious issue?

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)-1958 was enacted by the Parliament on 11 September, 1958 to provide necessary powers and legal support/protection to Armed Forces for operations against insurgents in a highly hostile environment and it has enabled them to effectively contain insurgency and establish stability in the region. AFSPA-1958 is currently applicable in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Subsequently, Parliament enacted the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990, effective since 5 July 1990, initially to areas falling within 20 km of the Line of Control with Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar districts declared as disturbed. In August 2001, it was extended to Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri and Doda, when these districts were declared disturbed. What is interesting to note that people of last 6 districts have not called for it’s repeal. Unlike parts of Kashmir, population of these areas is predominantly pro-Indian and actively resists terrorists which try to sneak in across LOC.

The fighting capability of terrorists in J & K and the North East and has considerably improved over the years in terms of increasingly sophisticated weapons, high tech gear and finance.. Many groups even have women cadres also.

Troops and Central constabulary forces are operating in a hostile environment, in tough terrain and weather conditions, exposing themselves to grave dangers, maintaining a high degree of operational effectiveness while they are simultaneously, required to be extremely cautious in avoiding any collateral damage and loss of innocent life or property.

For sake of an example, lets talk about tactics of terrorists in Kashmir. One of their favourite modes of attack is to blend in civilian population and attack while taking cover behind human shields or from civilian houses. Kashmiris wear a long loose robe like garment called firan which covers whole body from neck to toes. What these terrorists do is to dress in same firan and hide a few grenades and gun inside the robe which effectively hides the bulge of weapons, allowing them to walk up to security check points and ambush unsuspecting security personnel. Another tactic is to attack convoys or soldiers on patrol from civilian houses, then try to run away.

Operating in such conditions often surrounded by hostile population demands that security forces do have special powers. They need to act fast without going through the hassle of obtaining proper paperwork. Wasting time on such frivolities will do nothing except provide terrorists with a heavens sent means of escape.

Successes in operations and any violation or perceived violation attract attention of overground anti national factions / elements with vested interests and also the media, which in a democracy, they should. After some of the current exposes which including Radia tapes, Cash for Votes, ISI’s Fai among many others, one should always be sure of loyalty of people who are making noises about removal of this act. Many of the people supporting removal of this act have been proven guilty of associating with ISI’s spy Fai and also taking money from dubious sources.

While most of the allegations made are false and fabricated, operating under such environment requires a protective law which is not overarching as it is perceived to be.

The essence of the important Sections of AFSPA is :

(a) Section 3 empowers the Central and State Governments to declare areas as disturbed.

(b) Section 4 gives the Army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death, destroy arms/ammunition dumps, fortifications/ shelters/hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicles.

(c) Section 6 stipulates that arrested persons and seized property is to be made over to the police with least possible delay.

(d) Section 7 offers protection of personnel acting in good faith in their official capacity. Prosecution is permitted only after sanction of the Central Govt.

The mere fact that the provisions of AFSPA have to be invoked with regard to a particular area ex facie establishes that the law and order situation there had degenerated to such an extent that the State Government with the aid of police power at its disposal was unable to maintain peace and tranquility.

A natural corollary to the above would be that if the Armed Forces, who are called upon to assist the State administration in restoring normalcy, have to succeed in their task, they enjoy at least the similar powers as the Police force if not wider ones.

However, close perusal of the various powers available to the police under the provisions of the CrPC vis-a-vis those available to Armed Forces under AFSPA would reveal that the police still enjoy more encompassing and wider powers relating toarrest, search, seizure, summoning of witnesses, preventive detention etc than the Armed Forces.Adequate checks and safeguards are built in the AFSPA to prevent the Armed Forces from assuming sweeping powers. Violations of its provisions are liable for legal action/prosecution. DO’s and DONTs issued by the Army, duly approved by the Supreme Court are binding on all ranks.

Then what is wrong with AFSPA? The word “Power”? Then why not rename the Act, the Armed Forces Special Services Act.

Author: Robin, Guwahati

A 60 minute long documentary (in 6 10 minute long parts) on 2 months long protests over Amarnath Shrine Board land issue in Jammu. Contains good footage of many important events. Commentary is kind of annoying but tolerable. I got it from a friend, don’t know who actually produced it. I’d be grateful if somebody has any information for proper credits.
Some of the parts have poor video quality. If you find them too bad, kindly let me know. I’ll upload better quality video.

