Epilogue October 2010
special issue on two years of cross LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir
REKHA CHOWDHARY RAKESH ANKIT KASHMIR ISSUE Look Back, Look Farward By Talib Malik Gender and Conflict Situation in Kashmir Whose was Kashmir to be ? J & K â€™ S M O N T H LY M A G A Z I N E ISSN : 0974-5653 Epilogue Jammu, October 1 ,2010 / Vol 4 / Issue 10 | Price Rs. 30 | Postal Regd. No. JK-350/2009-11 | www.epilogue.in N E W S , C U R R E N T A F F A I R S , S O C I A L S C I E N C E S SILVER LINING IN DARK CLOUDS TWO YEARS OF CROSS LoC TRADE REFLECTIONS ON KASHMIR SITUATION N N Vohra, Governor, J&K Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman APHC-M M Y Tarigami, MLA, Secretary J&k State Committee, CPI-M Taj Mohi-ud-din Minister Public Health Engg., Irri. & Flood Control, Rigzin Jora, Minister of Tourism & Culture Nasir Hussain Munshi, Councillor LAHDC-K Tsewang Rigzin, Associate Editor Epilogue Lobzang Rinchen, President Ladakh Buddhist Association Phunstog Namgyal, Congress Leader, Former Union Minister Tsering Dorje, LUTF Chairman & CEO LAHDC Prof Saifuddin Soz President Congress Party J&k Unit Muzaffar Baig, Senior PDP Leader Bilal Lone, Chairman J&K People's Conference Bashir Manzar Editor Kashmir Images, Srinagar Hashim Qureshi Chairman J&K Democratic Liberation Party Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhatt, Chairman Muslim Conference Aak Kacho, Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC-Kargil Thupstan Chhewang, Senior Leader LUTF, Former MP Rigzin Spalbar, Former Chairman & CEO LAHDC Mohammad Shafi Lassu, Anjumian Moin-ul-Islam, Leh Contributed by Belgian Association for Solidarity with J&K 1 Epilogue because there is more to know CONTENT www.epilogue.in Editor Zafar Iqbal Choudhary SILVER LINING Publisher Yogesh Pandoh IN DARK CLOUDS Consulting Editor D. Suba Chandran Manu Srivastsa Associate Editors Irm Amin Baig Tsewang Rigzin Zorawar Singh Jamwal General Manager Kartavya Pandoh TWO YEARS OF CROSS LoC TRADE Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2010 I N FOCUS Art Editor Keshav Sharma Research Officer Raman Sharma Phones & email Office : +91 191 2493136 Editorial: +91 94191 80762 Administration: +91 94191 82518 subscriptions : +91 90188 87136 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Printed and Published by Yogesh Pandoh for Epilogue NewsCraft from Ibadat House, Madrasa Lane, Near Graveyard, Bathindi Top, Jammu, J&K - 180012 and Printed at : DEE DEE Reprographix, 3 Aikta Ashram, New Rehari Jammu (J&K) Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction of courts and competitive tribunals in Jammu only. Cross LoC Trade 27 www.epilogue.in 2 3 Kashmir Look Back, Look Ahead 5 Talib Malik Another questions to ponder over in Kashmir 7 Basheer Ahmad Peer Column History of Ladakh in the Mughal Historical Sources 43 Prof. Jigar Mohammad Exclusive Series Whose was Kashmir to be ? 45 Rakesh Ankit Book Gender and Conflict Situation in Kashmir 48 Rekha Chowdhary Darks Clouds and a Silver Lining Zafar Choudhary & Suba Chandran 28 28 28 29 30 31 32 34 35 35 36 36 38 40 RNI : JKENG/2007/26070 ISN : 00974-5653 Price : Rs 30 Prologue Contributors to this Issue The story so far Trade “to” Other Kashmir or Trade “Through” Other Kashmir? : The Problem of Perceptions South Indian Coconuts and Chinese Garlic in Cross-LoC Trade : The Problem of Proxies Interview : YV Sharma I send Apples, You may like to send Onions, or Ajwain : The problem of a Barter Trader Interview : Nazir A Dar I don’t know whom I’m trading with : The problem of connectivity More New Routes or Strengthen the Existing ones ? : The Problem of Expectations Problems Galore, but there is a Silver Lining Interview : Rakesh Gupta Interview : Mubeen Shah Interview : Shabaz Khan Srinagar - Muzaffarabad Trade in Times of Unrest Poonch - Rawalakote A Report from Trade Center Vol. 4, Issue 2 Epilogue, February 2010 2 PROLOGUE From the Editor Time To Go Beyond Limited Travel, Symbolic Trade ZAFAR CHOUDHARY I f you leave Kashmir issue to the people, there is no issue at all. This may be an over simplification of the problem that has been plaguing India-Pakistan relations and challenging the tranquility within Jammu and Kashmir for decades but there is one process which is pointer to the growing public sentiment for normalizing relations and enhancing contacts across the divides. Politics plays at different levels. In Kashmir, anything which ignores the proverbial core issue is opposed strongly. Contacts across LoC offer healing touch to hundreds and thousands of those suffering the wounds of separation from the dear ones for decades but the process does not address the core issue. So what should be done? Do what is doable in these circumstances or keep the reunion hostage to politics? The former is more plausible. As a result of sustained dialogue and as compliment to the public mood, India and Pakistan launched cross LoC bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in April 2005 and later extended the service between Poonch and Rawalakote in 2006. In 2008 Cross-LoC trade was launched simultaneously on both routes. Though both initiatives were described as major confidence building measures but actually these were thrown as challenges on the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of divide. Crossing the divide has never been as easy as said. One has to put in an application, wait for three to 18 months and go through a range of hurdles before being able to board the Cross-LoC bus service. Over 20,000 applications are still pending. In case of trade, scenario is even worst. No infrastructure, no banking, no courier, no telephone, no currency exchange and still there is trade which is going up by every passing week. By every passing week people are trying to send a loud and clear message to the government on both sides that they are against the divides and they want the lines blurred. Is there anyone taking this message? As far as the public involvement and eagerness to transcend the barriers is concerned, the process of Cross-LoC interactions should be taken beyond limited travel and symbolic trade. Cooperation in tourism, education and healthcare are the other possibilities which should be explored. Reflecting upon the popular sentiment, the civil society groups and conflict transformation organizations are already pushing for cooperation in these areas. Governments in New Delhi and Islamabad must take this message seriously. Feedback : email@example.com www.epilogue.in JUNE 2008 The process of Cross-LoC interactions should be taken beyond limited travel and symbolic trade. Cooperation in tourism, education and healthcare are the other possibilities which should be explored NOVEMBER 2009 Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 3 CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE Ankit, Rakesh; (Forgotten History p45) is a young historian from Bihar. As a Rhodes Scholar recently he studied various missing links in the making of Kashmir conflict. Based on his first hand study, he is contributing exclusive series to Epilogue Chandran, D Suba; (In Focus, p27) is Deputy Director at Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Author of many books and an acclaimed expert on Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations, he is Consulting Editor of Epilogue Magazine Chowdhary, Rekha (Books & Reviews, P48), is Professor of Political Science at the University of Jammu Hussain, Bilal (In Focus, P38); is a financial Journalist and writer. In 2009 he attended the McGraw-Hill Personal Finance Reporting Program Courses, supported by The International Center for Journalists. Currently he is associated with premier daily, Kashmir Times Maini, Varun (In Focus, P40); is based in Poonch Malik, Talib (Perspectives, P5); is a social activist based at Rajouri. He retired from an administrative position in J&K Government Mohammed, Prof Jigar; (History, p43) is professor of History at the University of Jammu. He is associated with Epilogue since inception as Editorial Advisor on History of Jammu and Kashmir Peer, Basheer Ahmed (Perspectives, P7); is based in Kupwara, north Kashmir and working as a researcher with New Delhi based Charkha Development and Communication Network Sandy, Sandeep Singh (In Focus, P36); is a scholar of Political Science and currently engaged with a New Delhi based peace NGO Readers' requests for getting in touch with the authors, for feedback, comments and further discussions on their subjects of interest, are welcome. Since all authors/contributors are not interested in taking mails directly, the readers are requested to send us interview requests at firstname.lastname@example.org for passing on to the authors www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 After donation one can attend his routine work within half an hour Where don donate blood ? q In Blood Bank q In a Blood Donation Camp HEALTH EDUCATION BUREAU DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH SERVICES, JAMMU Blood Donation is Social & Moral Responsibility Remember : How often one can donate blood ? q Men can donate blood after every 3 months while women after every 4 months q A person can donate blood about 168 times in his life time. Who can donate Blood ? q Healthy Person between 18-60 years of age q Person having weight not less than 45 kgs BLOOD DONATION CAN SAVE LIFE VOLUNTARY BLOOD DONATION DAY, IST OCTOBER 201 No. : DIP/J-6493/2010 5 kashmir Opinion KASHMIR ISSUE Look Back, Look Ahead TALIB MALIK It becomes a moral duty to reorganize the state on taking into consideration its multi-dimensional dissimilarities in culture, language, ethnicity, geography, history and political perceptions of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Rajouri-Poonch and Udhampur-Doda and work out a political mechanism which could make each region the master of its own destiny and grow freely under an umbrella of a larger autonomy with well-know economic dimensions T he state of Jammu and Kashmir signed the instrument of accession on October 26, 1947, in an extra ordinary situation, subject to the condition that a plebiscite would be held in the state when Law and order situation allowed it. Anyhow the same could not be held till date because of various checks and balances operating from within and without. Mahatma Gandhi once referred Kashmir as the "Crown of India" but did not call it her head. A crown is a part of one's image but not of his essential being, and this perception is at the root of Kashmir's claim to Autonomy or Azadi. Actually there never was an organized movement in Jammu and Kashmir favouring accession to India even among Hindu population. It was the raiders who forced this state to accede to India in search of security and support. It was at this crucial juncture of 1947, when the Indian sub-continent was destined to gain independence and the fate had to shape it into two sovereign states of India and Pakistan. Due to geographical placement of Jammu and Kashmir, it had a chance to join either of the two dominions. The leaders of Pakistan expected it to join their dominion, as www.epilogue.in being a Muslim majority state, while the leaders of Indian National Congress wanted Kashmir to make a choice in favour of secular India rejecting twonation theory on the basis of which Pakistan had already taken its birth. The Maharaja found it difficult to decide in favour of the either side or remain independent. It was only when and emergency arose on account of tribal entry into the state that Maharaja had to find out external sport to face the challenge. Vol. 4, Issue 10 The Indian leadership taking advantage of this situation offered the help only on the condition, that the state accedes to India with full sport of National Conference, the predominant political party under its undisputed leader Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. So the state of Jammu and Kashmir was compelled to accede to India but on three subjects only, i.e. Defence, external affairs and communication. The interim government of the state that was formed under the leadership of Epilogue, October 2010 6 kashmir Opinion Sheikh Abdullah in October 1947 tried its best to secure and safeguard the special position for the state and succeeded in corporating it into legal and constitutional framework of Indian union through an agreement between center and state leadership. Thus on the promulgation of the Indian constitution on January 26, 1950 it was made clear that only two articles i.e. Article 1, which declared Jammu and Kashmir to be a part of Indian Union, and article 370, which defined the special status granted to it, will apply in-full to the state. It stipulated that Legislative Authority of Parliament in respect of Jammu and Kashmir would be confined to the matters specified in the instrument of accession only. Accordingly a constituent Assembly was formed in the state in 1951. The Assembly was assigned the task of framing of its own constitution for the state within the framework of special position it was agreed upon. Anyhow, the central leadership under communal pressure, forced Sheikh Abdullah to change the promised Autonomy of 1950, and come to a new compromise with the central leadership, that resulted in what came to be known as the "Delhi Agreement of 1952". But, in spite of this understanding the relations between the two did not sustain any longer. The state leadership was pressurized again for a new agreement. The political events of 1953, that led to the dismissal of Sheikh Abdullah, the most potent advocate of the state's Autonomy, facilitated the process of grater merger of state within the Indian Union, beginning with the Parliament order of 1954, which left only the provision the "State Subject" of sum effective worth with the state, so for as article 370 was concerned. In the decade and a half that followed www.epilogue.in the Sheikh Abdullah's arrest, the Autonomy of the state was destroyed bit by bit in connivance with the state legislature elected through massive rigging and use of naked force. Indianisation of the state might have worked if it had functioned honestly, but by unfair and foul means, India attracted much of the popular disgust and discredit. Moreover communal riots of 1950 and anti-autonomy agitation of Jammu-based Parja Parishad made common Kashmiri fear What the times demand is honesty, courage, vision and creativity to explore a course which all the sides can accept. The best and possible way to resolve the existing deadlock is to implement the article 370 in the true spirit and restoring to pre-1953 position. There is no other democratic way sensing the popular mood in the entire state. The restoration of autonomy within the frame of Delhi Agreement of 1952 would definitely give a sense of achievement to the people of Kashmir that their autonomy was in danger. The response of Sheikh Abdullah as their leader was only natural and the way his voice was muzzled, that killed creditability of India in their eyes. The story of the later accords i.e. Indira Gandhi - Sheikh Abdullah accord of 1974 and Rajiv-Farooq accord of 1986 was not much different. It is argued that conditions of disorder, militancy and recent struggle, have caused by the insensitivity of the government of India to words its commitment to Jammu and Kashmir that led to the rise of militant separatism. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Beig-Parthasarthy accord and Sheikh Abdullah's assumption of power in 1975 seemed a welcome development, but the manner in which the Late Girdhari Lal Dogra was asked to step-down as leader of Congress Legislature Party to make way for Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in mid-1975, with an eye on the office of the Chief Minister by the Congress withdrawing support to Sheikh Abdullah was yet another exposure. Anyhow, his impressive electoral victory in 1977 in what has been considered to be the most fair election in the state, an era of peace and prosperity prevailed in the state till his death in 1982. All the separatist powers seized to exist in Kashmir. Dr. Farooq's impressive electoral performance in the state in 1983 was outcome of the same legacy. The roots of present crises in the state can be safely traced back to Dr. Farooq's dismissal in July 1984. It was during the Governor/President rule in 1986-87 that the extremists started gaining strength and the state parties with secular ideology like the National Conference started losing ground, and new faces with more non-secular tinge started gaining popular sport in the valley. However it is not yet clear, probably not even to the separatist leadership what exactly they want and to legitimize their demand and expectations. Kashmiris are sophisticated enough to realize that only a high level of autonomy or Azadi can be the goal. What about the surrounding Muslim-majority regions of Kargil, Doda, Udhampur, Rajouri and Poonch if, at all, it is to become a sort of "MiniPakistan"! Such a blatant communal approach will carry disturbing potential and may not necessarily reflect the interests and sober decision of many people and repeat the communal riots of 1947. A man of wisdom may not Epilogue, October 2010 7 kashmir Education appreciate it in 21st century. In a way it is the revival of two-nation theory which has already died it's own death in 1971 with the formation of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has become 4th poorest out of almost 200 countries of the world. Day in and day out, the people of Bangladesh are caught, both male and female, on Indian borders and in International market to be sold out of poverty. The condition of Pakistan is not much different. An undeclared war is being fought within and outside Pakistan. The question has reached of its own survival. The northern regions of Gulgit and Biltistan etc, once a part of Jammu and Kashmir, are fighting for their "right to vote" for the last more than 65 years. The position of so-called Azad Kashmir is not different. The champions of Jamat-e-Islami, at the head of the recent agitation have already served its "Purpose" in Pakistan. Their entire literature stands banned in Bangladesh. If we do not want to repeat history all over again but benefit by the lessons from it, we should avoid such fatal risks. Being the custodians of the faith, we are not supposed make an "island" of Islam, but to carry the massage of the creation plan of God to a common man. We should clear the doubts of the people of Jammu, Ladakh and other regions and try to win their love and cooperation for a mutual goal. Peaceful co-existence is the only way of existences in this world. It becomes a moral duty to reorganize the state on taking into consideration its multi-dimensional dissimilarities in culture, language, ethnicity, geography, history and political perceptions of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Rajouri - Poonch and Udhampur - Doda and work out a political mechanism which could make each region the master of its own destiny and grow freely under an www.epilogue.in umbrella of a larger autonomy with well-know economic dimensions. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, what we need is a just and beneficent regime which is responsive to the needs of the people, particularly the youth. We must insist upon an educational curricula stressing to the young students the need of understanding each region. A dialog be encouraged among the , people of all the regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir state at an informal level, including interregional study-tours. Although psychological and biological studies show that human beings attain maturity only after reaching middle age, they are not in a position to form any sound opinion on the realities of life and need a mature wisdom. The beautiful valley of Kashmir created by God, is well on it way to being ruined by man. We have to work sincerely to save it in the interest if all the humanity. We have to stop counting our dead-bodies and number of days involved in it. You are free to use peaceful methods, but you are not entitled to use violence. What the times demand is honesty, courage, vision and creativity to explore a course which all the sides can accept. The best and possible way to resolve the existing deadlock is to implement the article 370 in the true spirit and restoring to pre1953 position. There is no other democratic way sensing the popular mood in the entire state. The restoration of autonomy within the frame of Delhi Agreement of 1952 would definitely give a sense of achievement to the people of Kashmir. However it must settle down the demands of autonomy of other region and subregion as well. All other options are behind logic and relevance but suicidal. Views expressed by author are his personal Vol. 4, Issue 10 Another question to ponder over in Kashmir BASHEER AHMAD PEER Despite the euphoria over schools re-opening in the Valley, is all really well with the education system, existing now for decades? If indeed Kashmiri youth need all the opportunities to compete with best and brightest in the country surely, this merits a closer look and possibly concerted action on the ground. K ashmir has been under severe duress for the last three months taking a heavy toll on everyday lives of ordinary citizens. As is often the case in areas of conflict, the worst hit and the most vulnerable are the children. With schools not being able to function, anxious parents cloistering their wards at home, they faced a disturbing scenario of uncovered syllabus and perhaps even the possible loss of an academic year. Mercifully, after a long gap of 100 days, schools in Srinagar and parts of the valley re-opened signaling a phase of peace, normalcy. This is perhaps a good time to ponder over whether all is well with the system of education in the state, not only in times of stress but in its normal functioning? Does the education system which is the key to the development of Epilogue, October 2010 8 kashmir Education any region, really reach the children in districts, in rural pockets of Kashmir? Is the opening of schools in the valley, no doubt a positive step forward, enough reason to cheer for the hundreds of students across Kashmir? The J&K State Board of School Education was constituted in 1975 with a view to make elementary, secondary, higher secondary education accessible to all. The vision was far-reaching and the purpose lofty. Let us remember that this was also a different period of Kashmir's turbulent political history, long before militancy had set in. To nurture talent in the youth, ingrain the best values in them and enable them to join the mainstream in the country were the guiding principles. The introduction of professional courses and university level education was also visualized. Today this dream seems farfetched. For children in rural areas as in the border district of Kupwara, school systems are in shambles. In Kunnan village, a mere 7 km from the district headquarters, it is a story of neglect of basic facilities. Abdul Aziz Shad, Numberdar( village headman) of the village, said, “There are 400 houses in our village, but even with such a large population, we have been ignored by the government, whether it is education o f h e a l t h c a r e f a c i l i t i e s . We approached concerned authorities and political leaders many a times but sent back with promises. I wish we had educated youth --they would have certainly helped the village.” Kunnan village as indeed the whole of Kupwara district, infact Kashmir itself has a role model, Dr. Shah Faisal, the medical practitioner www.epilogue.in who made his region proud when he topped the IAS recently. An icon, the stuff of dreams of many a young Kashmiri, the aspiration of the region as it were. The situation of schools however in Faizal's home district is far from desirable. Ghulam Muhammad Dar from Kunnan says “For name's sake, we have two schools, a primary and a middle school in our village but there are no facilities available. The quality of teaching is very poor. Besides the students don't have proper seating arrangements.” The primary school in Dar Muhallah reflected this sorry state. Basheer Ahmad Lone, the school headmaster remembered when the school opened in 2005 under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) with only 33 students. While the numbers gradually increased to 66, the infrastructure remained the same. The school is still run in a rented place which is in bad shape. There is no toilet; no play grounds any drinking water facilities. Rues Lone, “I am also suffering with the children. Who should I go to narrate this story? When I visit education department, officials avoid me. The progress of children is suffering.” Villagers, who would like to send their children for quality education, know in their hearts