Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)


Tree felling in the Dal

I am dumbfounded by the callousness which the LAWDA (Lakes and waterways development authority) has demonstrated by felling hundreds of thousands of trees in the Dal area. While I support attempts to protect our lake; cutting down hundreds of thousands of trees defies all logic.

A decision of this enormity should have been taken by inviting counter arguments from the general public. To the best of my knowledge the public were not informed of the government's intentions beforehand. No political party had this on their manifesto. So we are left to put pieces together ourselves. I suspect the governement pulled a fast one on t
he residents of Dal. It is a matter of debate whether felling trees will alleviate the problems facing Dal Lake.

The government (minister Qarra and LAWDA) contend that it was the court's decision to rid the Dal of the trees, and that their hands were tied, and hence their inability to intervene in this matter.

I think it was indeed this government's intention to "clean
up" the dal area. While the goal might be sincere, the means of getting there are unfortunately sinister. It is my understanding that the trees were felled to expose any unauthorised structures hiding in their midst. And the goverment, fearing a backlash by people opposed to this action, or seeming to appear as draconian by dislocating thousands of farmers from their lands, preferred to involve the courts.

There may be many unatuhorised structures in the Dal
area, and they should be rightly demolished and the perpetrators fined. But the Dal also belongs to thousands of residents who have been legally residing there for the past many centuries. To take away the livelihoods of the dal residents, who depend on the lake, seems an act of bad faith. This especially when no debates on this matter have taken place in public and the local media is unusually silent on this matter. I am sure there are a multitude of other ways that the Dal can be preserved and beautified. This should involve preserving the floating gardeens and the residents of the Dal area.

That area has a unique culture and charm of its own, and the government should investigate options of developing it, and preserving it.


Most Indians are sympathetic

To answer the question whether I am pro-India or not, lets first explain what that question means.

Does it mean that I condone the daily harassment of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian paramilitary forces, or in some cases by rogue elements in the JK police?

Does it mean that I turn a blind eye to the rapes committed by untrained and un professional elements in the Indian security forces. Or that the unprovoked killings of Kashmiris by the Indian forces caught in a cross-fire is justified?

The answer to the above claims is obvious to me, and should be to all Kashmiris. The answer is that I abhor these actions, and just as any Kashmiri does, makes me wonder what us Kashmiris must collectively do to stop these inhuman acts.

To continue an armed struggle has reaped us no benefits. Is it not time to smarten up?

To answer the above question, we should look at Iraq and what is happening there, and then draw parallels. Do you think that the people of USA are celebrating and condone the disgusting and abhorrent acts committed in Haditha? where almost two dozen innocent civilians were shot in the head; the victims included infants. The answer to this question is a definite NO and I am certain they were genuinely saddened by this ghastly act. Let me continue my rhetoric and ask just for argument's sake whether anybody feels that the vast majority of the US public were celebrating that two dozen people of an "enemy" nation were slaughtered and patted their soldiers on the back? The answer again is absolutely not. Most people are probably in shock over this incident, and are probably ashamed and sorry for the actions of these 8 or 10 soldiers, who committed this heinous crime.

Now there are too many paralles to be drawn when we consider the Haditha incident and what is happening in Kashmir. If we ask the same questions whether the general public in India condones the daily violations of human rights by their security forces in Kashmir. The answer to the best of my knowledge is that an overwhelimg majority of Indians would be surprised and shocked to know how the daily life of innocent Kashmiris is unbearable because of the constant interference in their lives by the Indian forces.