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=3C1BTa0-AAY

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=82-eyrNMCbY

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=STF4inEdcVw

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=UOZkzL0PWjw

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=-BmwIhpiEgs

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=RQnEVEzmb90

For quite sometime, many sections have been potraying Muslims as a community under seige from “communal” Hindus due to terrorist attacks in India and elsewhere. We are told how Muslims who are as nationalistic, patriotic and intelligent as any other Indian and they condemn every act of violence prepetrated by Islamic terrorists. A Muslim organisation’s refusal to allow burial of 9 dead terrorists in Indian soil is shown as an example. 

But how sincere and patriotic is an ordinary Muslim towards India? I’ve been noting the response of ordinary people in media regarding various   issues since the past few months and Muslims stand out like a sore thumb. Everybody condemns the violence but statements made by Muslims is always questionable.

A boy who happened to be a Muslim was killed in Bangalore after he tried to escape the police by running into a sensitive military area. Almost everybody termed the incident as unfortunate but Muslims  blamed the security personnel for their “inefficency, cruelty and bias against Muslims” for the death of that idiot.

by MOHAMED YASEEN on 12/29/2008 1:26:54 AM
IT IS A SAD STATE OF AFFAIR. ASK THE PARENTS WHO LOST THEIR BELOVED SON. IT IS DEFINITELY THE DUTY OF POLICE TO CHECK ANY SUSPICIOUS MOVE. THE BOY SHOULD HAVE STOPPED,BUT THE GUARDS ARE THE BUTCHERS WHO HAVE KILLED AN INNOCENT BOY. THEY SHOULD HAVE HIT HIM BELOW AT THE LEGS AND STOPPED HIM, BUT THEY HIT HIM ABOVE THE LEGS AND KILLED HIM. ARE THESE GUARDS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS BRUTAL KILLING? PEOPLE ARE LOOSING THEIR TOLERANCE. POLICE IS CHASING A BOY WHO JUST WAS INNOCENT AND WHEELING.

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Dec292008/city20081229109438.asp

Somebody tell idiots like him that Army areas are not public playgrounds for juveniles to jump around. If he had given himself up, the harshest punishment wouldn’t have exceeded anything more than some fine. But he acted much like a potential terrorist inside a high security zone and paid the price. Also racing in streets is an illegal activity. Other people, not only racers can get seriously injured or  even killed in such races. It’s not some innocent wheeling around. What’d have been his response if the dead guy was not a Muslim? 

Another recent controversy was about Union minister Abdul Rahman Antulay’s conspiracy theory about Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s death. The Hindu published letters of readers for almost a week on this issue and among dozens of letters published only one Muslim condemned Antulay. The rest   supported the corrupt politician. Here are some examples:-

It is unfortunate that in our country anyone who dares to raise a doubt is branded anti-national. Mr. Antulay only raised a doubt and echoed the view of many among the Muslim community. Whenever a Muslim speaks out, he is accused of aiding Pakistan. The media, the sangh parivar and the Congress succeed in diverting attention away from the real issue. Why can’t they answer questions properly? Why resort to propaganda to distract from the uncomfortable questions? 

Khalid H. Qureshi, 
Bangalore

*******

I do not understand why Mr. Antulay is being targeted for what he said. He has stated boldly what many Muslims have been afraid of saying, for fear of being branded anti-nationals.
Why should the BJP get so agitated at the idea of a probe into the death of Karkare and two other ATS officers? 

Meher Fatima,

Chennai

*******

Mr. Antulay has raised an apt and timely question. We lost Karkare and his deputies in a single attack. There was every possibility of some miscreant taking advantage of the situation and eliminating the top brass of the security apparatus. Every Indian is eager to know the details. 

T. Azeez Luthfullah, 
Chennai

 ********

Mr. Antulay has only done his duty as a representative of the people by expressing the view of some sections. There is no doubt that Karkare and the others died as martyrs. But we have a right to know the circumstances under which they lost their lives. 
Was there a lack of coordination somewhere that led to the killing of the three high-ranking officers? A probe will help to improve coordination in future. 