that this remains elusive; it is the preserve of only those who can afford private schools for their wards. Lone is quite categorical “While government schools lack in basic facilities, private schools even have playing facilities. Our children have talent, but no means to nurture it”. The contrast is painful. Muhammad Irfan, a villager says “Private school gives 100% result in VIIIth every year, while only three students, Vol. 4, Issue 10 out of 33, passed in the government school in 2009. Nilofar Jan, supervisor of the Anganwadi centre sees it from the larger perspective of Education playing a crucial role in enabling the village children to join the mainstream of society. Sadly there is much to be desired in the quality of education these children are getting. “The question is in this age of computer and technology, if children are deprived of basic facilities can one say that the Education Board is fulfilling its responsibilities? Are these only tall claims on paper?” So is there any room for euphoria because schools have opened in the valley after a long gap? No, this merely indicates that the conditions which prevented normal functioning of schools have been removed. This has been lauded by different sections of society within Kashmir about the value of education, the importance of regularity in school routines and curriculums. What one is not hearing are voices addressing the gross lacuna on the ground. Euphoria apart, there is something telling about the pattern of response to the reopening of schools and educational institutions. The Minister for Education, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed made a statement saying that in all 80% students attended schools in rural areas whereas urban centers recorded a 3040% attendance. This surely indicates that despite the violence that has wracked the region in recent months and the complex tapestry of political forces in the state today, rural Kashmir has given thumbs up for quality education. Epilogue, October 2010 9 kashmir Perspectives NN VOHRA Governor, J&K M y thoughts are occupied entirely by the sad happenings in Kashmir in the past two months. Since early June this year, normalcy of life in the Valley has continued to be disrupted by an unending series of stone pelting protestations, burning of public property and attacks on the law enforcement agencies. These incidents have led to continuing confrontations with the Security Forces and generated a cycle of violence which has resulted in many persons being injured and 47 being killed, many of whom were young men and even women and children. Whatever may have been the why's and wherefor's of the obtaining disorder, the loss of lives is an extremely sad consequence. My heartfelt sympathy goes to the families who have lost their near As President of the Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir, Paul Beersmans has been visiting all parts of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of Line of Control, including Gilgit and Baltistan, since 1994. He interviews the leaders, civil society members and common man on the street to bring in neutral view points. In his latest study tour, Paul was recently in Kashmir Valley and Ladakh where he conducted interviews between June 24 and July 10, 2010 when the unrest was at its peak. He has contributed to Epilogue the compilation of reports based on the interviews. For more see basjak.org www.epilogue.in and dear ones in the recent tumult. The Security Forces, whose personnel have also suffered significant injuries, need to revisit their strategies and tactics of crowd control for securing maximum protection of human life. The recurring calls for strikes, processions and day to day protestations, by whomsoever given, have resulted in the stoppage of all business, trade and economic activities, with a particularly adverse consequence for those who earn their bread by daily toil. The impaired functioning of the governmental machinery has impacted adversely on the delivery of public services and slowed down the entire developmental process. The educational sector has suffered the most irreparable damage. The continuing disturbed environment has resulted in the complete disruption of the academic schedules - schools, colleges, training institutions, and universities have remained closed in the past weeks. This year, foreign and domestic tourists had been arriving in large numbers. However, the continuing turmoil brought the tourist activities to a quick end and adversely affected the livelihood of thousands of families who live off the tourist, travel and hospitality industry. With the absence of doctors and paramedical staff, the functioning of hospitals and medical care units has been very badly affected, enhancing the miseries of the sick and the injured. The functioning of the judicial apparatus, upto the State High Court, has also been disturbed. The people of Jammu & Kashmir have been concerned, for many years now, about certain issues relating to the State's relations with the Centre. It is indeed fortunate that our liberal democratic frame- Vol. 4, Issue 10 work allows enormous scope for divergent viewpoints. The various differences can and must be resolved through sustained dialogue and discussion and not through confrontations and violence. All necessary steps to restore peace and normalcy must be taken on the most immediate basis. Once normalcy is effectively restored a purposeful dialogue must commence with all those who have been agitating in the past months. The Centre, on its part, would need to early launch and vigorously pursue a sustained political initiative in J&K. Like other States in the country, J&K has also been striving to march ahead in all arenas of human and economic development. However, on account of the prolonged period of militancy and recurring internal disturbances the overall development of the State has remained significantly deficient on several important fronts. For achieving the goal of peace, progress and prosperity it would be necessary for all political parties, all the social, cultural and religious organisations, and all other stake holders in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to work together closely and determinedly. It is also necessary that every element of the civil society urgently organises itself to play a proactive role in promoting sanity and harmony. Concerted efforts are also required to enhance the functioning of the administrative apparatus and promote honesty, transparency and good governance in every sector of governmental functioning. We must work devotedly to build strong and vibrant Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions in which all our people lead satisfied lives in a harmonious environment, free from hunger, want and fear. Epilogue, October 2010 10 kashmir Perspectives Prof SAIFUDDIN SOZ President Congress Party J&K Unit S tone pelting is not for young boys. They should be home, study and prepare their exams instead of provoking the security forces. If you use violence as an instrument of dispute, there can't be peace. The gun can never decide: nothing can be achieved by violence or force. Also in Palestine, we have seen that intifada only brought misery. One should respect life: live and let live. Let there be peace through dialogue and discussion. Separatist leaders should use only democratic means to further their aims. There are positive and negative aspects in the governance of every country. In my position it is difficult to comment on performance of the present coalition Government headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. You should ask the common man in the market and decide yourself what is good and not as good as it should be. As far as Kashmir is concerned, we are not at all communal and I can assure you that the Amarnath Yatra will go on without incidents although Syed Ali Shah Geelani tries hard to communalise this issue. Track II diplomacy is on. The dialogue between India and Pakistan has been resumed. The Centre invited the separatist leaders for negotiations in order to normalise the situation and to find a lasting peaceful solution. What happens now is to the detrimental of the people: they are fed up with all this. Only a small group of extremists is terrorising the whole Valley. MIRWAIZ UMAR FAROOQ Chairman APHC-M T he ongoing protest is a manifestation for freedom and for a political resolution of the long-standing Kashmir problem and not against any religion as is being projected by some news channels and communal elements. Amarnath pilgrims are guests of Kashmiris. Since ages, Kashmiris have been facilitating and will continue to facilitate a smooth Yatra. Our protests are against the human rights violations and unabated killing of innocent civilians by the police and aathe security forces. The movement has now passed on to a new generation and they would carry it forward. Our youth are being killed by troopers and cops with impunity. We feel that J&K has turned into a police state and there is complete lawlessness. By trying to suppress the freedom movement by force, New Delhi has already lost Kashmir. The youth are forced to pelt stones when their peaceful protests are quelled by use of disproportionate force. If any force is used to sabotage the peaceful protests, the reaction from the people will be harsher and the Government will be solely responsible for its consequences. Youth have taken over the baton of freedom and there is sheer sentiment on the streets. It is high time for people of India to know the truth and understand that our movement is indigenous and for a just cause. If the mainstream parties are concerned and serious over the sufferings of people, they should join APHC-M and leave the Assembly politics aside, they should come out of their rhetoric shell and lend support to the resolution of the dispute. No election, no administrative changes or economic packages can be substitute to the right of self-determination of Kashmiris. It is well established that Kashmir is not a military problem. It is a political problem and we are not averse to talks with New Delhi if it released the political prisoners, undertake demilitarisation and revoke the special powers to the security forces. India and Pakistan should discuss the Kashmir dispute on priority. Other issues including water sharing, trade links, etc. can be discussed later. I want to maintain that if any member or leader of APHC-M gives any statement, it will be in his individual capacity. Only the APHC-M spokesperson and I are empowered to make statements on behalf of the conglomerate. People want the unity among the pro-freedom camp. They want to see a united leadership. I want to maintain that it is not a leadership issue but giving the right direction to the movement and taking it to its logical conclusion. For the larger interest of the movement, I have been trying to forge unity and I hope it will soon bear fruit. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 11 kashmir Perspectives MUZAFFAR BAIG Senior PDP Leader T he international community has double standards. They don't pay attention to the Kashmir issue whereas Palestine gets all attention. The international media keep silent: nobody recognises their protest. The authorities and the security forces are fabricating fake encounters, they are manipulating incidents, they are lying. This results in more alienation of the people. Kashmiris want recognition that atrocities are there, that the security forces are committing human rights violations. What happens now is an accumulated sense of hopelessness and despair due to a combination of different factors. There is the failure of the process of dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan and between the Centre and the various stakeholders â€“ mainstream politicians and separatist leaders â€“ in J&K State. So many initiatives have been taken: behind the scene dialogue, Round Table Conferences and installation of five Working Groups. Not a single recommendation has been implemented: it was a waste of time. With Pakistan, there was Track II diplomacy. Had Musharraf not run into difficulties, there would have been an agreement between India and Pakistan. Due to 'conspiracy of elements of history', the probable agreement was aborted. The situation worsened after the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008. There is a complete failure of governance from the side of the present coalition Government. The pro-people policy of Mufti Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad was reversed under the present leadership. The dreaded Special Task Force that was disbanded by the then Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed was revived by the present Government. The killing of innocent people was started by that force, not by the CRPF. The present Government dispensed the pro-people policy of taking the common people of the State into confidence and thus creating a political buffer between the common man and the security forces. Corruption increased manifold. The administration and the bureaucrats became indifferent to the problems of the people. People's grievances are not heard. How can they then be addressed? www.epilogue.in A series of human rights violations in which young children were killed took place. The Government's initial response was to justify and defend the culprits. The Chief Minister displayed indifference and immaturity towards the anguish and pain caused to the bereaved families. From the side of Omar Abdullah there was no reaction, no condolences, no announcement of investigation, no statements of sorry, no punishment of the responsible police officers. Boys who grew up with violence are not afraid. They are determined to pelt stones. Nobody can stop them. On the other hand, we may not hide the reality. It is not excluded that ISI, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Taliban exploit the situation although the boys are not motivated or paid by them. I am not ruling out that some leaders are being paid by them and making money out of it, but certainly not these young boys. This is a very serious situation. We must find a way out. India and Pakistan must resume dialogue. In India, there are 160 million Muslims. Most of them are illiterate and poor. You can find them all over India. What will happen if Taliban finds its recruits in these masses? This is a problem not only for India and Pakistan but also for the entire world. India and Pakistan, together with the democratic countries of the world must address the Kashmir issue. Negotiations must be result oriented. Don't let the Kashmir issue be a local problem. It is a problem for the whole region, the whole world. There are no negotiations between the separatist leaders and the State Government. For that, they must have the permission of the Pakistani Government and the militant organisations. Apparently, they don't have this permission yet. Besides all the aspects mentioned above, I hold the leaders of Kashmir primarily responsible for the mess in which we are today. It is customary for the leadership of Kashmir to blame mostly the Central Government and sometimes Pakistan, ISI and military of Pakistan. Of course, there are a lot of people in Pakistan who would like to Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 12 kashmir Perspectives settle scores for the creation of Bangladesh. I don't deny that they would like to exploit every situation in Kashmir that they can find and in the rest of India. I accept that as a great possibility and probability. But, it is time that we, people who are in politics in J&K State, must accept our responsibility. We have failed our people, we have failed the nation and the less we accept our responsibility, we will keep on blaming India, the Indian leadership, the Indian security forces, the Indian army, our own people. We will have conspiracy theories, we will say this happened in 53, that happened in 75, then this happened to autonomy or resolutions, we will say we are not getting enough funds, they don't trust us, we don't trust them. We have to look into our own hearts and mind and we have to find reasons why we are today caught in this vicious circle. We have betrayed our young generation, we have embodied them into this impossible dream. We have spoken one language in Kashmir, another in Delhi. When we go to Pakistan and when we had meetings with Musharraf we apologised to them for having acceded with India. We say our fathers and grandfathers have committed a treachery because we have acceded with India. We go to Delhi and we speak a different language. We have been telling our young generation that you deserve independence, that India is a Hindu country. We have been misleading them. If today our young children are out on the streets and they challenge our police people and security forces, they go and challenge them to shoot them and they are shot at. We are responsible and I don't know how long we will be responsible for killing our young people and betraying them. A young child of nine years gets killed and I feel responsible, I am responsible. I belong to a system which has lead to this situation and we think of small political gains. Even the mainstream political parties are trying to score small political points. We are betraying our own population, our own people. These young children are the product of violence. They are born after 1989. They have seen only violence: go, blood, betrayal. Even today, whether they are separatists or they are mainstream parties: we don't have the collective wisdom or collective courage to go and tell them the truth. We are not prepared to tell them the truth. We have betrayed the nation and our children. www.epilogue.in MY TARIGAMI MLA, Secretary J&K State Committee, CPI-M O ur party asks the State Government to exhibit utmost caution and restraint in its response to the emerging situation. We express deep anguish over the spate of civilian killings across the Valley. We emphasise that the situation should not be seen through the prism of law and order problem, nor as an issue of whether the State police or CRPF is responsible for the present situation. We believe that the blame game between the Centre and the State Government over the civilian killings will drift the situation towards more chaos, and both governments are expected to respond to the situation with a rational and humane approach. The present situation is the manifestation of the long pending political discontentment among the people of J&K and demands serious political process, dialogue and deliberations. The political initiatives taken by India and Pakistan a few years ago had undoubtedly given the people of the State a ray of hope but unfortunately, those political processes have come to a halt. The peace process started during ManmohanMusharraf time and the subsequent interactions through Track II and back channel levels had created an atmosphere where flexibility was witnessed in the maximalist attitude of the two countries. Certain confidence building measures were also taken and had a significant impact on the ground. The prevalent situation of the Valley yet again should make the Centre realise the importance of initiation of a serious all inclusive political dialogue with the people of J&K we hope the Centre will adopt a pro active approach vis-Ă -vis the composite dialogue with Pakistan. The State Government with the help of the Centre should address the genuine grievances of the youth, who felt disillusioned. We firmly believe that the people have the right to protest, but they should remain cautious, lest their sentiments can be exploited by the vested interests for their nefarious designs, at the cost of blood of innocent people. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 13 kashmir Perspectives BILAL LONE Chairman J&K People's Conference T here will be no peace unless and until we understand that Kashmir is a problem. Both sides must cool down temper. The killings should not have happened. We are not at all happy with the present wave of violence. The failure of the dialogue and the peace process is at the origin of this eruption of frustration. It is high time to move forward. India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris must feel that things are moving forward, that progress be made. Until this is done, the problems will remain. Development and good governance is fine, but don't forget the main issue: Kashmir is the main issue. Everyone would fail in the present circumstances: Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad or Mufti Sayeed. Only a change in the status quo can lead to a solution and to peace. The problems in the mind and the heart of the people must be addressed. We must keep our mind open: Kashmiris don't forget the main issue. In addition, the Indian mindset must change. We are not extremists or fundamentalists and we will never accept extremism or fundamentalism. To a certain extent, the secret process was on and slowly moving forward but it failed and died a dead in a very initial stage. We are not against a dialogue but it must be result oriented, there must be a time frame and it should not be for the sake of dialogue only. At my knowledge, there are no contacts between APHC-M and the State Government, or between Omar Abdullah and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. It must be stressed here that we are not the only political players. HASHIM QURESHI Chairman J&K Democratic Liberation Party U ntil we don't discuss the Kashmir problem, engage the separatist leaders in the dialogue and work out a kind of solution you can't stop this wave of violence. It will have ups and downs, there can be some lull for a period of time but as long as the problem is there, violence will erupt again. Security forces are using brutal force. Young boys are being killed. Remove the bunkers from the residential areas, let people speak, let people give vent to their frustration. Don't harass them, don't kill them. If you don't allow people to express their view, they will turn into extremists, fundamentalists. We have now one of the most corrupt regimes we ever had. People are totally fed up with this Government. NC never solved the problem politically. They always used brute force. Omar Abdullah is a young Chief Minister killing young people. Everyone is fed up: shopkeepers, businesspersons, the common people. Because of the harthals, strikes and curfews they don't have business or income. They have loans they can't pay. The bank is after them. Everyone is suffering: the shopkeepers, the students who can't go to school, patients who can't go to the hospital. Only the Government employees are happy: they are paid without having to work. Security forces are humiliating Kashmiris: they are behaving like oppressors, like an occupational force. The separatist leaders became jokers. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tries only to stay alive as separatist leader, therefore he is competing with Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Openly, there are no relations between APHC and the State Government. In reality, they are hypocrites. They are all very friendly with each other and socialising during receptions and festivities. I fully agree: it was not fair from Syed Ali Shah Geelani to demand the reduction of the Yatra from two months to two weeks just ten days before the Yatra started. His intention was clearly to create problems for the Government and in this, he succeeded, resulting in too many people being killed during these demonstrations. If Syed Ali Shah Geelani is serious without a hidden agenda, he should start now airing his objections for the Yatra in 2011. He can discuss limiting the number of pilgrims, he can discuss environmental aspects and waste control, he can discuss improvement of infrastructure. All these are technical, structural aspects. They should be discussed in a serene atmosphere without stirring up emotions or giving it a communal turn. