Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

Thousands attend funeral of boy in Shopian Kashmir

February 1, 2018 Leave a comment

SRINAGAR: Thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of a 10-year-old boy, Musharraf Fayaz Najar, in Datmudoor area of Shopian, today, amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. At least two rounds of funeral prayers were held to accommodate huge rush of mourners.

Musharraf Fayaz was critically injured on January 25 after a shell exploded when the people were clearing the debris of a house destroyed by Indian troops with mortar shells and

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Full Text: Memo to Nawaz Sharif PM of Pakistan by Farooq Rehmani

July 24, 2013 Leave a comment
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Memories of a Kashmir Winter by Muzamil Jaleel

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

My first memory of winter is of an early morning when I woke up and looked out of the window to see the branches of a pear tree in my grandmother’s orchard surrendering to the weight of snow. I remember everything as white, silent and peaceful as thick flakes fell like cotton. I must have been five or six. For children, winter in Kashmir meant long holidays. With schools shut and the routine work of adults halted for several months, it was always a season of family get-togethers. Read more…

“Kashmir’s Torture Trail” Film by UK TV Channel 4

July 12, 2012 Leave a comment

This documentary shows how Indian armed forces have used torture, rape & molestation of women as a weapon against the people of Kashmir. A must watch documentary for those who want to know truth about the dark side of so called biggest democracy of the world “India”.

Indian Madness in Kashmir from a ali on Vimeo.

Kashmir: A guarded paradise

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Srinagar, June 11: The natural beauty of the Kashmir Valley is an overpowering sight after traversing the 2.5-km bleakly-lit Jawahar Tunnel. Cradled in the midst of towering mountains, Kashmir is a rich canvas of all shades of green, with wild flowers sprinkled liberally everywhere.

All along the way to Srinagar, the roadside is a riot of colours with even the smallest households having a beautiful garden, with roses and pansies in full bloom.

The natural beauty of the land comes as a great contrast to the bunkers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), fortified with sandbags, manned by gunmen and surrounded by rolls of razor wire.

Once inside Srinagar, the state capital, the presence of security personnel increases substantially, with bunkers and riot control vehicles on almost every street and crossing.

“Some sort of unrest happens here almost every day but you don’t have to worry. You are from outside and they don’t hurt tourists,” a CRPF soldier said.

The Kashmiri point of view differs.

“Nowadays we don’t have any problems. The forces man the city and there are no untoward incidents any more,” Jemal, a waiter at a hotel in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, said.

“But now they don’t need to be here in such large numbers. The tourists get scared,” he adds, after a moment of thought.

However, Lal Chowk still bears the scars from several decades of unrest. A bombed out cinema hall turned into CRPF bunker, a CRPF post blackened with fire, the bullet marks on the area’s namesake red-coloured Sanatan Dharma building, which once served as a charity guesthouse for Amarnath pilgrims.

Due to the peace, the tourists have returned to the Valley in huge numbers this year.

Inside Srinagar, the traveller can catch a whiff of mutton and Kashmiri spices being cooked over a coal fire in every street. The Seekh kebabs with a rumali roti are cheap but tasty. For dessert, there are stalls of phirni, sewaiyon ki kheer and kulfi after a day of tasting street-food.

“In Kashmir, you should go for a wazwan if you can. It is a completely different experience. Essentially, the Kashmiri term for ‘feast’, wazwan is also the best showcase of Kashmiri cuisine,” Raja Muneeb, a hotelier,said.

The traditional wazwan is a wedding feast spread over more than 10 courses, ranging from appetizers to dessert.

Then there are the usual attraction of Kashmiri shawls, dry fruits and saffron.

Shop after shop in the local Kukar Bazaar selling saffron, almonds, apricots, walnuts, pre-mixed Kahwa powder and bundles of cinnamon is a huge draw with the tourists looking for the best Kashmiri produce.

Apart from Srinagar, Gulmarg remains one of the biggest draws for tourists. Rolling green grassy mountainsides give way to tall Deodars on the upper reaches, before finally making way for the snow-capped tips. The fact that the place has also been the setting for shooting of many Hindi films also helps lure the tourist.

Home to a mountaineering institute and a golf course, Gulmarg also has the world’s highest Gondola cable car. The more adventurous ones can trek through the virgin forest of Deodar and pine, with rashes of sweet smelling wild roses and lush meadows.

The valley comes out as a land of duality. It is as if the war zone-like security and the paradise on earth have somehow learnt how to co-exist.

The Kashmiri, however, claims that everything is fine and ends the conversation. Quick to laugh or joke, the Kashmiri on the street doesn’t seem to be a violent person. But after long years of hearing about the “Kashmir problem”, the distrust is mutual.

The huge military presence also adds to the Kashmiri’s insecurity. Perhaps we need to bridge his distrust rather than soldier his thoughts.(IANS)

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Renowned Kashmiri Poet Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor

April 14, 2012 3 comments
Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor,Kashmiri,poet,

Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor Kashmiri Poet.

9 April 2012 Islamabad:
The 60th death anniversary of renowned Kashmiri poet Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor was bserved on Monday
Radio Pakistan broadcast programmes to pay tribute to Ahmed Mahjoor on his death anniversary. Read more…

Categories: Feature

Lashkar suspect’s mother: Duo innocent

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

March 2, 2012 By YUSUF JAMEEL            
The two suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives whose claimed arrest from Tughlaqabad Extension in South Delhi was described by Union home minister P. Chidamabaram as “a very important breakthrough” and had complimented the security agencies for it have been identified. They are Tauseef Ahmed Pir and his cousin Ahtisham Ahmed Malik, both residents of Sopore, a town 48-km northwest of Srinagar.