Md. Afzal Sharif, 
New Delhi 

* * * 

Statements have been issued, and letters, articles and editorials written condemning Mr. Antulay for speaking the unspeakable. This shows how an emotional tinge has been given to the Mumbai terror attacks. But what is wrong in giving one more dimension to the investigations? 
After all, what Mr. Antulay said is based on certain facts and legitimate doubts that exist in the minds of a large number of citizens. It is a different matter that the mainstream media have given those concerns no space at all. Mr. Antulay has done the right thing by voicing the views of a section of society.

Khan Yasir, 
New Delhi

* * * 

20/12/2008

Karkare proved wrong the theory that “all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim.” A feeling does exist that he was shot dead because of his non-partisan and honest investigations into the Malegaon blast.
Abdul Muqhtadir, 
Manvi

Mr. Antulay’s suspicion is well founded and worth investigating. A probe has to be initiated to uncover the mysterious circumstances under which Karkare was killed. The belief that all acts of terrorism originate from Pakistan is ignorance. There exists a Hindutva terror network which has even infiltrated the armed forces.
K.A. Mohamed Anis, 
Chennai

19/12/2008

The ONLY different letter written by a Muslim that was published. Ironically  this one makes most sense.

Mr. Antulay’s comments are unwarranted and untimely. Even if he had some doubts about Karkare’s killing, as a responsible Minister he should have expressed it to the Home Minister for suitable action. 

A. Jainulabdeen, 
Chennai

This show of support for a politician who ranks among most corrupt anywhere and was forced to resign from post of Maharashtra’s CM after  proven guilty of one of the biggest scams in India at that time. Counter-terror officials are now heroes for these people after they caught some Hindus accussed of bombing a Muslim majority area. But when Muslims were being arrested same people were accusing that the security agencies are biased. .

How he was forced to resign on corruption charges and his revenge.

Shourie started a one-man crusade in 1981 against Abdul Rehman Antulay, the chief minister of Maharashtra State, who allegedly extorted millions of dollars from businesses dependent on state resources and put the money in a private trust named after Indira Gandhi. The story caused the eventual resignation of the chief minister , the highest-ranking official in India ever forced from office by newspaper reporting, and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.

Shourie’s exposés resulted in a prolonged labour dispute at the Bombay offices of the Indian Express, where a labour organizer with ties to Antulay encouraged workers to strike for a minimum wage double than what was paid at any other newspaper in India. It also resulted in a government crackdown that included a host of legal cases launched against the Indian Express by various agencies. In 1982, the paper’s owner Ramnath Goenka fired Shourie as a result of continued government pressure.


Here is one good article written by an Indian Muslim exposing Antulay for the spineless coward that he is. Antulay, Karkare and Muslims

Congress-NCP government had not spent a single rupee out of the 167 crore rupees allotted to the Minorities Development Department till Dec. 15. Not one rupee. It is sadder still that the more hysterical elements of the Urdu press, who spend yards of newsprint on conspiracy theories, simply ignore such a story. 

When the Congress government humiliated him through a statement in Parliament debunking the conspiracy line, all he did was to sheepishly agree and accept that there was no longer any need for an enquiry.

Whenever there is a talk about Islamic terrorism in India, Babri Masjid issue invariably gets involved. 100s of bomb-blasts, 1000s of deaths  have an excuse because some Hindu fanatics destroyed some empty shell of a mosque somewhere in India. If that’s the case, I destruction of that mosque is justifed as  a Hindu temple was destroyed and that mosque built over it by Muslim invaders to terrorise, humiliate and forcibly convert Hindus to Islam. Why get limited to one incident only? Muslim invaders have destroyed 1000s of temples and other buildings, artifacts, books, scriptures etc all over the world. Dozens of temples were desecrated and destroyed in Kashmir in 1990s. If Babri Masjid motivates some Muslims to  sympathise with Islamic terrorists, then Islam is fair target for almost every other religion in world… Christanity, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Jews, Pagan and even many different Islamic sects. 

In Gujarat 260 Hindus and 800 Muslims were killed in riots. In Kashmir 100s of Hindus were killed and 3 lakh+ forced out of their homes in one sided violence prepetrated by Islamists. If you count the above incidents as  excuses then Hindus still have the license to kill a few 1000 muslims at least.