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 14 kashmir Perspectives TAJ MOHI-UD-DIN Minister Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control, Senior Congress Party Leader T he agitation taking place now is directly related to Lashkar-e-Toiba. They are behind this unrest. They changed their strategy: from direct confrontation, they shifted to indirect actions. Now, they use a human shield of young boys in a much-organised manner. They abuse the discontent among people and involve innocent civilians. It is very easy to instigate people by appealing on their emotions, by introducing slogans like azaadi, by referring to the sacrifices of the past. These are all slogans. This is a very dangerous situation. They want complete chaos. We have to be very careful and now that we see through their real plan, we can take the necessary measures. Syed Ali Shah Geelani tries to communalise the situation. He is a puppet in the hands of Pakistan. Kashmiris are religious and tolerant. They will not harm religious gatherings. The Yatra will be safe: nothing is going to happen but we have to be cautious. We have taken the necessary security measures. There is more transparency, more developmental works, an active employment policy, continuing hydro-electrical projects, etc. The first phase of the Baglihar Dam is operational. The second phase started. Secret contacts between the Centre and the separatist leaders are taking place. The Indian Prime Minister wants a solution and I hope something consistent is going to happen. India and Pakistan have almost decided about a plan and it can be announced at any time. It can be Musharraf's four-point plan or any other plan. Any plan that brings peace is acceptable. If Pakistan accepts that plan, violence will stop automatically. We must take Pakistan on face value. There is lack of trust: we must build up trust. Our first priority is peace: for the people of Kashmir, for the sub-continent, for the whole world. The Centre and J&K State have responsible Governments: they will take care of the national and Kashmiri interests. There are no points of agreement between PDP and the State Government. PDP is opposing everything the Government initiates. Their job is to find fault in everything we do. They are not directly but indirectly supporting what is going on now. We can't expect anything better than that. The Congress-NC coalition will continue until the end: there are no problems or frictions between the coalition partners. We will make our six years, perhaps there could be some reshuffle in the Cabinet after three years. This is a normal process. Changing loyalties of politicians is totally banned according new laws that were introduced. There are no communal tensions at all. In Jammu Province, Hindu extremist elements supported by BJP made a call for strike but they failed completely. People don't like communal agitation. What happens now has nothing to do with communalism: only vested interests are at the origin of this violence. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 15 kashmir Perspectives BASHIR MANZAR Editor Kashmir Images, Srinagar P eople are suffering. Those who live from 'street life', the vendors, shopkeepers and businessmen suffer very hard. In addition, the common man suffers: schools are closed, patients can't go to the doctor or the hospital, tourists are cancelling reservations and staying away. There is a pattern in the ongoing wave of violence, it is clear that someone is pulling the strings: ? It starts always in the same season: May, June, July; ? The same young people are coming on the streets; ? They shift the 'battle field' up and down from North to South of the Valley; ? First, a noble aim is inducted. This time, it was the ultimatum for the reduction of the Yatra from two months to two weeks because of environmental reasons. Syed Ali Shah Geelani started this deliberately, knowing very well that it was impossible to accept this ultimatum ten days before the Yatra started. ? After the 'noble aim' has been inducted, demonstrations and agitation starts. Young boys are at the head of these demonstrations. Whatever separatist leaders say, these are not peaceful demonstrations. There is stone pelting and they are even using slingshots being a deadly weapon. The separatist leaders defend this kind of demonstrations. Even Mirwaiz Umar Farooq justified the use of this kind of violence. ? During these 'peaceful demonstrations' and confrontations with the security forces sometimes demonstrators got killed. Once this happens new demonstrations, this time against the human rights violations committed by the security forces and the killing of innocent people, start, and www.epilogue.in ? This is the beginning of a vicious circle: demonstrations, people killed, more demonstrations, more people killed, â€Ś. Only when there is a call for strike or demonstrations from Syed Ali Shah Geelani people die in confrontations with the security forces. One should not only blame Omar Abdullah for what is going on. Also, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and separatist leaders instigating young boys to use violence against the security forces are responsible for what happens. Under Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, there was a ray of hope. Things were going in the right direction: there was the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan, roads across the LoC were opened, there was people-to-people contact. There was no reason for the people to be unhappy or frustrated. It was thanks to these positive developments not because Mufti Sayeed was a magician. Since Musharraf was dethroned and the Mumbai terrorist attacks, all came to a standstill. Syed Ali Shah Geelani opposes negotiations, dialogue, and the implementation of CBM. A troubled situation vindicates his stand, he must keep the pot boiling. He also wants to assert that he is the only leader. He goes with his own program. Initially, he was against stone pelting and wanted peaceful demonstrations but the hardliners in his surrounding were angry. Consequently, he had to change his stand and now he justifies stone pelting but still claiming these are peaceful demonstrations. The administration made mistakes: they should have imposed curfew after the first killing incident. Eventually, they did it but after eleven more people got killed. All positive developments of the past are washed away. Instead of concentrating on development, most of the energy is spent on the law and order situation. Omar Abdullah failed to connect with the people. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 16 kashmir Perspectives RIGZIN JORA ABDUL GHANI BHATT Minister of Tourism and Culture Chairman Muslim Conference W hat happens now is certainly a planned strategy. It took months to work out this new plan. They are shifting the battlefield on a pattern: then the effort is in Kupwara, then it is in Anantnag, then it is in Sopore, then it is in Baramullah, then it is in Srinagar. Always changing the location of the battlefield. We can call this agitational terrorism or even provocative terrorism. There is also a shift in strategy: - they are promoting civil disobedience; - they are promoting the new slogan 'quit Kashmir'; - they are using very young boys in the frontline, and - militant activities are at low ebb in order to focus on the human rights violations of the security forces. Now there is curfew and the situation is under control but I don't know what will happen when curfew is lifted. I hope we will be able to control the situation and that normalcy will be restored in a week time. APHC-M is supporting the initiatives of APHC-G. In the media and comments, much more attention is given to the hardliners and this could give the impression that the moderates are marginalised. However, this is not so, they are very much there and participating in the ongoing unrest. As far as development is concerned, there is a lot of progress. Omar Abdullah is a progressive Chief Minister. He has a lot of support from the Centre. Tourism was going to be the best year ever. A good number of people made houseboat and hotel reservations but due to the present uncertain situation many reservations were cancelled. In Jammu, the Sangarsh Samiti, supported by BJP and some Hindu fundamentalist movements, tried to give the unrest a communal turn but they didn't succeed. The people of Jammu didn't forget what happened in 2008. There are no common points between PDP and the Government. The latter blames PDP to incite youth to create problems for the Government. They are sponsored by Pakistan in order to force India to resume negotiations. There is no animosity as such between Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Both are young, educated, intelligent and articulated. Mirwaiz is a part of the new strategy although not having a hand in it. The Kashmiri civil society is so complex: there is double speaking and even triple speaking and this makes it difficult to know exactly the situation. Kashmiris are very volatile. Corruption is allpervasive, all over the State. This is not being checked enough. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 T he situation is what it is: same Valley, same people, same struggle for freedom, same army, same killings, same bloodshed with this marked difference that it is the blood of our youth, of our future. That is the difference between the previous killings and now. Young boys fall to the bullets of the security forces. Omar Abdullah has huge problems to face. I think in a situation like the one obtaining in Kashmir, if you chose an angel to run the country, even he will also have to face the music. It is a huge, complex problem. Statements on behalf of the Indian leadership are not encouraging by any standards. They say troops open fire in selfdefence. Full-armed soldiers in fullprotected dress just can't open fire on a young boy. The Indian Prime Minister said there should be zero tolerance regarding human right violations. Now he is justifying killing of children in Kashmir. Why this difference? The situation is so embarrassing that even the pro Indian leaders like Omar Abdullah and Mufti Sayeed also endorse the position APHC-M has taken in regard to the solution for the Kashmir issue. Omar Abdullah stated the Kashmir issue is a problem that should be resolved through dialogue between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris in the interest of the whole South Asian region. What Indian leaders say is insulting for us Kashmiris. Kashmir as a problem needs a solution. The fact of the matter is that you can never think in terms of bringing peace or improving relations between India and Pakistan until the problem is amicably resolved. Afghanistan and Kashmir seem to me to be interlinked. India and Pakistan are Epilogue, October 2010 17 kashmir Perspectives operating against each other on the soil of Afghanistan. This will cause headache to US strategists in that country. Peace in Afghanistan therefore is unmistakably linked to peace in Kashmir. We will have to resolve disputes: this is why the USA is encouraging India and Pakistan to talk and to resolve disputes as well as preparing to engage Taliban to talk with the Government of Afghanistan. If talks between India and Pakistan proceed on a positive note and in the process solutions are worked out, including Kashmir, I suspect vested interests will feel frustrated and create a situation like the one in Kashmir today. Extremist elements are out to undo the efforts that the sensible people put in towards finding as solution to the problem. The Government should come down heavily on them. Communalism is absolute no problem as far as Kashmir is concerned. The Indians themselves during the rule of Governor Jagmohan introduced this element of communalism in Kashmir. During his first tenure in 1986, he communalised the atmosphere by stirring up communal frenzy and emotions. During his second tenure in 1990, he communalised, criminalised and commercialised the whole system. PDP is not instigating the present wave of violence. In fact, they are angrily disturbed at the turn of events. They don't want Kashmir going to dogs but understand the Kashmir issue has to be addressed. It is the people of Kashmir that is doing this, it is not PDP. They are up against injustice, killings and Indian hegemony. APHC-M had no secret contacts with the State Government or with the Centre. No purposeful contacts have developed between them. APHC-M hopes that a serious dialogue will happen soon: hope maintains people alive and things going on. www.epilogue.in NASIR HUSSAIN MUNSHI Councillor LAHDC-K The behaviour of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is irresponsible: t He is too young and inexperienced; t He doesn't have a consistent policy; t He is giving premature comments on dramatics events that happen. He makes irresponsible statements. As a result he is backtracking, he has to change his stand, he has to apologise; t It seems he has no good advisors and if he should have them he doesn't listen to them or they give wrong advices. The senior NC politicians don't seem to have any positive input. Also the political advisor to the Chief Minister doesn't come into the picture; t While Kashmir was burning, he was enjoying life in Leh. When he returned from Leh he was only a few hours in Srinagar and went then to Gulmarg to enjoy life there, and He is young, intelligent, wants development, has a vision but he doesn't understand the Kashmiri psyche and that is the most important. He has no contact with the people. How can we expect something from him? We also wonder where the other politicians â€“ Ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly â€“ are. They should be in their constituencies, they should listen to the people, they should bring the healing touch. Now they are just blaming each other and adding to the confusion. They are filling their pockets, making easy money. Nobody is sincere. All parties are playing dirty politics and just looking after their own interests. The mainstream politicians are behaving irresponsible thus alienating even more the common man: he can't go anywhere with his sorrows and problems. Also the bureaucrats and the administration have to be blamed. There is corruption at all levels. There is lack of leadership in Kashmir in the mainstream group and among the separatist leaders. Charismatic, experienced leaders like Mufti Sayeed, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad are in Delhi. Meanwhile, they are leaving the political floor to the separatist leaders who are filling up this vacuum. Syed Ali Shah Geelani seems to be the strongest leader. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tries hard to strengthen his position. The Government totally failed. I don't see any positive result. Nothing remarkable has happened. After being 18 months in power, his predecessors Mufti Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad had showed already remarkable and commendable results. They had done very well at the ground level, they where in contact with the people. Omar Abdullah is only inaugurating the projects started by the previous Government. For a solution, there should be a common platform. Everybody (the biggest question however is: who is everybody?) should be involved and only then can emerge a solution acceptable to all. Let us start by implementing the recommendations that came out of the Round Table Conferences and that where projected by the five Working Groups. Until date, not a single one has been implemented. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 18 kashmir Perspectives AAK KACHO Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC-Kargil F or us here in Kargil, we don't see any negative points in this coalition Government, only positive points. We are very happy with the coalition Government and with the ruling of Omar Abdullah. They are very positive with regard to Ladakh in general and with regard to Kargil in particular. There is harmony, the relations are going well and we are tackling our own problems with the support of the State Government and the Centre. We are not creating tensions and what happens in the Valley is not our first priority. The separatist leaders in general and APHC in particular don't have any power base or support in Kargil although they pretend to be the sole representative of all Kashmiris: we have nothing to do with them. There are no communal tensions at all here in Kargil. There are no Buddhists in the city, as a result, there is no need to have a Buddhist temple here: this was already ruled by the court many years back. We have some three Sikh families here, they have their gurdwara and we don't have any problem with that. There should be some negotiations so that the dispute between the 'movement' and the authorities is settled permanently. It can be between the Centre and the separatist leaders, or between the State Government and APHC, or between India and Pakistan, or a combination of these possibilities as long as it leads towards a lasting, peaceful solution. Due to the situation in the Valley, we do also suffer: there are problems with the supply of essential goods, the number of tourists went down drastically. We don't want to be punished for what happens in the Valley. We are Kargili: we want peace, development and progress for our district (total district population 120.000, Kargil city population 15.000). Some of the demands are: extension of the airfield from 3.000 feet to 6.000 feet so that larger civil airplanes can reach here. Another demand is a tunnel under the Zojila so that there is road connectivity whit the Valley and the rest of India throughout the year. We also ask the opening of the Kargil-Skardu road across the LoC. The two other regions of J&K State have road connectivity across the LoC, so there should be no problems to open this road. We don't see where the problems could be. The Hill Council is operating in a positive manner. There is no animosity between the majority and the opposition. Every member of the Council is working for the betterment of the people. Kargil is also included in projects and schemes of the Economic Reconstructing Agency (ERA). They supply funds for building a new township as we have space and expansion problems. A lot of developmental and infrastructure schemes are in progress. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 19 kashmir Perspectives TSEWANG RIGZIN Associate Editor Epilogue I am not convinced that there are positive results for this State Government. Initially there were many expectations. Everyone thought this young Chief Minister could be able to bring about a change, to stop corruption. Alas, he didn't make it. In 2009, he faced the Shopian tragedy leading to demonstrations, harthals, strikes, curfew. This year, there is Geelani's ultimatum to reduce the yatra from two months to two weeks. Again, there are demonstrations, harthals, strikes, curfew. People got killed in confrontations with the security forces leading to more agitation, more victims. This is a vicious circle. The separatist leaders are terrorising the Kashmiris, they are creating chaos. This is an irresponsible behaviour. We, here in Ladakh, don't know what happens in the Valley. It doesn't affect us: it is far away and we have nothing in common, they are totally different. The only negative effect on us is that we have less choice in vegetables. However, this could be turned into a positive effect: now, our farmers cultivate more different types of vegetables. To a certain extent, also tourism is affected although on a very small scale. The Manali road (the link between Leh and Manali situated in Himachal Pradesh) is being improved. Once this is done, we don't need Kashmir anymore, then we have a direct link with mainland India. Kashmir always discriminated and neglected Ladakh. They damaged our culture, our distinct identity. Thanks to the installation of the LAHDC-L, we can decide to a certain extent our future. Here, in Leh district, we Buddhists are an overwhelming majority but on the total population of J&K State, we are just a small minority of less than two hundred thousand. The State Government must give due rights, also to minorities, in the same way as we do here in Leh district with the Muslims being a small minority in this district: we treat them properly, they get their due share, there is no animosity among the two communities. Everyone refers to negotiations between the Centre and the State Government and the separatists. But we, Ladakhis, must also be involved in any negotiations. Why should they talk only with those who use violence and create chaos? Being a very small minority in J&K State, we Ladakhis will only be safe if we are granted Union Territory status within India. When it comes to politics, it is difficult to come on one platform. We have seen this again on 12 July 2010 when PDP boycotted the call from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, for an all parties meeting. At crucial times, politicians should join hands. PDP boycotted this meeting because they only want to topple this Government, they don't care about the people. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 20 kashmir Perspectives THUPSTAN CHHEWANG, Senior Leader LUTF, Former MP F or the time being, I will not participate in any elections but of course, I continue to support LUTF and the LUTF councillors of the LAHDC-L. The council is very upright, honest, not biased, not corrupt, not favouring individuals, not using its power for personal favour. All are very upright and their integrity is above any doubt. There is not much talking but more action. Things have changed a lot here in Ladakh. More money is coming in with the tourists and people are getting more selfish: money and greed. This affects also their political expectations: this could have an impact on the outcome of the next LAHDC-L elections in October this year. We got a lot of hope from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah but Congress dominates the coalition. We are hopelessly. He doesn't come to the expectation. He is not able to do what he should do. I don't see positive points. A lot of money has been wasted, got down the drain. The authorities should be more selective on projects and not just spending money. Here in Ladakh we don't receive our due share. Distribution of funds should not only be based on population: also surface, distance and accessibility must be taken into account. After 1 Â˝ year in power, some concrete steps should have been taken but this is not the case. The State Government should speak clear language. Omar Abdullah has to tackle the situation in the Valley: it is not our business, not our problem. The mainstream, coalition politicians should speak one language and shun from demagogic manipulations. We Ladakhis can't exist with this kind of society, that is not our way of living: alienation is total. Therefore, our only way out is Union Territory status. Kashmir is total communal, we have every reason to feel insecure under this Kashmir domination. Apart from some smaller incidents, there is no communal tension, although the undercurrent is there. We don't want to disturb peace and harmony, we have to remain together. In Kargil district some 20% of the population is Buddhist, in Leh district we have some 18% Muslims. All over Ladakh region, Buddhists slightly outnumber Muslims. Some kind of process is on regarding the Kashmir issue, but the hardliners never will participate in a dialogue: they created the present situation in Kashmir, they want chaos, they must keep the pot boiling whatever happens. They receive their orders from across the border. How can there be a meaningful dialogue if they have a hidden agenda, how can a solution be found if there is no clear initiative, no clear aim, no clear demand coming from the separatist leaders? Even among the mainstream politicians, there is no unity. So many demands are floated: staying with India, going to Pakistan, joint management, self-rule, autonomy, independence, partition, status quo, soft borders, etc. The Round Table Conferences and the Working Groups flopped: nothing came out of these initiatives. It is also wrong to focus only on dialogue with the separatist leaders. This is a wrong signal. The democratically elected politicians have the mandate of the people. The separatist leaders must participate in the democratic process, only then we will come to know their real support. In addition, too much attention is given to Kashmir as if only they have demands. Also, Jammu and Ladakh have their expectations but they are completely neglected. