Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kashmir: 'Hell' on Earth

27 killed including children in just four days

Bullets, teargas shells, stones, fires, cries, shouts, liveless bodies,blood, blood and more of blood are some of the features that aptly describe once tranquilled valley, Kashmir, the Paradise on Earth. However, with the current crises giving no sign of end, the valley is fastly becoming 'Hell' on Earth.

It is to be noted that the people of Kashmir are on mass protests for more than a month now due to the killings of innocent people by the security forces. The killing of a 17-year-old-boy Tufail Matoo while he was on the way to home from his tuition classes on June 11 triggered the protest.

This time not only the infamous Separatists but also the civilians are on the roads demanding freedom from India and shouting anti-government slogans. It is due to the merciless killings of innocent people by the Armed Forces Special Powers' Act backed cops.To control the crises, the Government brought in 2000 troops in the state. However, in the name of restoring peace, these forces are on a kiling spree that too of innocent people. "In spite of the public stand advising the security forces restraint, people are getting killed," says Shahidul Islam, a moderate separatist. In the battle of bullets versus stones, it is obvious that the stone-armed ones are the vurnerable lot to death. 27 deaths in just four days is what the valley people is getting from the government who rather preferred the para-military forces to their own local cops for handling the crises.

Deployment of these forces should have been the last option to tackle the situation, instead the Government should have reached out to the people for a talk and should have consider their reasonable demands. This act on the part of the ruler has worsened the scenario and people, youth in majority are defying the system and have adopted the words of the Moderate Separatist Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who said, "Protests are a fundamental right of the people and cannot be denied to them. He further said that if government uses any force against them, it will be responsible for the consequences. And now the government is facing the 'consequences' with the protest still going on.

People of Kashmir have seized the belief from the new government with a promising leader, Omar Abdullah as their Chief Minister. All their expectations led to heartaches when the CM brought in CRPF to control the angry crowd. This deployment added fuel to the fire; the already tormented people either by the government or the militants felt more tortured. The promises made to bring peace and harmony to the state during the election campaign proved to be just another fake promises by any xyz politicians. Everytime Kashmiris are ditched, that's why they have plunged in to this never-ending protest this time. And the age-old blame-game have started with everyone blaming everyone. " The problem is the gap between promise and performance." Islam says. While J&K Congress President Saifuddin Soz says, " Omar Abdullah cannot be entirely blamed as there are many actors and factors."

In the midst of this blame-game, it is only the people of Kashmir who were, are and still will be suffering. It is a high time that the rulers pull up their socks and come up with a new approach to handle this unfortunate situation before the things go out of the hand and the situation get worsened than ever. Not only these so-called leaders but also the people should get involved in bringing peace and harmony to the valley and make Kashmir once again the undoubtable Paradise on Earth.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stop blame-game, let's act !

They say, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” However, this may not be the case with the beauty of our Loktak Lake. The future of this God-gifted lake is bleak! The deteriorating scenario of our lifeline is of great concern. Conservation of the lake is the need of hour.
However, the big question mark that pops up in everyone’s mind is how, how can we immediately start conserving this floating lake?
For the last many years, everyone is blaming everyone! For instance, A (government) blames B (public), in retaliation, B blames A then C (media) blames both A and B and the blame game goes on and on. In the midst of this blame-game, we have forgotten that we are losing our grip on this beautiful lake. Instead of blaming one another, we should act right away from sunya (scratch) to save this means of livelihood of thousands of people.
Though there are many reasons for the failure of saving the Loktak, however, in my opinion, the lack of awareness programmes among the people of Manipur is the main reason of its worsening.
People should be well-informed about the pivotal role that the lake plays on their lives. Awareness programmes like organising campaign to save the lake on various levels, involving common men in the talks and discussions relating to the conservation and sustainability of the lake, the concerned authority such as Loktak Development Authority should organise symposia, seminars and other related activities frequently involving not only the intellectuals but also the public, and lectures on the significance of the Loktak Lake should be held in different schools and colleges among others.
Of course, the Government should take up strict measures to stop dumping of wastes, polluting the lake, spreading of toxicants et al on the lake. A mere paper work and forming so-called monitoring committees to conserve the Loktak will do no good for the conservation of this beautiful lake. The verb ‘act’ is what we need towards the saving of the only fresh-water lake in the north-east India.
Besides, time to time media introspection apart from the above will surely help save the lake. No one can stop the conservation of the lifeline of Manipur if the Government, the public, various NGOs and the media among others come together and start working earnestly towards saving the Loktak Lake.
Let’s stop the age-old blame-game and act now to conserve our life, the Loktak Lake.


CONVICTED: Five awarded death sentence for honour killing

In a landmark judgement, Karnal sessions court on 30 March convicted five people who were involved in an honour killing in 2007. It took almost three years for the court to take up action against the killers, such step should have been taken much earlier; however, better late than never. This is a historic moment for the people of Haryana particularly those who have been the victims of a heinous crime called Honour Killing.
Honour killing is an atrocious crime where a family or a khap panchayat (caste council) kills individuals who marry in the same gotra (sub-caste).This brutal crime is done to save the honour of a family or a community.
The crime has been in existence for so many years without any interference from the government’s side. And the reason behind this irresponsible act of the government is the fear of losing its votebanks which are mainly contributed by the khap panchayat as it acts as the opinion leader of a village.
For its own benefit, the government tried religiously to avoid the issue for so many years. However, the pressure from various NGOs, civic societies, victims’ families and other pressure groups force the government to take up stringent measures to curb honour killing. That’s the reason behind the conviction of five people who were involved in the brutal murder of Manoj and Babli in 2007 in the name of honour. As their gotra was same, they were declared brother and sister by the monstrous khap panchayat. This council has not only killed the two souls but has also been torturing their respective family members too.
“We have been ostracised by society for more than two years...but the authorities never approached us to listen to our grievances,” Chanderpati, Manoj’s mother.
Even though the justice has been done in Manoj and Babli case but still there are innumerable Manojs and Bablis whose justice have been denied and whose families have been silently suffering from the atrocities of the society for the sake of honour.
We need similar judgements and strict laws from the authorities to help prevent the growing menace of honour killing.