How many people have been killed in bomb blasts by Hindu terrorists? 20? 50? 100? How many have been killed by Muslim terrorists (in India only)? Quite a few more, I believe.  Even more Muslims for Hindus to kill 

Till 1991 Indian government avoided all relations with Israel for fear of offending Muslims. After  it’s help in Kargil war, Israel is one of the stongest Indian allies. For more than 40 years Indians avoided such a powerful friend just because Jewish Israel and Muslim Palestine are involved in a conflict. Can you beat such stupidity?

My favourite Indian is APJAK Azad. Why can’t rest of the muslim population emulate him instead of supporting corrupt politicians like Anutulay and playing the victim card? For too long most of  Indian muslims have allowed themselves to be manipulated by power hungry politicians and clerics.  It’s time they stop blaming others for their misery and face the truth.  Any pressure or injustice they face because of their religion will dissappear once they learn to separate religion from politics and education.

For some reason, Blogger disrupts any formatting I make in this post.Must be some bug or its incompatible with my browser. Kindly click on this link :

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=piAUbZEyUythttUu9InsPfw

for a spreadsheet with proper formatting. Its a Google spreadhsheet.

                                                  JAMMU—   KASHMIR

1) TOTAL AREA (sq KM)    26293——15948

 2) VOTERS                            3091193—-2986670

3) Lok Sabha Seats                 2———–3

4) State Assembly Seats        37 ———6
 
5) REVENUE COLLECTION 70% ——-30%
Examples

 a) Electricity(2007-08)
Target                                             417 crore—519 crore
 Realised                                         443 crore—246 crore

 b) Sales Tax since 1957-2007    2474.8 crore–1075.2 crore

6) a)Non-plan Expenditure  35%——— 65%

  b)Plan Expenditure (Chart Below)  

All Figures in Crores

DEPARTMENT          8th Plan             9th Plan        

                           – Jammu~~~Kashmir—-Jammu~~~Kashmir

1)Agriculture              57.6~~~104.5—147.3~~~253.7

2) Irrigation                 91.1 ~~~136.6—112.7 ~~~ 210

3) Roads & Building     144.2~~~247.2—229.3~~~403.6

4) Health                       123.8~~~135.34—229.3~~~274.45

5) Tourism                    15.2 ~~~34.39—34.9 ~~~58

6) Power                        516.75~~~775.1—56.94~~~85.4

7) HUDA                        19.3~~~ 45.2—39.8 ~~~93 

  Sewerage                       2.9 ~~~6.8—6.2~~~14.6  
  Drainage                        20.37~~~47.53—27.84~~~64.96

Facts speak for themselves. Inspite of having larger no. of voters, area and much more contribution by way of taxes, Jammu region is repeatedly screwed by Kashmir centric policies of centre and J&K; govt.

Details compiled from J&K; State Govt sources and 

http://www.planningcommission.nic.in/plans/stateplan/stplsf.htm

http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&issueid;=68&task;=view&id;=13627&sectionid;=23&Itemid;=1

http://www.dailyexcelsior.com

Perhaps most important of all,

Thousands of young men from Jammu enter armed forces every year.

Any Kashmiri muslim in Indian armed forces?? Frankly, 24 years living in the state, I’ve never seen any except in police.

PARAM VIR CHAKRA Awardees 

JAMMU            2 

KASHMIR        0

Out of 21 PVCs granted till date, 11 were for battles in J&K..; I haven’t yet posted data about other gallantry awards, like Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra etc. etc. The figure will probably grow into 100s.Thousands of our finest soldiers have laid down thier lives defending this state. Is it just another peice of land that we give away if some morons on Paki payrolls start shouting “Azadi” slogans? Is Siachen just a snow covered wasteland?Next thing these paki morons will ask for land in Rajasthan, Do we give more territory away, its just sterile desert. Going by this logic, why do we hold our Tiranga so dear? Its just a piece of cloth..no??

Do Kashmirs really want Azadi? What is definition of a Kashmiri? What about 5 lakh + HIndus who were hounded out of thier homes by these separatists? Don’t they have any rights?

Link: http://india.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=139806

What about 10 lakh+ refugees from PoK who are living as second rate citizens without voting rights, ration cards even after 60 years?