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 21 kashmir Perspectives LOBZANG RINCHEN President Ladakh Buddhist Association L adakhis are not happy at all with the present situation. We want separation from Kashmir, we want Union Territory status. We will struggle until we reach our goal. J&K State Government has nothing to give us. Whatever we get is coming from the Centre and we will continue receiving this support from the Centre, whether we oppose or support Kashmir. We have nothing to do with Kashmir. What Kashmir wants is their problem: we don't interfere in that. If they are heading for self-destruction, that is only their choice. They are floating so many demands: staying with India, joining Pakistan, pre-1953 situation, independence, autonomy, self-rule, etc. They should first sort out what they really want, then this should be given to them. We, here in Ladakh want Union Territory status for the whole of Ladakh: all political parties in Leh support this demand. There should be no problem to give us what we ask. We don't know what Kargil exactly wants: sometimes they are with us, sometimes they are airing other ideas. They did the same regarding the installation of the Hill Council: initially they were against, now they are so happy with their LAHDCK. Regarding the claim for Union Territory status it will be the same, they need time to realise what is good for them. Our Ladakh Buddhist Association is a non-political organisation. We are only there to defend the interests and the rights of the Buddhists. We support the demand for Union Territory status as this serves the interests of the Buddhists, not because this is a political issue. On the other hand, we don't interfere in the upcoming elections for the LAHDC-L: we are not bothered whom wins, let the best win. There is no discrimination between Muslims and Buddhists in Ladakh. There is no distinction between the two communities. In Leh district, Muslims are free to build houses, they are getting jobs, they are running business. Unfortunately, Buddhists being a minority in Kargil district don't get the same fair treatment from the Muslim majority population there: they don't have a cremation ground, they are not allowed to run a shop, they are not allowed to have a place of worship, they are not allowed to repair their temple as the Muslims and the united political parties oppose this. If we wanted, we could do the same here in Leh district towards the minority Muslim community but we don't: we are peace-loving people. We want communal harmony, not communal confrontation. Since 1947, Muslims rule J&K State, all of them have full support. They are a part of the majority population in J&K State whereas we Buddhists are just a small minority. We don't get our due share, the Valley dominates us. Minority groups don't get their due share. There surely is discrimination but because Buddhists are peace-loving people, others take advantage of our tolerance. However, there is a limit, we don't want to be exploited because of that. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 22 kashmir Perspectives RIGZIN SPALBAR Former Chairman and CEO LAHDC P resently, the State Government has the full support of the Centre. It is a challenging job due to the prevailing situation. All coalition partners give full support to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Things improve now. The State Government requested for internal and international dialogue and negotiations. Talks for a resolution and for implementation of more CBM must continue. There must be a solution for the internal set-up of the State and also India and Pakistan must work out a solution. Everything was on the right track. Everything was flourishing and the Centre announced many developmental packages. Suddenly, there was this mischievous intervention from across the border resulting in the present situation in the Kashmir Valley washing away all the gains. The positive evolution got derailed and it will take time to put things on track again. As a result, the common people suffer. The situation in Kashmir doesn't concern Ladakh much: it affects us slightly as far as governance is concerned. We wish the situation goes back to normal the soonest. We are not in direct contact with the Kashmir (more than four hundred km away) and it is difficult to know what happens. We don't have inside information. Only through the media, we come to know, to a certain extent, about the ground situation. PDP is a political party being at loggerhead with NC. One can't expect them to cooperate, as they are an opposition party. Nevertheless, even as opposition party one has responsibilities. They should look at the larger interest of the State and the people. This they are not doing: they are only after their own political, vested interests. On the other hand, NC is not treating PDP as the main opposition party, they don't give them due consideration, they are blaming PDP for all ills. They are all into politics for their own vested interests. Our demand for Union Territory status is based and justified on historical facts: www.epilogue.in q Ladakh was once an independent Himalayan Kingdom. The reign of the Namgyal dynasty lasted until 1842 when the Dogra Maharaja from Jammu annexed Ladakh forcibly into his Dogra Empire. q Kashmir became a part of the Dogra Empire in 1846 when the British colonial power sold the Kashmir together with its population to the Dogra Maharaja of Jammu. q After hundred years of Dogra rule, Ladakh along with Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India in October 1947 when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the 'Instrument of Accession' with India. q From the very outset, Ladakh's political merger with J&K, against the wishes of the Ladakhis, did not form any natural cohesion. Except for the Dogra's suzerainty as a commonality, Ladakh is fundamentally different from Kashmir and Jammu in all respects: culturally, ethnically, linguistically. q After Sheikh Abdullah, the most popular politician in Kashmir, succeeded in dethroning Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the Dogra Empire, and shifting the power base of the State from Jammu to Kashmir, the only commonality we had didn't exist anymore. q Leaders of Kashmir can never be leaders of the Ladakhis and our assimilation with the people of the Kashmir is next to impossible. q Any attempt at handling the Kashmir issue by ignoring the aspirations of the Ladakhis will be counterproductive. q The solution lies in tackling the problem separately for the three regions. The Government of India should not feel shy of finding out separate solutions for the three distinct regions of the State. We, therefore, strongly demand separation from J&K State and granting of the status of Union Territory with Legislature to Ladakh to protect and preserve its distinct linguistic, cultural, ethnic identity. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 23 kashmir Perspectives PHUNSTOG NAMGYAL Congress Leader, Former Union Minister I slamist fundamentalists are communal. It is them against us Buddhists and Hindus, us the kafirs, us the infidels. There are also sectarian fights between Shia and Sunni. The situation in Kashmir is quite fluid. Fundamentalism is too much on the rise. They create the problems and they receive assistance from across the border, from extremist, fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan. Their aim is to create chaos in the cities and in the urban areas. The Government of India is not coming forward with initiatives for negotiations with the separatist leaders because they are too much divided: to whom should they speak? What should they discuss? The separatist leaders are not at all interested in talks with the Centre: now they are dictating what happens in Kashmir. They exploit the sentiments of the people in the name of Islam and this is not only in Kashmir, it is all over the world. The full picture has not come out so far and this makes it a very complex situation: q Mirwaiz wants the right of self-determination; q NC wants autonomy with pre-53 situation; q Congress Party wants full integration within India; q PDP wants self rule for a re-united J&K; q Others are in favour of joint management, q Some separatist leaders want total independence, and q Some other separatist leaders want integration within Pakistan. For us, here in Ladakh the situation is clear. We don't accept one of these proposals: we want completely march with mainstream India by obtaining Union Territory status with legislature. On this, there is a complete unity among the political parties, be it LUTF or Congress Party. If we remain with J&K under a new worked out setup, we will be oppressed by Kashmir just like it is since decades. We don't understand why the Centre gave the full six years of tenure of Chief Minister to Omar Abdullah and not half/half NC/Congress Party. This is a serious mistake of the high command of the Congress Party in Delhi. In addition, Ladakh doesn't have representation in the State Coordination Committee. This is unfair: as a result we have no say in the policy making. So far, Omar Abdullah couldn't make much impact on any front: not in the developmental field and corruption is rampant. In addition, he couldn't handle the present situation and the army had to be called in again. He didn't succeed in his governance. PDP is basically supported by the separatist leaders as we have seen during the Legislative Assembly elections in 2008. There are no common points between PDP and the coalition Government. NC is their main rival. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 24 kashmir Perspectives MOHAMMAD SHAFI LASSU Anjumian Moin-ul-Islam, LEH T he situation in Kashmir is very fluid. It is going a very serious way: on the one hand they are using a kind of Gandhi formula, a kind of civil disobedience and 'Quit Kashmir' movement, and on the other hand they came down from using the bullet and started stone pelting (using catapults and slingshots), damaging and burning vehicles (civilian and security forces), forcing shops and service stations to close down, cutting hair of drivers defying the call for harthals, etc., like 'intifada' in Palestine, provoking the security forces and forcing them to intervene. Pakistan, and especially ISI, are the advisors, the master mind behind this. Right now it is very dangerous. The situation can't be controlled with the gun. The present State Government is weak. They don't want to take the bad name although in the long run they will be blamed for what happens. If there are no killings anymore, the situation will improve. If not, they will lose all credibility. There should be a tactical move from the side of the security forces to control these so called peaceful demonstrations. The present agitation is out of control of hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who started all this. Now, mobs have taken over the streets. The State Government must implement rule of law. Kashmiris are fed up with all this, they are terrorised by these mobs. Normal life came to a standstill. TSERING DORJE, LUTF Chairman and CEO LAHDC I ndia can't handle Kashmir or Pakistan. The Home Minister made a mess of it. India should have cornered Pakistan on terrorism. In stead, Pakistan cornered India on human rights violations in Kashmir. For India, it is more difficult to handle the situation in Kashmir. Although, the demonstrations are not peaceful at all â€“ they are pelting stones, using catapults, burning cars â€“ the security forces must show restraint. This is a very dangerous situation. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is very nice and doing his best but he is in a coalition and Congress runs the www.epilogue.in show. They push him in front, he is full of good intensions but it is a very complex situation and he is not experienced enough. His father Farooq Abdullah is very clever, he doesn't want a change or to take over: now people criticise Omar Abdullah, not himself. Omar Abdullah did nothing drastic, nothing new in the economic or developmental field. The Kashmiris are so used to get everything. There is no limit in the packages coming from the Centre. There is an enormous waste of money, they are so corrupt. His predecessor Ghulam Nabi Azad took some measures with limited success, but now Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 25 kashmir Perspectives The State Government as a whole is ineffective. NC politicians are used to rule in an authoritarian way. Now, they have to share power with Congress and work out compromises. Senior NC MLA's are also frustrated because they didn't get a ministerial post. NC is not that sincere with its coalition partner: in Ladakh they support and pamper LUTF, not Congress. Also in Jammu, they are weakening Congress. In Ladakh, there are no communal tensions, except some small incidents not worth mentioning. Some extremists tried to stir up emotions but common sense succeeded in defusing tensions. Buddhists don't eat meat three days a week. The Ladakh Buddhist Association wanted to impose this rule on the restaurants. This is an unreasonable demand as we have so many tourists in Ladakh. We opposed this demand with success. India is a secular country: those who don't want to eat meat are free to do so. The same goes for those who want to enjoy it. All this is a question of tolerance and mutual respect. J&K State will remain the same, whether there are talks or not, as long as the separatist leaders and the militants have the support from the Pakistani leadership. The whole Pakistani machinery, the army and ISI support the militant outfits and the 'movement' of the separatist leaders. They finance them, they give them logistic support. This is an open secret. Unless Pakistan is honest, there can't be a solution. Pakistan also has internal compulsions: all mainstream political parties in Pakistan support the Kashmir 'movement' openly. It is in their manifesto. They don't want the movement to die. We have nothing to do with the Kashmir issue. Kashmir creates problems, they are not happy, they don't know what they want. They should sort out their own problems and future. We don't follow them in their selfdestruction policy. We, here in Ladakh, know exactly what we want. There is only one aim supported by all parties: we want Union Territory status for the whole of Ladakh. We must take along Kargil district in order to strengthen this demand. We must put more effort in discussing with the Kargili people, we must build trust between the two districts. We are sure they will realise that their future lies with Union Territory status for the whole of Ladakh. corruption is at every level, the sky seems to be the limit. There is communalism all over J&K State and even all over India. There are a lot of conflicts on regional basis. Jammu and Ladakh are not at all happy with the rule of Kashmir. Ladakhis held a darna (=sit-in) in front of raj bhavan (= Governor's residence) against the Kashmiri domination and in favour of Union Territory status. In a few months there will be Hill Council elections in Leh district: the struggle is between Congress, now in opposition, and we LUTF. Our performance was very good. We must now go to the people and explain them what we did. We spent all the financial support we received from the Centre for developmental packages in a proper way and people feel the change. The Hill Council has a huge responsibility. All departments, except police and power supply, are under the Council: agriculture, fishery, forests, horticulture, husbandry, irrigation, social care, health care, education, youth and sports, drinking water, rural sanitation, industries and employment, economic infrastructure, tourism, transport and communication, link roads, information technology, non conventional energy, urban development, etc. All this and much more has to be looked after by the Hill Council. For the future, at one time there must be a solution. The maximum India can give is autonomy but the demands of the separatist leaders are much different. They are so divided among themselves. They must first come together and work out a plan, come forward with clear demands. Only then we can start discussing. If they want to keep J&K State intact, their plan must also include the protection and the position of the minorities in the State. India is in a defensive position, only talking, whereas Pakistan is doing something on the ground: they support the separatist leaders, they train militants, they send arms, ammunition, communication equipment, money, etc. I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel: it will be a very long process. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 PREVENT WATER BORNE DISEASES LIKE :- t Gastroenteritis t Diarrhoea t Typhoid t Dysentery By adopting following simple measures :1. Use boiled cooled water for drinking purposes. 2. Chlorine tablets for domestic use are freely available in all Health Institutions. 3. Store water in clean utensils and keep them covered. 4. Donâ€™t eat stale, uncovered eatable items exposed to dust and flies. 5. Wash vegetables and fruit thoroughly with clean water before use. 6. Keep the food items covered so that flies do not contaminate the food. 7. Always wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before eating food. 8. Avoid defecation near the source of water supply. 9. In case of loss of body fluids, use oral rehydration solution (ORS). Dissolve one packet of ORS in one litre of boiled cooled water and use it within 24 hours and prepare fresh one for next use. 10. Patients suffering from any of the above mentioned diseases should report to the nearest Health Institution for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Adopt A Healt hy Life St yle No. : DIP/J-5838 t Jaundice HEALTH EDUCATION BUREAU DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH SERVICES, JAMMU OFFICE OF THE CONTROLLER, DRUG AND FOOD CONTROL ORGANISATION, J&K JAMMU SUBJECT : Strict implementation of provision of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules in respect of manufacture and sale of Oxytoxin, which id reported to be used clandestinely by daily owner and farmers growing vegetables - reg. Reports have appeared in the press as well as electronic media regarding the misuse of Oxytoxin Injections by the farmers to increase the size of vegetables. Similar reports were earlier received in respect of the clandestine use of Oxytoxin by the dairy owners to extract milk from cows and buffaloes. The Oxytoxin Injection is required to be packed in single unit blister pack only for sale and is required to be dispensed on the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner only. It is therefore impressed upon all the dealers/manufacturers to strictly follow the Provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rule 1945. The Department shall initiate stern Administrative Action against offenders indulging in misuse of Oxytoxin injection like cancellation of Licenses granted for carrying out sale/manufacturing. Besides legal action as warranted under Rules shall follow Administrative Action. The general public through the mode of this notification is appealed to share information related to misuse of Oxytoxin Injection by Dairy owners and farmers to grow vegetables with the Department on following helpline number : 01912538527, 01912538626, 01912597445, 01942471191, 9419180734. The complainants can also mail their complaints on following email address : email@example.com Please Help Us to Serve You Better No. : DIP/J-5640 27 in focus Cross LoC Trade CROSS-LOC TRADE: Dark Clouds and a Silver Lining D SUBA CHANDRAN & ZAFAR CHOUDHARY The Editors and the Management of Epilogue Magazine place on record a deep sense of gratitude to the Conciliation Resources, a London based international conflict transformation organization, for supporting this special issue on Cross-LoC trade in many ways. Many comments, ideas and feedback were obtained by the editors through interactions with stakeholders in meetings supported by the Conciliation Resources in one or the other manner. www.epilogue.in F orgotten by New Delhi and Islamabad after billing it as mother of all Confidence Building Measures, the Cross-LoC trade between two parts of divided Jammu and Kashmir is sustained by the stakeholders despite all odds. India and Pakistan are again back to back and prolonged turmoil in Kashmir is leaving very little for incremental measures to help ease tension but beneath surcharged political surface there is an eagerness and will among the divided families on both sides of divide to revive and maintain contacts. Full of hurdles and losses, Cross-LoC trade is proving as just one way of crossing the political divide by strength of emotions. Two years have passed since the cross-LoC trade began in October 2008. While New Delhi and Islamabad consider this as a great cross-LoC confidence building measure, business community in Kashmir valley and across the LoC are not too happy with what has happened so far. While the governments provide statistics to prove the quantum of trade taking place across the LoC, the business community emphasis on quality and practical problems. On the other hand, NGOs and individuals have been pushing for opening new routes, besides the existing two routes and call for expansion of the list of items being traded. With no logistics and mechanism of formal trade in place, the observers had long written this exercise off but after two years of experiment there are hopes of a push to this nonconventional trade. It is a barter trade and the traders are not dreaming of any miraculous approach of New Delhi and Islamabad to make it formal enough for profits. Realising that Governments on both sides are not too serious in making the Cross-LoC trade a profitable proposition for stakeholders, the traders have narrowed down their expectations and demands to just one area â€“remission of payments often blocked on both sides. There is some positive development on this issue after strenuous efforts of the business chambers. After some back channel discussions with authorities in New Delhi and Islamabad, there is a paper in circulation between Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Jammu, Srinagar and Muzaffarabad for feedback of traders on a banking proposal. After feedback from traders, the proposal would go to the Reserve Bank of India and State Bank of Pakistan for their approval. The Srinagar Chamber and Muzaffarabad Chamber are in consultation on the proposal while views from Jammu Chamber are still awaited, Epilogue has learnt. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 28 in focus Cross LoC Trade The story so far W hat are the major problems of the existing crossLoC trade? Should there be additional routes, for political purposes, or should the existing routes be strengthened and made to deliver, before expanding further? Should any new efforts to strengthen the cross-LoC trade be prioritized, in terms of what needs to be done immediately, and what needs to be done, once there is confidence? To begin with, one should understand, that the primary problem of cross-LoC trade was it inception itself, without proper home work by both sides and also traders across the LoC. As a result, neither there was a proper understanding of what is needed on the other side, nor whether there is a surplus on this side. It was a political decision by the governments of India and Pakistan, to continue with the cross-LoC interactions. Whatever may be the reasons for not doing the homework, or announcing it in a hurry, Manmohan Singh should be congratulated for taking that bold step. But unfortunately, he also seems to suffer from the same syndrome, that of his illustrious predecessor, Vajpayee– one step forward and two steps backward. When the cross-LoC trade was announced, the local traders in J&K, were jubilant, and took part enthusiastically, despite the non availability of banking system, lack of communication network, and the decision to conduct a barter trade. As the trade enter into its third year, there are five specific sets of problems and a silver lining. Trade “to” Other Kashmir or Trade “Through” Other Kashmir?: The Problem of Perceptions M ore than the infrastructural problems, the biggest problem today, is the frustration, between the traders and the governments, on the objectives of the trade. While the government designed this as a “trade to other Kashmir”, the traders expected it will be a “trade through other Kashmir”. Without understanding the likely fallouts of this difference, due to political pressure, the governments of India and Pakistan agreed to start the trade without reaching an understanding on who will trade and to where. While the Kashmiri traders wanted to see this as a transit trade, ensuring their goods reaching to the Gulf and European countries through Rawalpindi and Karachi, they did not want to do this as an international trade, but a cross-LoC. Hence the problem of currency came into being in the cross-LoC trade. Even today, the government and the traders are unable to reach an understanding on what currency should the trade be organised. As a result, it stands a barter trade. South Indian Coconuts and Chinese Garlic in Cross-LoC Trade: The Problem of Proxies T he government, to be fair, failed to foresee, the exploitation of cross-LoC trade by non-Kashmiri traders, and the use of non-Kashmiri goods. Today, despite understanding the problem, Divided families vs businessmen The Cross-LoC trade was essentially a Confidence Building Measure to lessen tension in Kashmir and enhance contacts of Kashmiris on both sides of Line of Control. Trade statistics of two years suggest that it is the Poonch-Rawalakote route in Jammu province which is seeing huge trade activity and not the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route. Regular weekly trade volume running into Crores of rupees on Poonch sector as compared to trade in few thousands to few lakhs of rupees on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad sector may be showing a failure of CBM in Kashmir Valley but it is not like that. In fact, whatever little it may be, the SrinagarMuzaffarabad sector is involving more original stakeholders who are keenly investing in revival of relations and not business. With leading Srinagar businessmen having almost completely pulled out of Cross-LoC trade in view of logistical hurdles and recurring losses, the trade on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route is sustained mostly by members of the divided families from north Kashmir districts of Baramulla and Kupwara. They are doing trade mostly with their known relatives on other side of the divide. In case of Poonch-Rawalakote also members of divided families are involved but the major quantum of trade is due to involvement of a dozen of proxy traders working on behalf of businessmen in other parts of country like Punjab and Gujarat. