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Everybody has a view on Kashmir, a long pending dispute between India and Pakistan in South Asian region since last seven decades. I also have my own view on Kashmir. Since childhood I grow up witnessing harshment, torture, abuse and so on.  As i grow up i learnt Kashmir is a big Poltical Dispute between India and Pakistan.

While India calls Kashmir as its "Internal Organ", Pakistan also says Kashmir is our "Jugular Vein" but the politicians of both the countries fail to address and solve the real Kashmir issue. They raise "Kashmir Issue" to get public attention in order to get votes and come in power but they forgot everything to deliver on ground when they come in power.

Its a common Kashmiri who suffers a lot of emotional trauma by witnessing killings of little buds, youth's and old age people almost on daily basis because of their political greed.  Besides this, torture, harassment, manhandling by government forces also adds fuel to fire, which is forcing lot of youth's even well qualified/educated students also are picking up arms to fight against these atrocities and this is really alarming. 

But, the seriousness of this issue has no effect on politicians from either side, by talking about this issue, they either want to remain in news or just do a vote bank politics. For them, Kashmir certainly is a political tool to grab public attention.  During election time "Kashmir Issue" is being raised randomly by politicians from both the countries for their political benefits, and after getting in power, the don't work on ground so no change can be seen in Kashmir from last seven decades. 

United Nations have also asked both the countries to come forward and start dialogue process to solve the Kashmir Issue. Till date the resolution of Kashmir issue has been put up 18 times before United Nations but no action was taken on it. The people of Kashmir also feel disappointed and betrayed as the leadership of both the countries and Kashmiri separatist leadership (Hurriyat) also failed to address the aspirations of people of Kashmir.

Kashmiri people want peaceful settlement and resolution of Kashmir issue without any bloodshed as they are witnessing bloodshed, inhuman activities on daily basis and If both the countries sincerely want to solve "Kashmir Issues" then they should come on table and start dialogue with Kashmiri people, so that this long pending issue can be solved peacefully and let peace prevail in the whole South Asian region. 

Otherwise, "Kashmir Issue" will always remain a political ground for politicians of both the countries and Kashmiri's will always suffer a lot if its not solved peacefully by both the countries.
 
Article by:Raouf Dar( Anantnag District),  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 9906571719

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Since the inception of RTI Act in Jammu and Kashmir State i.e. from 20th March 2009 to till date, almost a decade now, the perception and fear in the minds of the designated Public Information Officers loom in that only they are responsible for providing information to an RTI applicant and in case any delay happens in providing information to the applicant  than they may attract the penalty as enshrined under section 17 of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009, that calls for a penalty range from  Rs. 250 to 25000 besides disciplinary action under civil services rules as applicable to the PIO.

But this is not the exact case and the designated Public Information officers must visit section 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009  thoroughly, of which a part is reproduced here, section 5(3) “ Every Public information officer shall deal with requests from person seeking information and render reasonable assistance to the person seeking such information”  however section 5(4) and 5(5) clearly provides a sigh of relief to the designated Public Information officers as they read as “ The PIO may seek assistance of any other officer as he/she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his/her duties”  and “Any officer whose assistance is sought is under sub section 4 shall render all assistance to the PIO seeking  the assistance for purpose of contravention of the provisions of the act. Such other officers shall be treated as Public Information officers”.

It is pertinent to mention here that in Jammu and Kashmir state, the Public Information Officers (minimum  equivalent to rank of Under Secretaries ) are designated by the Public Authorities under section 5(1) of the act and they are suppose to provide information to an RTI applicant within stipulated period of time 30 days in general cases and 48 hours in exception cases related to life and liberty clause.

But unfortunately, often there are complaints from the PIOs that they find it quite difficult to provide voluminous and old information to the applicants within stipulated period of time and in case they fail to follow the time line then the applicant move the next higher authorities to file 1st appeal , 2nd appeal or complaints before the state information commission and a sword of penal provision always hung around their necks as under section 17-s , it is for the PIO to prove his innocence and he had acted reasonably and diligently.

The designated PIOs also complaint of non-cooperation from their colleagues as they feel that providing information under RTI act is the sole responsibility of the PIO and the poor PIOs lacking knowledge of law seldom exercise the option available to them under section 5(4) that is to seek assistance of any officer( senior or junior) and in case the officers whose assistance the designated PIO seeks fails to help then he/she would be liable to the same penalties as they were the designated PIOs.

The fear of RTI law amongst PIO is not only because they do not want to share information or the information is not available with their offices but lack of knowledge of the remedies under RTI act make it difficult for them to dispose of RTI applications under stipulated period of time.

The PIOs if properly go through all the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009 surely they would find it much easier to dispose the RTI pleas within reasonable period of time and the innocent citizens would not be compelled to knock the door of higher authorities. Section 5 of RTI act also clearly states that Only PIOs are not responsible for providing information under RTI Act.

Raman Sharma, is an RTI activist and his email id is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The State of Jammu & Kashmir is always in highlights of National News for some or the other. The recent event was big enough to stay in headlines for weeks and months. The breakup of alliance between BJP & PDP was as shocking as the building up in 2014 Assembly Elections. The ideological differences between the two parties were widening up since a year. Going deeper into the reason, one thing that can be seen clearly is the issue of Ceasefire. Mehbooba was in favour of stopping all military operations and build a space in hearts of people. However, the other hand, the situation didn't go well even in the the Holy Month of Ramazan ceasefire.

As we further go in, we find more & more reasons are getting clear. Before that, let us have a quick glimpse how it all started. In the 2014 Assembly Elections, PDP promoted themselves without any coalition. They campaigned against BJP saying BJP is Pro Hindu and Pro RSS. BJP, under leadership of Prime Minister of Modi promised major reforms - Removing Article 370, Having Uniform Civil Code etc.But everything turned blank when there was no clear majority. These reforms were the major foundations on which the party was founded, which were ignored.

History is witness whenever there is no clear majority, there is forceful alliance of two different ideologies that want to be in power and is never stable. PDP which was spreading hatred against RSS, now merged with BJP to be in power. The contradiction starts here. Its nothing new to PDP, since the beginning, Mufti has joined hands with National Conference and a long time with Congress in the past to get in power.

Here who is at stake - The innocent citizens/voters. They are being offered two different sets of promises of two different ideologies, uncertain which will be fulfilled. Hence the trust of Public with the PDP CM is shaken. PDP has quite neglected the common people of the state. Hence there were moments of celebration for people when the BJP came out of alliance and the PDP CM has to resign. If we just see the CM and State Leadership of J&K, it has been dominated by the incomplete tenures of family vested Leaders and Governors' Rule. Most of the leaders have treated Kashmir as a private limited company.

Common People and Civil Societies were not given much importance in the state, however, recently civil society under Jammu Kashmir Coordination Committee aimed to address the pertaining issues called upon a global humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the state to interact locals. Sri Sri is a big influence all over the globe who has initiated the conflict resolutions in Columbia, Iraq and other major parts of the world. Never before in the history of the state, had about 12000 people of all backgrounds of the state come to listen a spiritual leader.

As against the good response by the common people, radicals & some people from mainstream parties portrayed it as Hindu backing of the RSS and seeing people connect to him so much, they fear their old tactics to be in power may not work.  In the end, more than the rulers of the state, the people should be happy. Presently, people in state are more happy with the Governor Rule as they think their voice will get heard and a better sense of security will prevail. Recently, PM Modi assured that his agenda for Kashmir is Good Governance, Accountability & Development for all. If PM is sincere in his actions, he will surely receive the respect and regard from people of Kashmir as of former cadre of BJP especially Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishan Advani.