Link: http://infochangeindia.org/Agenda/On-the-move/’For-us-only-the-camp-is-home’.html 

One of the most vocal separatists in Mehbooba. Have we forgotten how 4 hardcore terrorists were released in exchange for her kidnapped sister when thier father was Home Minister. That incident is widely held as a landmark from where militancy really took hold in J&K.; She is the one who talks about dual currency, getting army out from valley and many other pro-paki measures.Their “Healing Touch” policy of supporting militants breathed life back into cross-border terrorism that was into decline just before Mufti assumed power.Mufti clan will sell anything for power and money.

I wouldn’t even mention Hurriyat morons here. They are 100% paki agents. 

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/We_are_Pakistanis_says_Geelani/articleshow/3378137.cms

Why is it that Kashmiris can buy land all over India, but an Indian cannot buy anything in J&K; if he is not a state-subject. Why do these fanatic ilsamists shit their pants when govt transfers a few kanals of land to Shrin Board after taking 4-5 years getting approval from all ministries and even High Court. Its not possible for me to go into details. Kindly read this article for true factors behind this land issue. 

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Columnists/Tarun_Vijay_Reclaiming_India/articleshow/3333783.cms 

One thing I’d like to add though, some close friends and family members went on Amarnath yatra this year. According to them, conditions are really bad. No clean, private toilets, no hot water and locals fleecing piligrims like anything. A piligrim is charged anything upwards of 1800 rs. for spending one night in a cloth tent shared by 5-10 other people in sub-zero temperatures and occasional snowfall, landslides, hail and rain 

We, the people of Jammu, request all Indians to get out of their slumber and pay heed to the facts. We don’t ask for your money, neither do we ask you to bring 10000s of protesters for our support. All we ask for is to call the bluff of paki separatists like Hurriyat, Mufti clan and retarded liberals like Arundhati . Tell me one country in world where a separatist can declare on national media, “This is our land,. Agar le sakte ho to aa ke le lo.” ? How can Omar Farooq declare in parliament,”We’ll not give even an inch of our land”. Whose land is it in first place? Is it exclusively the “baap ka maal” of these morons only? People from Jammu and rest of India don’t have any rights? Rights of self-confessed pakistanis like Gilani and his ilk who burn Indian flag on 15th August and unfurl Paki and Islamic flags on 14th August are more impotant? Why do we tolerate such assholes?

Its easy to blame politicians for this mess, but what about your stance? How can an ordinary Indian support Arundhati Roy when she says Kashmir should be given azadi or stay silent when a pak sponsored separatist burns OUR national flag??

National media and many political parties are repeatedly trying to undermine agitation in Jammu by branding it communal and BJP inspired. This is very untrue. 

Please watch videos recorded off local TV channels to see the real picture

Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/jjamwal

 

The movement going on in Jammu is truly secular with participants from all religions, (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christian, Buddhists included)., political parties, professional groups like BAR, Doctors Asociation and others. Lakhs of people all over Jammu region have been taking part in 100s of protest marches daily since 2 months now. There is no leader to lead them, no party flag or even any religious symbol. Only flag they carry in National Flag. All particiapnts include normal working class people, govt. employees, doctors, lawyers, professionals, daily wagers; men, women, children, young and old.

These processions are mostly peaceful. Violent incidents if any are isolated and condemned by all. Government responed to our legitimate demands by imposing 12-18 hour power cuts, banning media, sms , imposition of curfew, blockading EVERY road by roadblocks and barbed wires for weeks.When High Court instructed govt to lift ban on sms service they got decison revoked from Supreme court. Now when TV channles ask for opinions through sms, do you see any sms from Jammu? 

Kashmiri separatist raised bogey of economic blockade and made it an excuse for their march towards pakistan. That bloackde bogey is completely false if you go by army and government figures. More trucks were loaded unloaded in Valley compared to corresponding figures in pevious years. In contrast no truck loaded/unloaded in Jammu region for weeks .Then Kashmiris asked for compensation for “loss of their apple crop which rotted”and centre promptly released 300 crore for them. In thier eagerness to appease them nobody paid heed to fact that season for Kashmiri apples starts only in late August at earliest. What apple stock rotted due to their “economic blockade” is beyond everybody’s comprehension here. 