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 29 in focus Cross LoC Trade the government of India is groping for options on how to prevent non-Kashmiri traders. The primary problem for the government is â€“ on the one hand it does not want to stop the trade, on the other hand it is unable to implement in the right spirit. Since, it was originally planned to be a cross-LoC trade, it was decided that there would be zero duty, on the items that were traded through the two points near Poonch and Uri. Here lies the primary problem and reason for primary frustration amongst the local trading community. Since this is a zero duty trade, those non-Kashmiri traders, primarily from Punjab (on both sides of the IndoPak international border) and even from Gujarat and Sindh, jumped into this trade and started exploiting the 'no duty' provision. All they had to do, is to find 'proxy traders' in J&K, who act as agents, taking a percentage of the trade. While the Kashmiri traders from J&K could not call their counter parts on the other side (due to non-availability of telephone connections, due to security reasons), traders in Punjab and Sindh have no such problems. Traders from Indian Punjab and Gujarat could call traders on the Pakistani side and vice versa. As a result, there was a better communication in terms of what is needed, what could be sent, the nature of surplus and the cost of items on both sides. Also, with all respect to the traders of J&K across the LoC, the traders in mainland India and Pakistan are better organised, thanks to the bilateral trade for a long period. They have established not only contacts, but also trust between each other; hence this makes them easy to undertake the cross-LoC trade, despite being on barter system. Suddenly, there is a dip in the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan through the Wagah border, because the www.epilogue.in INTERVIEW YV SHARMA President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Jammu What is your assessment of Cross-LoC trade? There is a lot to say on whether it is a trade or just goodwill gesture. However, I would like to make only point â€“in whatever manner trade is going on, some people are engaged in the process and they want to carry it on. I am yet to come across anyone who is against Cross-LoC trade. People want the system streamlined and it is time the government looked into it. Do you think the Cross-LoC trade served its intended purpose? It is difficult to comment on this aspect. If you talk in terms of business, I don't think it is a fair process, there are a lot of unfair means being resorted to. If you talk in terms of Confidence Building Measure, I think the spirit needs to be revived. How is the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries involved in the process? Chambers have been offered very little to do and our Chamber is doing pretty little. We appreciate the importance Cross-LoC trade and take the matter of its streamlining at all appropriate levels but there is no direct involvement. We are quick to react when a trader or a group of traders bring any issue to our notice, we take up matter with government and write to other authorities but Chambers are not much in picture beyond that. How do you look ahead? First of all efforts are required to be made to remove the trust deficit which is currently prevailing. On one hand there is no official mandate available with the Chambers and on the other hand there is hardly any interaction between three Chambers. We have started some talks on payment remission mechanism but again these discussions become victim of lack of contact. There is no clarity from any side, much less from the governments. But yes, people want to carry on with trade and we will continue to highlight this sentiment. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 30 in focus Cross LoC Trade mainland traders would prefer to send their goods to Kashmir. On the other hand, the Kashmiri traders find it difficult to trade, despite its zero duty, because it is barter trade. Thanks to the long hiatus in trade, and their traditional trade net work linked with the rest of India and Pakistan, Kashmiri traders do not have a successful network across the LoC. As a result, there is less trust, especially when the trade takes place on barter system, and with no telephone connections. The story of Moong Dal and Coconut will tell an interesting yet pathetic story of the cross-LoC trade. Moong Dal, which is cheap on the other side, (Rs 20 a kilo in Muzaffarabad, when compared to Rs 80-100 in Jammu or Srinagar) is traded in bulk in the cross-LoC trade from Pakistani side to the Indian side. Unfortunately, this Moong Dal, instead of hitting the local markets of J&K, thereby reducing the price of it, is being silently shipped away to the rest of India. Coconut, though not in the list and is not produced anywhere in J&K has been the most favourite item, crossing Poonch into Rawalakot in substantial number. Same is the case with the garlic, which the Pakistani side gets from China and sends it to the Indian side. This proxy trade, has also created a new set of 'traders' or 'agents' who are few in numbers, but suddenly rich and have the potential to send huge consignments to the other side, worth crores. Since, the proxy traders do not invest, he has no problem in being an agent in sending goods in crores. The primary traders on both sides of Punjab take care in terms - what items to be sent and in what quantity. This rich proxy traders, are trying to undermine the local trading network; since the governments do not want to stop the trade, for political reasons and the fear of a failure, they yield to the threat of the proxy traders and silently watch the hijacking of cross-LoC trade and the suffering of the local traders and people. I send Apples, You may like to send Onions, or Ajwain: The Problem of a Barter Trade A s of today, cross-LoC trade today in the 21st century is taking place almost like the barter trade of the 16th century. A trader from Sopore, for the apples he sent may get a few trucks of onions or garlic, irrespective whether he wants or not. Second, there are no adequate telephone facilities between both sides of Kashmir; while traders (and others) could call from the PoK to the Indian side, citing security reasons, the Indian government has blocked people from J&K calling the other side. This is where banking facilities, telephone connections and the removal of barter trade will help make the cross-LoC trade between the two parts of Kashmir and not two parts of Punjab. Also, this is where the strengthening of the local trade bodies in respective regions and the Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Being an economist, Manmohan Singh should not need any one to tell him, how to organise trade. Perhaps, he is not being told about the practical problems; or does not have the political will. Both will be a political disaster to an important cross-LoC economic initiative. Both are valid criticisms and there is already a positive movement, (though painfully slow) on both these issues. There have been negotiations on addressing the banking facilities; it has been decided Can Chambers regulate it better? Following a meeting between Indo-Pak Joint Working Group on Trade, there was an in principle understanding that modalities of Cross-LoC trade shall be settled by the Business chambers of Jammu and Kashmir after their visits and meetings on both sides. A visit of traders from AJK Chamber of Commerce of Industries to Srinagar and then Jammu was facilitated by both governments in October 2008 but a similar visit of Jammu and Kashmir traders to PaK is still pending despite several requests to State and Central Governments. In November 2008 Chambers in Srinagar and Jammu were asked by the State Government to send list of 40 members for clearance of their travel to Muzaffarabad. The travel proposal is still pending. Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Jammu and in Srinagar are of the opinion that regulation should be left to them for making trade practical. One of the ideas is that the individual traders register with the respective chambers in Jammu, Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and the subsequent Cross-LoC trade is between Chamber to Chamber. In this case the Chambers can become price determining authority, can facilitate of sale and purchase of goods and remission of payments. Individual traders are averse to this idea which they see as monopoly of Chambers but the Chambers argue that a scattered system is bound to collapse. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 31 in focus Cross LoC Trade to open a branch of J&K Bank in Muzaffarabad, and a branch of AJK bank in Srinagar. This will also address the problem of the currency in which the trade is to take place. For political reasons, there has been a huge objection, on the use of international curr e n c y, f o r i t would signify, an international trade and not intra-Kashmiri trade. Emphasis on the non-use of international currency is hypocritic; when those who want to trade criticise the governments not seeing the trade as an economic CBM, objecting the use of an international currency is equally political. Especially, when the traders are more interested in transit trade through the other side, all the way to mainland Pa k i s t a n , a n d then to Dubai and Europe from Karachi. www.epilogue.in INTERVIEW NAZIR A DAR President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Kashmir Two years after its launch, how do you look at the current status of Cross-LoC trade? Literally, the Cross-LoC trade is merely breathing to indicate that, yes, it is aliveâ€Śrest is nothing. It is a half hearted symbolic initiative of the Governments of India and Pakistan which is being sustained by sincerity of Kashmiris, particularly the members of the divided families. Do you think this trade served the intended purpose in any amount? Let me say first thing first. Cross-LoC trade is based on clear violations of the basic principles of trade. The mechanism with which this is being run brings the parties disappointment and frustration. This is what the trade is proving. I would say that yes it served some purpose to the extent that it brought members of the divided families together and it made people to think, after a gap of 60 years, that they can deal with their relatives on other side of the divide. There is one way of looking at the positive aspect â€“even absence of logistics and payment mechanism the trade is going on, though in small measures, that is the success. But attribute this success to the members of divided families and not the authorities. Trade volume on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route is very poor as compared to the Poonch-Rawalakote. Do you think Kashmiri traders are not much interested? This is wrong. Traders of Kashmir Valley are more interested in Cross-LoC trade than anyone else. On Poonch-Rawalakote route there is a huge proxy racket â€“traders from others parts of country send across their goods and enjoy benefits of price difference. Uri route is far away from the mainland Indian markets which is why Poonch route is preferred one. On the contrary, on Uri route we have the real stakeholders, the members of the divided families who are sustaining this process with their emotions. Had there been proper infrastructure, logistics, banking etc? Sky would have been the limit. How is Kashmir Chamber involved in pushing the trade? We are trying to make all possible efforts. We took up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June this year and he assured us of his personal interest to set things right. Nothing has happened since then. A proposal on payment remission is under discussion. What is your view on that? We are not aware of any such proposal. Kashmir Chamber is a democratically elected representative body but we have not been consulted on any such thing. What is the status of Joint Chamber? Joint Chamber has lost relevance, whatever it had. It was agreed upon to transfer the chair to Kashmir Chamber in November 2009 which has not happened even in 2010. In am in touch with President of Jammu Chamber and can't recall when was my last contact with Mr Zulfikar Abbasi, the president of the Joint Chamber. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 32 in focus Cross LoC Trade I don't know A POSSIBLE BANKING MECHANISM whom I'm trad- The Business Chambers on both sides are considering a proposal on a possible banking mechanism. This proposal appears to have come after a preliminary discussion between authorities in New Delhi and ing with: The Islamabad. The proposal is currently at circulation stage while a proper discussion is yet to take off. The Problem of Federation Chamber of Industries and Commerce Kashmir (FCIK), parallel lobby to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is reportedly coordinating discussions between Muzaffarabad Chamber, Connectivity E qually nonsensical is the reluctance of the Indian government to allow people from J&K to use telephone facilities to call the other side. Though the government today has magnanimously allowed to set up five points/lines, from which a trader could call the other side, this is simply not sufficient. Of course, something is better than nothing, but then, is this a right approach? Recently five telephone lines were established in Poonch and Uri exclusively for CrossLoC traders to make calls to other side but traders are reluctant to use those phones. â€œBusiness needs privacy and one of the conditions for using these phones lines is that one has to talk in presence of a government officialâ€?, said a trader. One could understand the dilemma within the Indian government, especially with the Prime Minister's Office (and perhaps the Ministries of External Affairs and the Commerce) wanting to move ahead, while the Home Ministry, especially its well entrenched intelligence www.epilogue.in Jammu Chamber and the nearly defunct Joint Chamber. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is apparently out of the loop at this stage. Epilogue had an access to the document which suggests two viable banking options. Highlights of the proposal are given here: Exporter in J&K Importer in PoK Escrow Account Goods Trade Facilitation Account PoK with J&K Bank Ltd. in INR Credit Goods Debit Importer in J&K Exporter in J&K Exporter in PoK Importer in PoK Goods Trade Facilitation Account in J&K with a Bank in PoK Debit Importer in J&K Goods Credit Exporter in India Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 33 in focus Cross LoC Trade OPTION - 1 CONDITIONS : 1. The escrow account is to be opened by J&K Bank Ltd in the name of 'Trade Facilitation â€“ PoK Account' In Indian Rupees only with zero balance. 2. All contracts for export from the import to J&K should provide for payment only through the escrow account. 3. Invoices in support of the trade transaction should be raised in Indian Rupees only. 4. The credit/debit transactions in the account will be subject to the following conditions : 4.1 CREDITS : a) Credits to the account will represent amount due to the exporters in PoK towards payment for the import of goods in to J&K. b) The credit transaction should be support by a commercial invoice duly certified by a State/Central Government authority about the value and origin of goods, for the transport of goods from Pok and J&K. (This is in order to ensure there is no over invoicing or under-invoicing of goods and no third country transactions are routed through the account). c) The bank should verify the documents to title to goods i.e. lorry receipts issued by transport operator approved by appropriate authority. 4.2 DEBITS a) Debit in the account will represent amount due from the importer in PoK towards payment for the export of goods from J&K. b) The debit transaction should be supported by a commercial invoice duly certified by a state/Central Government authority about the value and origin of a goods, for the transport of goods from J&K into PoK. (This is in order to ensure there is over-invoicing or under-invoicing of goods and no third country transactions are routed through the account) c) The bank should verify the documents of title to goods â€“ i.e. Lorry receipts issued by an IBA approved transport operator. 5. Interest shall be payable/receivable for the credit/debit or the balance in the escrow account as mutually agreed by the two banks. 6. J&K Bank will ensure that the KYC requirements of importers/exporters are complied with for all the transactions routed through the escrow account. Strict control over the use of balances in the account may be put in place to avoid financing of any non trade/suspicious activities in India. 7. The balance in the escrow account will not be allowed to be remitted outside India but should be adjusted towards payment of foods exported from India. 8. The overdraft, if any sanctioned by the J&K Bank Ltd., shall not exceed Rs. 500 lakhs at any time. OPTION - 2 At present trade between India and Pakistan is transacted via the ACU dollar and ACU Euro. The trade across the line of control can be transacted the same way but this will raise a variety of issues, including that of classification of this trade as foreign trade. Also, it will not meet the aspirations of the local traders. As such we have to devise a system for settlement of cross LoC trade outside the ACU mechanism which will be operated in Indian/Pakistani Rupees. MECHANISM : It is proposed to institute a system along the following lines: q J&K Bank will open a Pakistani Rupee (PKR) nostro account in a Bank in Pakistan having a presence in POK. q Any bank in POK opens an Indian Rupee (INR) nostro account in J&K Bank. q Import and Export transactions will be settled through these accounts. Regulatory Requirement : Since PKR/INR is not traded in India/Pakistan, Reserve Bank of India in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan will have to provide a window for buying /selling of PKR from/to J&K Bank to fund the rupee nostro account or absorb the surplus balance in the account. State Bank of Pakistan will have to provide reciprocal facilities to their Bank in POK. To cover the exchange risks, RBI and SBP may buy/sell the PKR/INR at a fixed rate for a period of three months of six months. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 34 in focus Cross LoC Trade agencies, blocking the forward movement. One only hopes, the matured and bold Union Home Minister over rides certain exaggerated intelligence concerns, and make the cross-LoC trade deliver for larger strategic objective. The recent statement by Jairam Ramesh, though in a different context is valid â€“ that the Home Ministry is extra cautious, at times, even to the extent of blocking new initiatives. None will be able to better understand this issue than Jairam Ramesh, for many of his economic initiatives relating to our neighbours in the east and west, during his previous tenure in commerce ministry, could not materialise, due to security concerns from the Home ministry. Blaming one ministry, however is not an excuse; after all, the final decision lies with the Prime Minsiter. Even if there has to be a certain cost and risk, it is worth taking them, as long as it serves the larger objective why we started the cross-LoC interactions in the first place. This is where Manmohan Singh has to continue, what he has started in 2005. Taking one step forward and two steps backward, has been the Union government's legacy in J&K, and this is not acceptable. More New Routes or Strengthen the Existing ones?: The Problem of Expectations B esides the banking facilities and telephone connections, another major issue has been the demand to open more trade routes across the LoC. Jammu-Sialkot, Nowshera-Mirpur and KargilSkardu axes have been suggested a new trade routes. What should be the approach? Should there be focus on opening new trade routes, or should there be a concentration on strengthening the existing arrangements, before opening new routes? Should the energies be prioritized? Jammu-Sialkot, undoubtedly is the most popular demand, given the historical and cultural linkages between these two great cities. But, given the fact, that it is an international border, there is no cross-LoC tag attached to it. This axis, certainly needs to be opened, but perhaps from a popular or an international/bilateral trade perspective, and not from a cross-LoC angle. Kargil-Skardu axis is again a popular one for divided families, more than a trade route. Unless India and Pakistan wants to open the entire stretch linking Tibet and Sinkinang, and revive the romantic Silk route for trade, opening just Kargil-Skardu road for trading purpose may not be beneficial. Instead, both countries could consider opening this route for trade-in-services, primarily for tourism, that is trade- ingoods. What happened to joint Chamber? At the non-governmental level the formation of 'Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries' was the perhaps the biggest Confidence Building Measure. Two years after its formation as the Joint Chamber is as good as dead. This was an agreement between Presidents of Jammu, Srinagar and Muzaffarabad Chambers of Commerce and Industries to have an apex body of traders with equal representation from three chambers and rotational chairmanship. Zulfikar Abbasi who headed the AJK Chamber's delegation to J&K in October 2008 was offered the inaugural chairmanship for a period of one year. Next was the term of Kashmir Chamber and then Jammu Chamber. Since then there has been a change of guard at all three Chambers, there are new men at the helm even as Abbasi continues to be the Chairman of Joint Chamber. The President of Srinagar Chamber Nazir Ahmed Dar does not remember when he last spoke to Abbasi and same is the case with President of Jammu Chamber. In fact, the Joint Chamber could never take off. Immediately after its formation, the three Chambers were required to nominate members for the Apex body which the Jammu and Muzaffarabad Chambers did but the Srinagar Chamber could not do till date due to a split within. By rotation, the Chairmanship had to be conferred to Jammu Chamber this October but it has not reached even the Srinagar Chamber. Lack of opportunity to meet is one major reason which has rendered the Joint Chamber almost defunct. A website of the Joint Chamber was registered in Jammu which expired last year. The web hosts, Ideogram Technologies told Epilogue that they were never approached by any party for renewal. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 35 in focus Cross LoC Trade Problems Galore, but there is a Silver Lining O f course, there are numerous problems. Given the tensions between India and Pakistan, and the lack of connectivity between two parts of J&K, problems are bound to be there. Especially, with a section amongst the business community trying to monopolize and hijack the cross-LoC trade, genuine businessmen are likely to be at the receiving end. There is bound to be starting problems. On the positive side, two issues need to be identified and built further. First and foremost, the enthusiasm, endurance and the patience of genuine businessmen to trade with each other and make this initiative a huge success, despite the slow progress from the governmental side and the attempt to monopolize this trade by few selfish businessmen from J&K and outside it. Second, both India and Pakistan, despite the problems at the bilateral levels and ground level misuse the above mentioned selfish businessmen, both countries have not stopped the trade. The above two issues are clearly the silver lining, which could be the basis for a new beginning in the third year. To conclude, in the third year, both India and Pakistan should consider strengthening the trade two existing routes, by resolving banking facilities and communication issues; perhaps, opening new routes for economic reasons, could be considered for the fourth year, after necessary home work. Meanwhile, new routes could be opened for the meeting of divided families, for example between Kargil and Skardu, as it happened in the previous two routes, and then followed by trade. www.epilogue.in INTERVIEW Rakesh Gupta President, J&K Pharma Association You were among the most active proponents of Cross-LoC trade. Your organization hosted the Muzaffarabad delegation in 2008. How do you look at the journey of two years? The way I look at the Cross-LoC trade seems inspiring and st th encouraging. In 21 century you are practicing the means of 16 century. There is no infrastructure, no logistics and no communication. People don't know who they are trading with. Still there is trade. This is where I find the success. Credit goes to the people directly involved in it. Has the trade bridged gaps between two divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir? Can't say that but yes this process has paved a way for cooperation. People are looked forward to enhanced contacts. For examples, my family had migrated from Mirpur (in PaK) and I am too eager to go there, meet people and find ways of dealing with them. There are many people like me on both sides who see in Cross-LoC trade a huge opportunity of reconnecting. You deal in medicines. What is the scope of medicines in CrossLoC trade? If Cross-LoC trade was though on humanitarian lines, medicines should have been the first thing to be sent across. On other side of Line of Control, medicines are too expensive as compared to this side. Export from other side would have helped people a lot. Indian manufactured medicines are in huge consumption in Pakistan but they are imported via third countries like Singapore. What is the way ahead? I am disappointed with performance of Chambers. They are not doing enough in terms of lobbying. Having seen the Chambers and Governments doing almost nothing in giving push to Cross-LoC trade, we are in process of making an NGO to push the purpose. We are very soon applying for visit of our delegation to the other side. Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 36 in focus Cross LoC Trade INTERVIEW Mubeen Shah Former President Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Kashmir In the initial years of discussions your idea on Cross-LoC trade seemed entirely different from others. You mostly pressed for transit trade. Two years after launch of trade, how do you look at the whole exercise in terms of its political and economic benefits? I did not press for only transit trade but I am still of the opinion that transit trade is the trade by which all businessmen particularly from the Valley will have a stake and will be an important component whatever is the final settlement of Kashmir. Cross-LoC trade was overwhelmingly described as mother of all Confidence Building Measures. Was it really so? Has it actually contributed in lessening the tensions? When it was announced and particularly when Kashmir was in flames during Amarnath crisis it was considered as one the most important confidence building measures but although is still a confidence building measure in the sense that when both Governments (India and Pakistan) can do this they can if there is a will they can do a final settlement also.) What, do you think, should be an ideal model for intra-Kashmir trade? Ideal model is that both Jammu side as well as Kashmir side should be able to do trade as doing with any districts within each region. This is the ideal model. Do you think the Kashmiri business community ever built any stakes in the Cross-LoC trade as it never appeared as viable business option at any time? As already told that the whole Kashmiri business community can have a stake when there is transit trade so that our major exports of fruit and handicrafts can be marketed within Pakistan as well as beyond ) How do you look at the future of Cross-LoC trade? As presently Kashmir is in a situation where the people are asking for Azadi and final settlement, the trade will go on as it is or the government will in order to make it better agree to the recommendations which have been made by KCCI as well as the joint chamber. www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 It seems that the area of Gilgit â€“Baltistan has not prominently been associated with the intra-Kashmir and Indo-Pak dialogue. This region has its own geographical peculiarity, sensitivities, strategic importance, vision and legal standing. Shabaz Khan, a Lawyer by profession and founder chairman of the Gilgit Baltistan C h a m b e r o f Commerce shares his perceptions with Sandeep Singh Sandy. What is your vision of the Gilgit-Baltistan region in its larger Strategic location in this part of the South Asia? The GB has its peculiar Strategic edge in the region being as it is surrounded by the central Asia from the north, Pakistan from west, J&K from south and china from east and is actually a potential trade hub and corridor among these sur- Epilogue, October 2010 37 in focus Cross LoC Trade rounding entities. In this regard, it should be projected by all the surrounding entities for the prosperity of this region and to the benefits of all these parties in the immediate surroundings. Moreover, it has a special legal standing in the Pakistan itself thus, can preferably be engaged with other countries in the periphery. It can be emerged as a trade zone and thus, as a result of, can be the peace zone for the peace in the south Asia. What are the hindrances to this strategic edge of this area or importance of the GB? There is no denying the fact that Pakistan foreign policy is actually revolves around the apprehension due to the Indian stand .this bilateral equation between these two nation are invariably became as a hurdle to the economic boom of the this region and the surrounding areas as well. So, for peace & prosperity in this part of the south Asia, positive equation between India &Pakistan is inevitable. Will Kargil-Skardu road assume an importance, if thrown open like two other LoC routes? The socio-cultural ties of the erstwhile Ladakh are known to all through the history of this region. Moreover, this region seems almost locked may be because of its topographical peculiarity and as a result cut off from rest of the mainland India and Pakistan ,so any opening will not be the merger but the reintegration of this disintegrated region by the Partition of the sub-continent. Thus, it is not only emotional but the humanitarian need of this biggest and difficult region of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The other visible and practical economic benefits will also be there like the huge tourist flow from the china by www.epilogue.in Karakorum highway and that tourist flow can easily spill over to Leh and also to other part of the J&K as well. How can we minimize the apprehension of the Leh as the area with Buddhist population and less in common with the GB in term of Religious composition? As I mentioned there is substantial tourist chunk which is coming through Xingxiang-Khazgar road are substantively from Japan, Korea and other south-east Asian countries having faith in Buddhism. For this chunk of tourist, Interview with Shabaz Khan founder president Gilgit Baltistan Chamber of Commerce Leh and surrounding areas can certainly be the destination for its monasteries and also for the other as a natural tourist destination. Moreover, tourism, trade and economics have less to do with religion. How is GB different from the Rest of the erstwhile J&K in term of its settlement? GB has its peculiarity as the then president Raja Shah Raees Khan of the Islamic republic of Gilgit took over on October 31, 1947 and after fifteen days on Nov, 16, 1947 he acceded to the Pakistan. In this regards, GB is peculiar in term of its settlement as compared to rest of the erstwhile state of J&K. What is the potential of GB in term of its resources as there is little information in our part about the strength of this area? Vol. 4, Issue 10 There are different areas/items, where GB can facilitate the trade .the tourism, the hydro-power potential (more than 50000mw), minerals (gold, copper, iron), fruits (apricot) etc. are the visible areas for the trade and future collaboration between both part of Jammu &Kashmir and possibly with the other surrounding regions. What are your suggestions for the trade between different parts of the erstwhile J&K? It seems that the trust deficit is the main hurdle between India and Pakistan. For any trade to move forward, trust is essential and can also be enhanced by the trade. In other words trust and trade are complimentary to each other. In addition to it, we can learn from the trajectory of the trade between GB and china where right from 1985 to 1995, there was barter system between both the GB and China .From 1998, the passes were issued to the members of the chamber of Gilgit & Baltistan, as a result of this, the trade volume jumped 100 times from the previous quantum of trade. In this regard, few elements of this successful experiment (between GB &China) can be put into trial for the trade between both parts of J&K as well. How you envision GB into the larger political arrangement if any in the erstwhile J&K? Any solution for the erstwhile J&K should involve all the stakeholders for the peaceful political arrangement. The aspiration of the GB will be for its autonomous entity as a province with its appropriate space to have ties with all surrounding regions. In this direction, it can also be a federating part of a larger federal zone in this region. (This interview was possible with support of conciliation resource) Epilogue, October 2010 38 in focus Cross LoC Trade SRINAGAR-MUZAFFARABAD Trade in Times of Unrest BILAL HUSSAIN In every black cloud there is always a silver lining. The unabated unrest which has affected most of the business segments in the Kashmir valley, however, barring few hiccups couldn't influence the Cross-LoC trade between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad which went 'smoothly' during past four months of curfew and protests. D espite, the all odds that CrossLoC trade had witnessed in two years time to a greater extent, if not succeeded but has survived till date. In the second week of September, 2010 the Cross-LoC trade on SrinagarMuzaffarabad route achieved another milestone by crossing Indian rupee [INR] 300 Crore mark. Officials at Trade Facilitation Centre [TFC] Salamabad, Uri, on record have said that the intraKashmir trade reached Rs 300.34 between the two divided parts of Kashmir. During the period, 132 sessions of the trade have been carried out since the initiation of the trade. â€œSince the start of the trade in October, 2008, goods worth INR 122.45 crore have been exported from Kashmir Valley to Pakistan administered Kashmir, while commodities valuing Pakistan Rupee [PKR] 177.89 Crore have been imported from the other side,â€? Trade Facilitation Officer Salamabad said. So far 3569 truckloads laden with 227725 quintals of goods have rolled down from the TFC Salamabad, whereas 261962 quintals of merchandise have been received in 3798 trucks from the Chakoti Trade Centre. To mention, the LoC trade between two parts of Kashmir was www.epilogue.in started on October 21, 2008 with much fanfare, when Governor N N Vohra flagged off the first trade convoy from Salamabad for Chakoti. Since then, the trade has witnessed many hiccups. Disruptions of this nature has affected trade but not to a greater extent. Trade During Unrest The intra-Kashmir cross-LoC weekly trade remained suspended for weeks together in wake of strict curfew enforced in the Valley. With the result, no items were exchanged between two parts of Kashmir via Uri-Muzaffarabad route. In the month of August, which happened to be month of Ramdhan [holy month for Muslims] as well the demand for dry fruits in Valley has increased manifold with the traders here importing huge quantities from the AJK through the Line of Control. According to the officials at TFC 2867 quintals of dry fruits worth Rs 3.175 crore were imported in 39 truckloads from the Chakoti Trade Centre, AJK , during two-day trade adding last week over 90 per cent of the imported items comprised dry fruits alone, with dry dates forming the major part. While, the demand for dates had started picking up in Kashmir in view of the Ramadhan, when fresh and dry Vol. 4, Issue 10 dates formed over 80 per cent of the import. But as the intra-Kashmir trade remained suspended for three consecutive weeks in the wake of prevailing unrest in Valley, no more supplies could be received exclusively for the Holy month. Disturbances like these imbalances the demand supply base for any trade, in a situation like this the traders and officials involved would have to adopt and devise measure which would have minimal affect on the trade. A glimpse at the trade figures amply shows how the trade has been going on during these troubled times. The figures for the month of May, when Kashmir was peaceful, were INR 8.15 crore worth of exports and INR 13.45 crore worth of imports. During the month of June, goods worth nearly INR 10 crore were exported while goods worth INR 16.75 crore were imported. In the month of July, the total trade volume was worth nearly INR 19 crore but the value of the trade fell to INR 9.2 crore in the month of August. Trade During 'Normalcy' The activity that was started with much fanfare has become the victim of symbolism due to lack of proper facilities critical for trade, like no communication links, and non- Epilogue, October 2010 39 in focus Cross LoC Trade existence of banks for money exchanges. The traders on both sides of divided Kashmir currently are being forced to go for barter trader. Business chambers, industrialists, and traders time and again had lamented that the biggest hurdle in the trade is the absence of communication link. The current mode of communication between the traders from both sides is through e-mail only. The traders here are reiterating that they were not taken into confidence at the time of policy making. It won't be out of place to mention here a quote of President, KCCI Nazir Ahmad Dar who lamented, â€œWe at KCCI are not at all satisfied with the ongoing trade; the requisite facilities that a trade demands do not exist on both side of Kashmir and the way it is being conducted is not the way we envisaged it.â€? While business bodies like Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry [KCCI], had demanded that cross LoC www.epilogue.in trade should not be restricted only to 21 items; rather all the items produced and manufactured in the state of Jammu and Kashmir should be incorporated in the list. The list in no way corresponds to market realities, they believe. Currently, trade is conducted only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9 am and 4 pm. Another major hurdle is transportation. Only less 1.5 metric tons (MT) per truckload can cross the LoC due to infrastructural constraints on both sides. Small shipment size makes trade unfeasible as the fuel, handling, cargo, and other costs are not necessarily proportional to the delivery weight. Tr u c k s h a v e t o u n l o a d a t checkpoints near the LoC, then reloaded onto local trucks and hauled to the destination. Apart from the cost element, this is especially problematic for perishable items. Moreover, traders have no means to meet and interact with their counterparts. The visa restrictions Vol. 4, Issue 10 continue to be extremely stringent for all residents, including businessmen. Many experts here believe that the trade across LoC could not go beyond INR 300 crores provided both governments show seriousness in the trade by easing out process for traders and provide all needed infrastructure for the trade. Earlier there were proposal that the JK Bank, only company from J&K listed on stock exchanges of India, would open a branch in AJK. To mention the JK Bank prior to partition in 1947 had two branches in PaK, one in Mirpur and other in Muzaffarabad. Till the facilities like banking, telephone, it should be driven purely on demand supply basis rather than sticking to list of items by governments and other important facilities for the trade would not be provided it is bound to remain a symbolic trade. A glimpse at the trade figures amply shows how the trade has been going on during these troubled times. The figures for the month of May, when Kashmir was peaceful, were INR 8.15 crore worth of exports and INR 13.45 crore worth of imports. During the month of June, goods worth nearly INR 10 crore were exported while goods worth INR 16.75 crore were imported. Epilogue, October 2010 40 in focus Cross LoC Trade POONCH - RAWALAKOTE A Report From Trade Center VARUN MAINI It is yet to be called as trade in real sense but the barter of goods across Line of Control has significantly changed the way people would think. Two years after its launch the technicalities have not softened and facilities have not improved even by an inch but emotions have gone too deep. T he cross LoC Trade started on October 21, 2008 from Slamabad in Uri and Rangar in Poonch was the third important CBM between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, after the ceasefire of November 26, 2003 and opening of cross-LoC road for divided families on the April 7, 2005 via Srinagar-Muzafarabad road and on June 20, 2006 via Poonch-Rawalakote road. The trade facility was started to provide economic avenues to traders and quality goods on cheaper rates to the people so that the friendly and congenial atmosphere could be created in both the parts of Kashmir. During last joint meeting of traders at Chakan da Bag zero point held on June 9, 2010, a PaK trader Mohammad Akbar said that may social functions at Rawalakote town now start with the serving of sweet pineapple, fresh coconut and lemon imported via Poonch to guests who in return start talking for more sweet relations between the two parts of Kashmir. Same feeling is noticed on this side also. The advent of trade have also provided the way for softening the rigid attitudes, smoothening the friendly relations and start of new era of cooperation between the two parts. During last 23 months lot of trust, faith and confidence have been built between the trader fraternities which have shown very healthy impact on ground. www.epilogue.in Trade trends The trade officer and District Development Commissioner, Poonch Kuldeep Lal Khajuria says that the trade transaction twice in a weak across the LoC is quite in swing. There are 180 traders on this side and about 198 traders on the other side involved in cross-LoC trade. More than 100 labourers have been engaged for loading and unloading the goods at trade centre Chakan da Bagh. The traders of Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu apart from some traders from Kashmir valley are also operating their trade via Poonch-Rawalakote route. The trade transaction was started on 21st October 2008 with three small load carrier of goods worth of Rs. 35000/- where as in the month of May 2010 the weakly trade had gone upto more than Rs.9 crores. The trade trends from 21 October 2008 to 31st March 2010 are very very encouraging, because 48 items worth of Rs. 127.67 crores in POK currency were imported from POK in 1657 vehicles. On the other hand 42 items were exported to POK in 1526 trucks costing Rs. 67.56 crores in Indian currency (presently Indian one rupee costs 1.80 rupees of Pakistani currency). Mostly Dal Mung, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Peshawari Chappal, Almond, Herbs, Dry Grapes and Embroidery items are imported from POK and Coconut, Pineapple, Big Cardenas, Red Vol. 4, Issue 10 Chilly, Rajmash, Lemon, Banana, Grapes, Walnut, Spices and Potato have been exported to POK. He further said that all efforts are made to provide good facilities to traders to run the trade smoothly. By and large necessary cooperation from the other side is also available. Presently quarterly meetings between the traders of two parts of Kashmir are held regularly at zero point in which the traders sort out their account matters. The Trade Centre The cross-LoC trade centre was established in 2008 on 42 kanal of land in Rangar, about 8 kilometers from Poonch town towards the LoC. Under first phase a truck terminal, examination hall, security complex, custodian office, custom office, plant quarantine office and ancillary buildings were constructed. However, this accommodation was not sufficient for the smooth running of trade venture across the LoC. Therefore a project of Rs. 4 crores has been sanctioned under second phase by the central government for the construction of compound wall, godown, administrative block, sitting hall for traders, weigh bridge facility and purchase of generator sets. However, Krishan Singh, Secretary Cross-LoC trade association says that they are facing lot of problem at the trade centre. There is no facility for sitting of traders, Epilogue, October 2010 41 in focus Cross LoC Trade no proper arrangements. Power supply is irregular. The traders are facing lot of problems in unloading the trucks during night hours without proper lighting system. Since there is no whole body scanner facility available in the centre, the goods are checked manually which takes lot of time and very limited vehicles could cross the LoC on trade day. The District Trade Officer assures that the transformer is being setup to augment the power. A sitting hall for traders shall be constructed in near future and weighing bridge facility shall also be created. No doubt, the administration is providing assistance to traders to encourage the trade between the two parts of Kashmir however the traders are having lot of grievances and some genuine problems in smooth running of the trade which are need to be addressed. The traders of Poonch had gone on strike in May and June for about five weeks which was called off on the assurance of local Deputy Commissioner that their genuine demands shall be projected to higher authorities for appropriate action. The main demands of traders are as under: Increase of loaded vehicles for export and import on trade day. Pawan Anand, the President of cross LOC trade centre Poonch says that the limit of export of vehicles was fixed at 25 on each trade day about a year back when there were only 21 traders. Now the numbers of cross LOC registered traders have gone upto 180. Every trader wants to export his goods to the other side every week on trade day. Since only 25 trucks are allowed to cross the zero line. Therefore number of traders who books their goods from Jammu and abroad are deprived of exporting their items to the other side in time. Number of time, the fresh items like onion, potato and fruits gets spoiled at cross LOC trade center because these www.epilogue.in items could not exported to the other side on trade day. He demanded that there may be no upper limit of vehicles for export or import and all those loaded trucks reached the cross LOC trade center one day before the trade day may be allowed for export after proper checking and completion of codal formalities. The cross LOC Trade Officer Mr. Khajuria told that the upper limit of vehicles have been fixed by the security agencies because the goods are checked manually and security staff available in the centre is not in a position to clear more than 25 vehicles on a trade day. However he has taken up the matter with IGP Security for increase of security staff so that at least 50 trucks could cross LOC from each side on trade day instead of 25. Increase of items in trade list The second demand of the traders was to review the list of 21 items approved at the time of the start of trade venture on 21st October 2008. As per SOP there was a provision for modification and revision of list as per the need of the people after every three months but this list have not been revised up till now. There is a great pressure from the traders that consumption based items instead of production based may be included in the trade list. The traders also wants that all those items cheaper on the other side be allowed for import and export only then the trade can be boosted up. Mr. Pawan Anand told that the traders of both the sides have show trust and faith on each other and started business blindly on telephone call from the other side without any guarantee. In recent meeting of traders at zero point on 9th June 2010 the traders have jointly forwarded