Then Kashmiris made it an issue when some of them were shot at by security forces when they tried to cross border. Tell me one country in world which will allow these kind of fanatic separatists to cross international border in this way. Not even European champions of Human Rights allow this kind of protests, bonhomie of EU notwithstanding

Link: http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=139721

They said, Kashmir drivers were being attacked in Jammu. Truth is 3 truck drivers from Jammu region, atleast 2 of them Sikhs were beaten up mercilsessly in Kashmir including one in Bijebhara.

In Jammu, a man named Kuldip Dogra after hearing speech made by Omar farooq in parliament consumed poison secretly, then stoop up in a gathering of Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti to recite a self-composed patriotic poem and died. Next day, 100s of policemen snatch his body away from greiving relatives, then try to burn the body during night using old tyres and kerosene and beat up his widow and family when they protested. A priest witness to this barbaric act manages to escape and alert other people who then came to the rescue. Since then a retired doctor committed suicide and 2other people attempted in support of the cause. 7 other people died in police firing and beatings with 100s seriously injured. 

In Jammu, Every business institution is closed for 2 months now. Everybody including businessmen, salaried workers and daily wagers are suffering due to shortage of ready cash, shortage of supplies including food and medicines. Still there has been no pause in protests. People are collecting money among themselves and providing free food and other essential items to poor and needy all over the region. Do you really think people have the patience to keep the movement running for so long if it was about land, politics or religion only? 

Link: http://dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_variable=front_page&file;_name=story4.txt&counter;_img=4

This movement is about KEEPING SECULAR SPIRIT OF INDIA ALIVE IN INDIAN TERRITORY. Do we, people of Jammu, deserve to be labelled violent intolerant communalists for this basic right?

Jai Hind

P.S: More links that confirm whats written here

Ladakh supports Jammu http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/web1/08aug23/news.htm#4

http://www.jammumatters.com

http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&task;=view&id;=13574&issueid;=68&sectionid;=3&Itemid;=1
Let there be no dispute over this simple fact: India is being banished from the Valley of Kashmir. Separatism is the mildest of words one can use to describe the soaring hate, which continues to be further accentuated by the flags of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan fluttering over erupting streets
You may say this is the moment for all honourable men to come together for the sake of the Nation Endangered. To the shame of us all, in India of the moment, honour and nation are incompatible. It is not politically viable to be honourable. And the nation is negotiable when immediate political dividends are higher. Nothing illustrates this truism better than Jammu and Kashmir, where India has vanished from the minds of those politicians who swear by Kashmiriyat and other such sonorous abstractions.

http://india.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=139941
WHILE PAKISTAN has been mounting a large scale propaganda campaign to project to the world its cause in Kashmir, we in India seem to have done little beyond affirming and re-affirming that Kashmir is an integral part of our country and that it will be defended at all costs. This gives an impression that our case in Kashmir is only that of possession and our ability to hold it by force. In actual fact, however, India alone has legal as well as moral right over Kashmir and Pakistan’s case is only that of a thief shouting ‘thief thief’. The Indian government has, apparently, failed to project its case not only to the world but also to its own people within and outside the state. Little wonder that even sixty years after the state acceded to the Indian Union, a section of the Kashmiris continue to challenge this accession with impunity.
 
J&K; 2nd most corrupt state in India
http://corruptionremover.com/corruption-in-india.html
Among the states, Kerala was found to be the least corrupt in public services with the next four positions being taken by Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. On the other side of the spectrum, Bihar was found to be the most corrupt state, closely followed by Jammu & Kashmir.
 
http://www.dawn.com/2008/08/19/rss.htm#49
ISLAMABAD, Aug 19 (PPI): Pakistan has reaffirmed its political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmir cause and stressed the need to associate the Kashmiri people in the jihad against the dirty kaffirs of India. This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while talking to an All Parties Hurriyet Conference delegation here Tuesday. The delegation led by Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmir American Council, Washington included Syed Yusuf Naseem, Ghulam Safi, Rafiq Dar and Nazir Quraishi. The Kashmiri leaders spoke of their concern on recent unrest and violence and use of force in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sweets was offered for APHC leader Shaheed Shaikh Abdul Aziz and other Kashmiris euthenised in recent Muslim mob violence in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. 
 
http://www.hindu.com/2008/08/21/stories/2008082155211200.htm
Farooq Abdullah rules out separation from India