a list of 40 more items for inclusion in the approved list. This list was handed over to Trade Facilitation Officer, Gurmail Singh who had further sent the list to concerned quarters for appropriate action but action is still awaited. It was Vol. 4, Issue 10 also told that 15 additional items already approved have also not been included in the trade list due to which the traders are facing lot of problem. Short term permit Presently short term visa is issued in favour of truck drivers who crossed zero line with loaded trucks after showing the documents of their vehicles to security authorities. They returned back to the other side after unloading the trucks on the same day. The traders wants that such type of short time visa for three to five days may also be issued in their favour so that they could visit the other side and place the orders after conforming the quality and rates of items from open the market. The Custodian Trade, Ranjeet Singh told that this demand of the traders have been projected to higher authorities for decision. ISD facility to traders for PaK Another demand of the traders was ISD phone facility for PaK so that they could confirm the rates before placing the orders. In absence of phone facilities number of traders had gone into loss as they exported and imported the goods without conforming the rates and suffered financially. The cross LoC trade officer Kuldeep Lal Khajuria told that this was very genuine demand of the traders which was projected to higher authorities for such facility. Now the ISD phone facility is available in Deputy Commissioner Office, Poonch, GM DIC Poonch and cross LoC trade centre Rangar for the convenience of traders. The traders at any time can visit these booths and talk with counterpart on the other side. Interestingly Ranjeet Singh Custodian Trade told that no trader have avail this facility from his booth so far. Pawan Anand represented that traders don't want to talk business matters with their counter parts from the public booths and government offices. They needs land line ISD facility for smooth business. However, as per the intelli- Epilogue, October 2010 42 in focus Cross LoC Trade gence agencies there is a security risk in the extension of land line ISD facilities for PoK. Involvement Of Banks In Cross LoC Trade The trade across the LoC was started with barter system arrangement i.e. goods against goods are exchanged and money is not involved in the trade. In the initial stage it was given to understand that in a due course of time the bank shall be involved and trade shall be started through banks from both the sides. But this has not happened. Lot of financial irregularities have been noticed through barter system because in absence of banks there is no proper account of goods importer or exported. There is a possibility of manipulation of figures to avoid taxes. Therefore cross LoC trade be strengthened by switching over barter system to proper trade where the financial transactions actually happens through the banking system. Official agency for sorting the trade disputes. As per the latest report from the traders there are number of traders of both the sides who exported their goods to the other side but in return they have not received the consignments against their goods. For example Mohammad Akbar of PaK and Haji Abdul Razak of Poonch of this side have turned bankrupt because their counterparts on the other side have grabbed their money. No doubt that the quarterly meetings at zero points are held for talling the accounts but the defaulters are not attending such meetings. There is no official check on these traders at present. Therefore there is a need of official agency of both the parts of Kashmir who could deal with these cases and help the victims on both the sides. Abrupt ban on trade items Pawan Anand says that Custom officers abruptly impose ban on some items when loaded trucks already reaches in www.epilogue.in the trade centre. This has happened in case of Ginger, Garlic, Coconut, Ajwain etc. This behaviour has put the traders to great trouble. The Custom Officer Mr. Munish told that only those items have been stopped by them which are not included in the trade list of this side or the other side. For example, Ajwain falls under spices items and spices are not allowed for import from POK. There is a need of proper instructions to Custom Officers for displaying the detail of items falls under the list of 21 so that the traders could accordingly place the orders. Public reactions and grievances The custom free trade across the LOC was the unique experiment of people to people friendly relations between the two parts of Kashmir. The idea behind this CBM was to create sweat relations and contacts, provide economic opportunities to traders and retailers and quality items on cheaper rates to the public on the other side of LOC. However this idea has not worked on ground in real sense. Some traders have hijacked the trade for their own benefit instead of creating good will gesture among the public. Presently the traders have not opened any retail shop within any district of J&K from where the general public could purchase these items. After importing the duty free goods from the other sides, the traders directly dispatch the loaded trucks from cross LOC trade centre to Jammu, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi and other places where they sell these goods to whole sale dealers and earn lot of profit. The people residing in Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu are having lot of resentment that these items imported on cheaper rates from POK are not supplied to them. It has also been noticed that some big traders of Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar are involved in proxy trade from Poonch-Rawalakote route. They are purchasing the trade cards of some registered traders of J&K Vol. 4, Issue 10 at the rate of Rs. 10,000/- per truck, books the items on their names and export and import the items and sell these items to whole sale dealers in outside the state. The local dealers are also selling their imported goods to the wholesalers of Jammu and abroad. The people of J&K state on whose name the trade was started are deprived of these facilities. For example Dal Mung was receiving at trade centre Poonch from POK @ Rs. 32/- per kg in Indian currency against the market rate of Rs. 106 per kg in the bazaar of Poonch town. Instead of selling Dal Mung on cheaper rate at Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu on reasonable rates, these items are dispatched abroad to earn more and more profit. Mr. K.K Kapoor a prominent citizen of Poonch told that the public was hoping for the quality items of POK on cheaper rates in Poonch market but this has not happened so far and the idea of creation of good wills among the public have been spoiled by the opportunist. There is no benefit of trade to the common person except the traders. In the above context, there is a need of streamlining the trade venture in such a manner that the common people should also get the benefit of this CBM. For this purpose there is a need of the opening of retail outlets of PaK imported items through Super Bazar or Consumer Affairs Department for the imported items at Poonch, Surankote, Mendhar, Rajouri, Sunderbani, Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur and valley of Kashmir with the banner that 'PoK goods are available here'. The rates of imported goods may also be controlled by the administration and strict instructions may be issued to cross LoC traders for selling the goods in the local markets so that the goodwill gestures could be percolated to the common man. Only then the trade venture can be proved beneficial economically and become the piece bridge between the two parts of Kashmir. Epilogue, October 2010 43 Column History History of Ladakh in the Mughal Historical Sources PROF. JIGAR MOHAMMAD L adakh's cultural relations with Central Asia and parts of India can be traced from the ancient period. During the medieval period the process of Ladakh's interaction with the different parts of Asia was intensified. It is known that Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani, a sufi of Persia, visited Ladakh in 1383 en route to Turkestan. It was medieval period when the people of the neighbouring states of Ladakh came closer to the Ladakhis through commercial, literary and religious activities. It is an established fact that some of the Central Asians were well versed to the routes to Ladakh during the medieval period. It is substantiated from that the Central Asians invaded Ladakh frequently from the first half of the 16th century onwards. Though it was Mirza Haidar Dughlat invasion in 1532 which influenced the political life of Ladakh very much, there are references to the Central Asian invasions on Ladakh prior to it. Mirza Haidar Dughlat himself admits that his predecessors invaded Ladakh. When Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur established the Mughal empire in the north India, Mughals' cultural contacts with Kashmir and Ladakh were further strengthened and expanded. The Mughals themselves came to India from Central Asia. Consequently, they retained their contacts with Ladakh. Since the Mughals planned to make their Indian empire strongest and largest in the world in terms of territorial expansion and economic www.epilogue.in prosperity, they made Ladakh a part of Mughal India. More importantly, the Mughals made a policy to acquire the knowledge of cultural life of the conquered areas. The acquisition of the knowledge of the cultural life of the conquered and neighbouring areas of the Mughal empire was not only the part of the intellectual activities of the contemporary historians and professional writers, but the Mughal emperors themselves were very much interested in collecting the information pertaining to the various cultures. In his autobiography the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1605-27) not only mentions the events of his own empire, but he also incorporates some information of the non-Mughal empire areas such as Tibet and Ladakh. He mentions that with the exceptions of shawls other woollen materials were manufactured of better quality in Tibet. The wool for good quality of shawls was imported to Kashmir from Tibet and Ladakh. The goat which produced the wool for the Kashmiri shawls was peculiar to Tibet. Similarly the historians of the Mughal period make mention of the known historical facts pertaining to Ladakh in their own account. The Mughals' curiosity to have information of the socio-economic and political aspects of the different neighbouring areas of their empire inspired the contemporary historians to widen the scope of their literary works. Consequently Ladakh found important Vol. 4, Issue 10 space in the historical sources of the Mughal empire. During the 17th century A.D. the Mughal emperors' particularly Shihabuddin Muhammad Shahjahan (1628-58), extended the boundary of India upto the Transoxiana region. Ladakh was well connected with Central Asian countries. Both the commercial and diplomatic contacts of Ladakh was intensified with the Central Asian Countries because of Ladakh being situated on one of the route between the Central Asia and North India. The historical works of the Mughal empire during Shahjahan's period made Ladakh one of new themes of their regional studies. Some aspects of the history and culture of the seventeenth century are very well depicted in the Shahjahan Nama, a famous Mughal source dedicated to the Mughal emperor Shahjahan (1628-58). It was written by Inayat Khan. The latter belonged to an aristocratic background. His father Zafar Khan was the governor of Kashmir and was assigned the work of the conquest of Ladak and Tibet by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan in 1637. Inayat Khan held the post of superintendent of the Royal library (Darogha-i-Kutub Khana) under Shahjahan. Thus Inayat Khan had both the opportunity and capability of gathering information from different quarters about the events of Ladakh. Being the superintendent of the Royal Library he enjoyed large facilities in Epilogue, October 2010 44 Column History terms of the collection of the book. His social background enabled to collect materials about the political and socioeconomic life of the seventeenth century Ladakh. The Shahjahan Nama gives various types of information such as political relations between the Mughals and Tibet and the Mughals and Baltistan, the forts, the trade routes, agricultural and horticultural productions and the zamindars etc. of Ladakh and Tibet. It is known that Shahjahan was the first Mughal emperor who extended the Mughal empire up to Ladakh and Tibet. The planning of the conquest of Tibet has been described by Inayat Khan in a very systematic way. For him the subjugation of Ladak and Tibat was one of the most prospering events of the Mughal empire. He not only gives an explicit description of the conquest of Tibet and Ladakh, but also discloses that Shahjahan's father Jahangir planned to establish the Mughal sovereignty in Ladakh, but he did not succeed. According to him, “Although it had been a favourite project with the late emperor Jahangir to subdue the country of Tibet, the contemplated enterprise had never been carried into execution. During the period of his governing Kashmir, Hashim Khan, son of Qasim Khan Mir Bahr, once collected at the late emperor's command an army of soldiers and zamindars, and set out on the expedition. However, finding it impossible to penetrate into the country, he completely failed in his attempt, and after great number of his force were killed and many more taken as prisoners, he effected a disastrous retreat.” Shahjahan appointed Zafar Khan as the commander of the army for the conquest of Tibet in 1637. Zafar Khan collected an army of 2000 cavalry and 10000 infantry out of the provincial www.epilogue.in troops, his own followers and those of the zamindars. Afterward, according to Inayat Khan, followed the route of Gurach, which was 64 kos (two miles) far from Tibet. This was very difficult route. But Zafar Khan successfully made journey through this route and reached a village called Sadpara. Inayat Khan found a very useful gorge at Sadpara village, which was used by the local people for defence purpose. He mentions: “…there (Sadpara) is a narrow gorge with a torrent flowing through. By throwing a dam across this, the enemy had formed a large lake which blocked up the road through the centre of the pass, while on both sides there were frowning precipices. On one side, where it was just possible to climb the steep ascent, they had built up a strong wall of stone and mortar from the water's edge to the summit of the mountain so as to present anyone from passing that way the opposite side being naturally so inaccessible as not to require the precaution. The natives of Tibat had fortified this place long ago, so that whenever any invading army might advance against their country, they could ascend the heights and arrest their further progress. In fact, it was at this very spot that Hashim Khan, when he marched against Tibat, was defeated and forced to retreat.” Abdal, a chief (Zamindar) of Tibet, gave tough resistance to the Mughal force. He posted his army men along the height to check the advancement of the Mughal army. Consequently, Zafar Khan had to change his strategy and divide his army in three columns so that Abdal's army was to be attacked from different directions. Inayat Khan again mentions that when his father's army reached Skardu, it became very difficult for him to make further advancement. The forts of Tibet were the main obstruction in the way of the Mughal victory of it. Vol. 4, Issue 10 The Shahjahan Nama's description of the forts of Ladakh is very useful for the study of the heritage and architectural activities of Ladakh and Tibet. It mentions that there were thirty seven forts in Tibet and Ladakh. Ianyat Khan was very much impressed from the strength of the forts of Ali Rai, Shigar, Garewcha and Ganjak. According to him these forts helped the local rulers and people considerably against the Mughal forces. He writes, “As soon as my father (Zafar Khan) saw the loftiness and strength of the two forts, he felt convinced that it would be immensely difficult to capture them either by storming or siege. The whole period for military operations in Tibet does not exceed two months, and if an army were to stay longer than this, the passes would become closed by snow and return would be rendered impracticable. Moreover, should the winter happen to be protracted one, the troops would all perish for want of provisions.” But Inayat Khan also mentions that the soldiery and peasantry of Tibet were highly dissatisfied with Abdal's rule. Such situation helped Zafar Khan and the latter exploited it. However, after a long chase the Mughal succeeded in capturing Abdal. Inayat Khan gives a long description of the battle between the Mughas and the Ladakhis. He also mentions that some Tibetans were recruited in the Mughal army.” There were two major two of Ladakh and Tibet which attracted the attention of Inayat Khan very much, first through Gurach and through Lar. Both of these routes created difficulties for the travellers because of the existence of high mountains, difficult passes and innumerable gorges. He mentions Ladakh a weak country in terms of cultivation. Wheat and barley were the chief crops of the region. The Epilogue, October 2010 45 exclusive series New Research on Kashmir total revenue of Ladakh was one Lakh of rupees. But it was rich region for the extraction of gold and horticulture. He observes, “It contains one stream from the bed of which minute particles of not over pure gold are extracted by washing its slit, which privilege is formed out at a yearly rent of nearly 2000 tolas of gold. Most of the species of fruits indigenous to a cold climate such as apricot, peach, melons and grapes thrive well in Tibat and the fruit is of excellent flavour. There is also a variety of reddish apple, the inside of which resembles in redness. The mulberry, cucumber, apricot, peach, melon and grape all blossom at the same season there.” This shows that the Shahjahan Nama of Inayat Khan not only describes the exploits of the Mughals in Ladakh and Tibet, but more importantly it also contains historical facts concerning the socio-economic activities, heritage and political situation of these regions. The description of Ladakh by the author of the Shahjahan Nama presents the Mughal perception of Ladakh and Ladakhis. It enables the modern historians to study the historical development and changes in Ladakh from others point of view. Though the historians of the Mughal empire were very much influenced by the Persian trends of historiography, they did not underestimate the contribution of the Ladakhis to maintenance and flourishment of the regional identities. The mentions of the Shahjahan Nama pertaining to the history and culture of Ladakh convey that the Ladakh was treated one of the well established historical regions of the 17th century world and the Ladakhis as a regional identity well placed on the map of the world. The Mughal sources contributed to the propagation of Ladakh's cultural identity in non-Tibetan speaking regions. www.epilogue.in Whose was Kashmir to be ? RAKESH ANKIT ‘Whose was Kashmir to be? The Raja, his Pandits, Sheikh Abdullah, Azad Kashmir, the tribes or Russia?’1 One of the most opinionated and influential British officials who chose to stay on in the Indian sub-continent post-1947 was Sir Robert Francis Mudie. Born in 1890, Sir Robert, KCIE, CIE, OBE, joined the ICS in 1914. He served in the United Province from the end of the First World War to the outbreak of the Second and served as Chief Secretary, UP from 1939 to 1943. He also held the charge of the Acting Governor of neighbouring Bihar in 1943-44 whereupon he was appointed as Home Member in the Viceroy's Executive Council for 1944-45. From Delhi he was sent to Karachi as Governor, Sind in 1946 and he was there when Pakistan was born on 14 August 1947. As Karachi became the national capital and Jinnah moved there, he sent Mudie to the sensitive Lahore as Governor, West Punjab and Mudie continued there till 1949 before leaving Pakistan to head British Economic Mission to Yugoslavia in 1951-53. Mudie is, in some ways, the most extreme and most fascinating of the entire British cast of higher civil/military officials present in India (and Pakistan) during the Endgame of Empire. He hated the Indian National Congress and, in particular, Jawaharlal Nehru with some passion. His writings and correspondences which are available at the India Office Records, British Library (London) ooze with emotion today much as they did when penned down 60 years ago. (MSS Eur F 164/48; MSS Eur F 164/12) It was an axiom for Mudie that: 'Pakistan has a powerful, truculent and unscrupulous neighbour. She is a member of Commonwealth and expects help and support against that neighbour. Instead she sees Britain giving way to India on every point – why should she remain with the Commonwealth? Pakistan will seek her friends elsewhere with disastrous consequence to the whole of Asia and the Middle-East. Any attempt at “impartiality” or detachment would simply be taken as another proof of Britain's pro-India and anti-Muslim attitude'. In notes written in September 1948, Mudie identified three threats to Pakistan's existence: 'Afghan-Russian threat'; India supporting the 'Abdul Ghaffar Khan agitation' and the conflict in Kashmir. He had no 'doubt whatsoever of India's hostility to Pakistan and of their intention ultimately to destroy it'. He drew some fantastic parallels: 'Indian attack on Hyderabad is akin to the German attack on Belgium/Poland; Hindus in sub-continent can be compared to the Southern Irish in Ulster and the Hindu-Muslim equation can be drawn alongside as a parallel to the SpaniardsMoors relations. A war between Indo-Pak would have violent consequences in the Middle-East; would be taken advantage of by Russia and would be disastrous for the Commonwealth'. He was equally venomously forthright on the implications of the Kashmir con- Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 46 exclusive series New Research on Kashmir flict. In a letter to Sir Maurice Hallet written in November 1948, Mudie wrote that 'war would bring whole of India within the Russian sphere/domination consequently threatening the Indian Ocean traffic'. It was self-evident to him that on Kashmir: 'India contemplates the invasion of Pakistan – on the other hand, Pakistan has no intention of attacking. The only possible explanation of India's desire to obtain Kashmir – which would be a very difficult province to hold – is their desire to use it as a constant threat to Pakistan as it is easy to attack the plains from the hills. The possession of Kashmir is as important to any power wanting to attack Pakistan as the possession of Austria was to Hitler when he attacked Czechoslovakia'. He was also clear about why HMG should – IF NEED BE – go out of its way to support Pakistan because: 'Pakistan is the barrier to Communism spreading south of the Himalayas and should be preserved intact. This means that Kashmir, or at any rate all but the small Hindu area in the south-east should go to Pakistan which was the best solution of a very difficult problem. Communist conquest in Sinkiang and Manchuria would lead to increased propaganda'. His 'main thesis' as he explained to Hallet on 22 February 1950, long after the initial dust had settled on Kashmir, was that 'the Hindus, as a whole, are determined to conquer Pakistan and reunite India'. In a speech given at the International Islamic Economic Conference, Mudie – while claiming that 'Indo-Pak war must be prevented at all costs [because of the very real possibility of] Russian intervention' – declaimed on Kashmir thus: 'Kashmir goes right to the root of the matter. It is a negation of twonation theory – a negation of Pakistan's right to independence. It would outflank the West Punjab – should it ever www.epilogue.in come to the one-nation theory [being] enforced by war'. Thus 'Pakistan [had to] aid the Pathan invaders and later its army had to enter Kashmir to come to the aid of the local insurgents'. The 'fundamental problem is Nehru's refusal to accept two-nation theory and Muslim right to rule themselves in Kashmir'. For Mudie Pakistan was to be 'the link between the Middle East Muslim states and the Commonwealth and the rest of the world; also a bridge between the Muslims of the Middle East and the South East'. This sense of the 'increasing gravity and significance of the Kashmir issue in the wider setting of recent developments' was not restricted to Mudie. It was only most vehemently expressed by him. It was equally exuded – if in more measured and diplomatic terms – by the UK High-Commissioner to Pakistan Sir Lawrence Graffety Smith and the Commonwealth Relations Office, London. In November 1948, Graffety-Smith presented to the CRO three over-riding anxieties for Pakistan over Kashmir: a) 'Refugee exodus due to Indian army's advance leading to cracking economy and collapse; b) India would deny Pakistan waters of Jhelum/Chenab and turn West Punjab into a dessert; and, c) If we can not restrain India, Pakistan would turn to Russia. We believe this to be not black2 mail but genuine despair' . This message was forwarded to Sir Alexander Cadogan – UK Permanent Representative to the UN – to show to the Americans and impress the implications of its contents upon them.3 By this time, there was a dominating feeling in London that: 'The Indian case is built on the assumption that Kashmir is part of India and that consequently the Pakistan troops there are aggressors. Whatever the legal validity of these arguments, the basic political reality of the situation has in the question whether India wants the future of Kashmir to be settled by the will of the people or by con- Vol. 4, Issue 10 quest'?4 Earlier, in October 1948, the CRO had already sent a note to the PM emphasizing that: 'Whatever the merits of the case might be and even if the blame for aggression lay fully on one side or the other, the fact of war in Kashmir would present HMG in the UK with following most serious problems: Issue of “stand down” which would hit Pakistan Commonwealth membership Russian involvement Relations with the Islamic Middle East Instability/chaos in the sub-continent'5 It became an obsession with one and all among the British thinkers and strategists, officials/officers and even journalists that 'Kashmir can not be a vacuum in power politics, with Russia and China restive on the Himalayan ramparts'6. This added fuel to the fire of another obsession – the diagnosis that events after 15 August 1947 amounted to 'a Hindu-Sikh plot to seize the Punjab [later Kashmir after Hyderabad and Junagadh] and put all the blame on them [Muslims]'7. It was not just people in the cauldron of events but also observers from far and wide like Joseph Skrine – sitting in and watching from the UK Embassy in Tehran – felt thus a fortnight before independence/partition: 'The people who are least pleased at our going are the very ones who were most insistent on our getting out – the Congress Leaders. They have lost Muslim India and are not all sure whether they are going to keep Hindu India without the support of British bayonets and British administrative experience in the higher ranks'9. After the Communist-coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the third dimension emerged to complete the triangle: 'Indians are reluctant to accept the proposition that the world must necessarily be divided up into two and feel impelled to seek some way out Epilogue, October 2010 47 exclusive series ZONAL HEADQUARTERS CRIME BRANCH JAMMU New Research on Kashmir 9 of the present impasse’ . On Kashmir itself, the arch-villain was all too real and all too easily available. John Shattock who first served Maharaja Hari Singh as Joint Commissioner (Ladakh, 1942-44) and then served New Delhi as the 1st Assistant Resident (Kashmir) led the chorus from within the British 'official mind' in Srinagar to train the guns on the Maharaja: 'It was Hari Singh's inability to decide before August 15, 1947 whether to accede to India or Pakistan that was to cause all the troubles that ensued in the autumn when tribesmen from the frontier and Pakistan invaded Kashmir and caused Kashmir to accede to India backed by Indian troops. Lord Mountbatten and Lord Ismay did their best in the summer to urge Hari Singh to make up his mind but they failed. Clearly Hari Singh did not foresee that his hesitancy to decide the state's future would have the results that followed in Gilgit, Poonch and the Western area of the State. I, too, was surprised at the precise turn of events but my view all along had been that as the sub-continent had been divided on the basis of religion then the three “problem” states must accede on the same basis eg. Junagadh to India, Kashmir minus the Jammu Hindu area to Pakistan and Hyderabad to India – otherwise there would be disaster'.10 And then there was the UN – variously looked upon as 'pathetic' and 'inviting ridicule over Palestine and Kashmir' among the British official class, particularly those serving the Government of Pakistan. The UNCIP was to be met with an aggressive explanation, along the following lines, as Cunningham expounded to Caroe: 'If I had to give evidence to the UNO Commission, the point that I would go on stressing would be that every man who has gone to fight there (and everyone who has supported him here and I would admit that some officials have supported them sub rosa) has done [so] because he felt a real obligation to go and protect his Muslim brethren in Kashmir. Nothing that we could have done by force up here would have stopped them, and if we had tried to use really effective force the result would have been massacres of Hindus and Sikhs all over the place in our territory'. Scams target you Protect yourself Most scams need you to do something before they can work like providing your personal information or sending money. DON’T RESPOND Scammers fool you by : Ü Making promises of great prizes or easy money. Ü Pretending to be legitimate banks banks and businesses. Ü Using leaflets, letters and web sites that look like the real thing. Ü Asking you to send money, personal details or fees before delivering anything. Ü Asking you to keep the deal or offer a secret. Ü Floating ads in newspapers for admission to professional courses. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. FOOTNOTE : 1. Randolph Holmes, 'Khyber Frontiers in Turmoil', MSS Eur F 265/18, TNA, p. 111 2. 18.11.48, T. No. 1395, DO 142/521, TNA 3. T. No. 1195, DO 142/521, TNA 4. 20.11.48, Comments on T. No. 4026 from Delhi to London for Attlee's considerations, DO 142/521, TNA 5. S. No. 85/48, DO 142/521, TNA 6. Randolph Holmes, 'Khyber Frontiers in Turmoil', MSS Eur F 265/18, TNA, p. 129 7. 21.10.47, Joseph Skrine Papers, MSS Eur F 154/29, IOR 8. 30.7.47, Joseph Skrine Papers, MSS Eur F 154/29, IOR 9. MSS Eur D 1033/13, Esmond Walter Lumby Papers (India Office, 1934-48), Report for April 1948, IOR 10. MSS Eur F 226/27, John Shattock Papers, IOR 11. 2.4.48, MSS Eur F 164/19, Cunningham Papers, IOR PROTECT YOURSELF Avoid ripoffs. Treat all unsolicited promises and requests for your details carefully. STOP. Don’t respond. Check to see if the request is legitimate and research the person, company and offer. GET independent advice if the offer involves money, time or commitment. NEVER respond to out of the blue requests for personal details. DON”t use contact details provided in offers or request find them independently. CHECK your credit report at least twice a year. Fight the Scammers. Don’t Respond! Report them to Crime Branch Jammu on Phone No. : 0191-2578901 Issued in public interest by CRIME BRANCH, JAMMU No. : DIP/J-5119 www.epilogue.in Vol. 4, Issue 10 Epilogue, October 2010 48 bookS Review Gender and Conflict Situation in Kashmir REKHA CHOWDHARY D espite plethora of work on the conflict situation in Kashmir, one rarely finds the story of conflict written from the perspective of women. Basically it is the marginalisation of women in the society, in general, and the masculine representation of conflict in particular that makes women invisible. However, it is not only the conflict situation, women's accounts are missing from the social and political narratives of Kashmir. Issues related to women, in any case, do not find much space in the public domain here. Not only there is a lack of gender sensitivity, but a general apathy towards women's concerns. The gender context of politics does not hold even symbolic significance and many a times one is struck up in the situation of politically incorrect positions vis-Ă -vis women. We are referring to a State where the State Commission for Women could remain headless for more than six year without creating much political ripple; where women still have to find their rightful place in the Panchayati Raj Institutions; and where frequent attempts have already been made to formally disqualify women from holding the status of Permanent Residents if they marry outside the state. In fact, in the context of this last issue, the political class across the ideological spectrum in Kashmir takes a formal position that the context of women's identity and rights remains secondary to the context of the larger project of Kashmiri identity and rights. www.epilogue.in The 'Kashmiri identity' is seen as the primary identity and women's identity is seen as subservient to that. This explains as to why much of the conflict narrative is masculinised and gender context is relegated to the background. There is a sort of uneasiness about confronting issues from gender perspective. The sense of unease is further intensified when the gender issues are placed in the context of religion. The value of Nyla Ali Khan's much Vol. 4, Issue 10 reviewed book Islam, Women &Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan, is to be seen in the challenging task of raising the most uncomfortable questions about women, religion and conflict situation and seeking answers in a gender-oriented paradigm. She presents a nuanced understanding of the intersection of religion and gender that goes much beyond the generally available simplified and onedimensional understanding of the implications of conflict for women â€“ opening in the process many layers and revealing various shades of complex reality. Though the book provides a detailed account of the Kashmir conflict and goes into the details of the political discourses related to partition, plebiscite, autonomy and integration and deals with the political debacles as well as militarization of Kashmir, the present note is specifically focused on those chapters that deal with the genderrelated themes. The intricacy of Nyla's gender perspective is to be found in her evenhanded treatment of the implications of conflict for women. She refers to the vulnerability of women both due to the state as well as non-state actors. While the state forces are held responsible for committing acts of sexual violation and humiliation and loss of dignity of women, the non-state actors are also seen to be indulging in brutality against women. Thus reference is made to the realities of J&K marked by the 'over- Epilogue, October 2010 49 books Review whelming presence of paramilitary troops, barbed wire and invasive searches; dispossessed youths trained in Pakistani traning camps to unleash a reign of misguided terror; custodial killings in detention centres, and mothers whose faces tell tales of woe waiting outside those gloomy centres to catch a glimpse of their unfortunate sons (an exercise in futility); and burqa-clad women living in fear of the wrath of fundamentalist groups as well as paramilitary forces bent on undercutting their self-respect.' (101) Giving a detailed analysis of the conflict, Nyla argues that it is not merely the coercive force (used by the security forces, militants, foreign mercenaries and government sponsored militants alike) but the overall military culture which makes autonomous life difficult for women. It is this culture which socialises boys and men into the conflict psyche with substantial impact on women. Conflict perpetuates the gender hierarchy and controls over women. With the identity of the family, community and the nation written on the body of women, conflict brings about new restriction on women solely with the purpose of preserving the honour of the family, community and the nation. Nyla refers to the suffering of women who have been 'dishonoured' and thereafter shunned by their families. What bothers Nyla about the conflict situation is the manner in which brutalities committed both by the state and non-state actors are justified in the name of nationalism â€“ whether Indian nationalism or Kashmiri nationalism. It is a matter of great concern to her that there is lack of women's autonomy as their subjectivities are subjugated to the centrality of nation. 'In effect', argues Nyla, 'Kashmiri woman is constructed as a parchment on which the discourses of religious nationalism, secu- www.epilogue.in lar nationalism and ethno-nationalism are inscribed' and most barbaric acts are justified. (109-110) Further in the name of the community and nation, backwardness is imposed on women. Nationalisms of all kind and their feminisation through the concepts of 'homeland' as the 'motherland', she argues, 'serves in effect to preserve the native woman in pristine retardation.' (113) The nationalist discourse while creating the dichotomy of the inner/outer emphasises the inviolability of the inner domain which is used not only to essentialise the identity of The intricacy of Nyla's gender perspective is to be found in her evenhanded treatment of the implications of conflict for women. She refers to the vulnerability of women both due to the state as well as non-state actors. women but also to subjugate them to the larger cultural/national context. Reading this analysis of Nyla, the popular metaphor that 'the identity of a community is written on the bodies of women' becomes very clear in the context of Kashmir. One can see as to how the burden of maintaining the purity of the culture and ethnicity is placed on woman, and how in this process her life is restricted to the metaphoric inner domain. In more than one way, she is confined to the inner domain and boundaries are clearly laid down for her. Forbidden from stepping outside the cultural threshold, women may be denied Vol. 4, Issue 10 the justice and fairness. Here she refers to the controversial though unsuccessful initiatives aimed at denying the Permanent Resident status to the women married outside the state. Exclusionary nationalism combined with religious fundamentalism, according to Nyla, shuts down all voices of dissent and generates a process of homogenisation that directly affects the women. Erosion of cultural syncretism and its substitution for cultural homogenisation has the consequence of restricting the freedoms that women have been traditionally enjoying. On the whole conflict has a masculinist discourse and praxis 'Power relations within the prevalent discourses of patriarchy and fundamentalism mediate the Kashmiri women's identity. The valorisation of her subordination is underwritten by praxis that legitimizes gender identities, which are necessary to patriarchal and fundamentalist dominance'. (124) It is in this context that she critically refers to the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, the only women's organisation to be playing a major role in the separatist politics. What Nyla finds objectionable in the role of Dukhtaran is the diminution of woman's person in the name of religious interpretation and her representation as a burqa clad, faceless and voiceless cultural icon. Nyla would rather see woman as a person in her own right, woman as having an agency â€“ a woman like Parveena Ahangar who has risen above her personal grief and has made her victimisation as a basis of collective solidarity. Parveena Ahangar's Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) is an example of women making a statement of 'personal as political'. Through Parveena she highlights the courage of Kashmiri women and portrays them as women who are not mute spectators but Epilogue, October 2010 50 books Review who are intervening and 'speaking from their locations about current political realities.' (103) This is where Nyla's book makes a contribution to the understanding of conflict from the perspective of gender. She goes beyond the sense of victimisation and puts the spotlight on agency and empowerment of women. The focus of her work therefore is on the way women have been surviving in patriarchal social setting and the way they have been negotiating in small spaces available to them. Defining empowerment, she states, 'for me, empowerment is a process that enables the margibalzed to make strategic lifechoices regarding education, livelihood, marriage, childbirth, sexuality, etc, - choices that are critical for people to lead the sort of lives they wish to lead and which constitute life's defining parameters. It is important to keep in mind, however, that women are constrained by and grapple with the normative structures through which societies create gender roles.' (114) Although she argues that the level of woman's empowerment varies according to factors such as class, caste, ethnicity, economic status, age, family positions etc, she portrays the agency in the context of power relations in which women are placed. The attempt to portray the agency of woman takes Nyla to a historical survey of the role of women in Kashmir during the pre-1947 political movement and during the tribal invasion. She reconstructs the role of National Militia and the Women's Defence Corps in the voice of some of the actors of the time, especially Krishna Misri and Sajjida Zameer. However Nyla notes with regret that the agency of women forcefully asserted in 1947 did not lead to their emancipation. After playing a very significant role, women reverted to their www.epilogue.in private realms where they were once more governed by normative gender roles. Even when they joined the public life, they were not able to assert their agency and often were bogged down to the secondary position. She is specifically critical of the insignificant role of women in the formal decision making positions and objects to the reductive portrayal of women members of the State legislature as merely objectified beings. She holds the responsibility for this to the asymmetrical gender hierarchies legitimised by the forceful dissemination of fundamentalist and militarized discourses which lead to the debasement and prostration of women. Nyla's intervention in the conflict analysis via religion is very interesting as she is able to open various layers and is thereby able to project a holistic picture from a gender perspective. Not only she offers a powerful critique of fundamentalism and misguided representation of religion but she is also able to develop an equally powerful critique of western empirical analytical approaches which seek to trivialise religion, especially Islam. Religion, argues Naila, does not necessarily subjugate women, it may also provide them the space to assert their agency. Giving an example of her own upbringing and her own orientation towards religion, she notes, 'I was raised in a secular Muslim home where we were encouraged to speak of the 'liberation of women' and of a culturally syncretic society. I was taught that Islam provides women with social, political and economic rights, however invisible those rights are in our society. It was instilled in me that Islam gives women property rightsâ€Ś the right to interrogate totalizing social and cultural institutions; the right to hold political office â€Ś.' (114) Unlike the western understanding which focuses on fundamentalism and seeks to portray Islam as Vol. 4, Issue 10 conscripting the role of women, Nyla makes a case for the progressive roles prescribed for women within Islamic norms. Nyla Ali Khan's book provides us with a fresh insight into the issue of religion, women and conflict in Kashmir. It raises very important questions about the gender identity not merely vis-Ă -vis the larger Kashmiri identity but also the religious identity. Significantly, rather than shying away from bringing to the surface the contradictions, she confronts them boldly and critically analyses them. It is in this process that Nyla makes very crucial academic as well as political intervention in the ongoing discourse. Book Review of Islam, Women &Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan Author: Nyla Ali Khan Delhi: Tulika, 2009 Epilogue, October 2010 The Journey to a Friend’s House IS NEVER TOO LONG This Month Remind Your Friends, That You Care! That, You Care for Their Intellectual Growth Jammu and Kashmir’s Monthly Magazine Epilogue N E W S , C U R R E N T A F F A I R S , S O C I A L S C I E N C E S Makes The Journey To Your Friend’s House Easy Instead of blindly focusing on sales, Epilogue seeks to reach out to quality readers - who have the quest for knowing more. Therefore, we want you to suggest us some sharp minds. Please fill in names and addresses of your 10 friends and relatives in the columns overleaf. Fill in your address as well and send this form to us. Your friends will get a free copy of Epilogue magazine on your behalf and you will get much more : * The pleasure of gifting a quality magazine to as many as 10 friends/relatives. * A unique gift from Epilogue Fill in the form overleaf and mail this to : General Manager, Epilogue Magazine, through email : firstname.lastname@example.org You may also send us address Bathindi Top, Jammu - 181152 Name :_____________________________________________________ One Little Step Towards Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ A Shared Values ____________________________________________________________ Community Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Please send a copy of Epilogue to following addresses on my behalf Name :_____________________________________________________ Name :_____________________________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Name :_____________________________________________________ Name :_____________________________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Name :_____________________________________________________ Name :_____________________________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Name :_____________________________________________________ Name :_____________________________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Name :_____________________________________________________ Name :_____________________________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ Age :_________ Address :______________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ Town :______________________ Pin :____________ Tel. :___________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ E-Mail :_____________________________________________________ Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Occupation : Salaried Business Professional Student Housewife Vaibhav Anand is a 2008 batch chemical engineer from Delhi College of Engineering and a 2010 batch MBA from FMS, Delhi. He is currently employed by Citibank. His interests lie in writing fiction and poetry. Narendra Mani Ganesh is a 2008 batch mechanical engineer from Delhi College of Engineering. He is currently employed by Siemens Power. His interests lie in traveling. T he novel is set in the backdrop of a premier Business School campus (FMS, Delhi) in the years 2007 through 2009, when the worst recession of our lifetimes hit the world. It is inspired by a true story. The story is told through the eyes of Hari Parmeshwar - a simple & romantic person, madly in love with Meenakshi. Hari is an IT engineer with 4 years of work experience, who dreams of being a writer. The story begins with Hari cracking the FMS MBA interview which is supposed to be his ticket to the big leagues. Little does he realize that God has other plans. At FMS, he meets & befriends Matar- a surd who becomes his best friend, Scooby-a self proclaimed ladies' man and Bastard- a mysterious genius. Their friendship deepens over drunken parties/ nights on town, copied assignments, Scooby's everlasting attempts at getting laid, presentations in which they end up making public fools of themselves, run-ins with the law, intra class rivalries & tiffs, society applications, intense pre-exam mugging & summer placements. The story of Hari's first year moves forward peppered by Hari's narrative wit and piquant banter between these four friends. The second year takes a dark turn as recession hits and all high paying jobs become a distant dream. The authors, through Hari, take the reader through a fictional recession MBA journey in an incredibly candid fashion as they delve into the inside story of what happened at top Business schools, when recession hit. What sets this book apart, besides its zany & spicy characters, is that it is a bare-naked brutally honest look at not only the recent recession, its pains & its pangs and the force with which it hit premier B-Schools but also life/ culture/ scandals at B-schools. The tone of the book is sarcastic & witty, and it ends up making several startling & unknown revelations about several premier B-Schools besides FMS. In a nutshell, it spares no one.