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Kashmiri youths await ‘Eid gift’ amnesty over clashes

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Categories: Feature

From a Torture Centre to ‘Dar-ul-Uloom’ to Techno Hub

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

torture center,Kashmir,

From a Torture Centre to ‘Dar-ul-Uloom’ to Techno Hub

Cargo’s Changing Avatars

Wasim Khalid
The Special Operation Group headquarter building- Cargo- in Srinagar always conjures images of fear and torture. It is entrenched in the people’s memories as a “dreaded” structure.The building surrounded by high walls mounted with coiled razor wires, had remained a ‘horror mystery,’ for the people of Kashmir.

Now as the authorities decided to abandon the building as torture and detention centre, the mystery remains short lived. But it is very hard to rub its history in the two decade long conflict.
People often refer to it as a building which has concealed gory secrets. That structure where militants and innocent both were detained and tortured till their bones would crack. An inaccessible building surrounded by men wearing green puffy jackets and olive bandanas on their heads, check posts, mobile bunkers, and ever gazing eyes which treat each individual as a suspect.
It was the same building where the authorities did not give access to Red Cross to visit the SOG headquarters. According to WikiLeaks, US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees in the cargo building.
But going down the history lane, one thing becomes clear-the state would not have controlled the insurgency, had Cargo not been there. Even if brutal methods were used to achieve that.
Armed with sophisticated technology, intelligence and men at its disposal, it served as the central nerve for police to fight militancy over the two decades to the limit that it is at the lowest in present times.
Origins of Cargo-Anti Insurgency headquarter
With the onset of militancy in 1989, the Kashmir Police was not ready to deal with the high “magnitude problem both, due to infrastructural lacking as well as physiological de-motivation”.
Police sources said in a situation when the cops have to stay back it was paramilitary troops leading the fight against militancy.
“They were alien to the land, though fought militancy, but suffered serious casualty and incurred collateral damage. The levels of the armed insurgency were far from receding, in fact, raised levels were sensed,” sources said.

Following that, the government at the highest contemplated that the fight against militancy could not be won without having the J&K Police at a pivotal position.
In May 1994, sources said a small operational group with less than 30men was found under the command of Farooq Khan as its first Superintendent. The group was stationed at a Cargo building at Haft Chinar, Srinagar, left-over by the old airport administration. The police worked in close coordination with other security agencies to achieve what police terms as “immense success”.
As the workload for the group seemed to be high, sources said the strength of SOG men was also increased gradually. Similar operational groups were established at other places of the valley to cater to the magnitude of the armed insurgency.
Subsequently, it led Kashmir Police to occupy a lead role in counter-insurgency operations. However, sources said as the operational component of the cargo became more involved against the militancy, it came under several attacks.
An attack on December 27, 1999 left an indelible mark on the history of the component. In this attack carried out by Al Badr militant outfit, 14 police personnel were killed including a Deputy Superintendent Ghan Sham.
Controlling Situation and Human Rights abuses
During the earlier years of its establishment, according to sources, intelligence inputs to counter insurgency were low and there was a greater demand from administration to control it. Therefore, the interrogation techniques comprised harsher attitude to yield quicker results. “Thus Cargo police component Srinagar earned a notorious name of ‘dreaded’ torture centre” sources reveal.
During the period also, the SOG was accused of abducting innocents and would release them on ransom. “This compounded the problem, even to the extent it was alleged that middlemen were used to get released the person against money. Everybody involved in it would get share of booty”.
Thus on one hand, sources explain that operational component of Cargo showed “good results” on counter insurgency front, on the other hand it put the repute of the force at stake. “It was realized by police that some good work should be put through to convert the operational strategy into a more palatable one,” says one of the sources.
Significant Changes after 2006
It was a time, when police had become strong both in armed capability and numerically. The government at last decided to put some intelligent officers at the helm of affairs in the Police Department as well as in the Cargo operational component. The first thing the officers did was in the last half of the year 2006, significant steps were taken to alter the “Standard Operational Procedure”(SOP).
This included minimizing the wide area crack-downs. Sources said the police also stopped picking relatives of the militant at least in Cargo.
According to police sources, “militant sympathizers” were not booked and physical interrogation involving “brutal methods” was stopped, adding, “These measures were complemented with adoption of scientific methods of investigations and culling out information,”.
Categorizing Militants
With the induction of reformed policy at Cargo, the authorities also changed the operational procedures to curb the militancy in Kashmir. Militants were divided in to four categories. “Category A comprised of hard core militants, mostly foreigners. Category B comprised of local commanders. Category C comprised of those elements who went in to militancy by circumstances and whose youth was exploited. Category D comprised of fresh entrants.
As a part of policy endeavors, efforts were made to persuade category B, C and D back to the “normal life”. “We used soft skill for this purpose. These skills gained us penetration in to civil society,” sources informed.
Following scientific and systematic procedures, complete modules of the militant outfits were worked out, including the orbit of each single militant. “The orbit comprised of over ground workers, the carriers and conduits as well as the contact group of the militant. Thus a thorough profile of each militant was build,” sources said, adding, “thus hunt for militants became easy without any collateral involvement. Interrogators were specially trained and fed with preliminary information regarding and militants and outfits. Thus while interrogating a subject as much as 90 percent of the information was available with the interrogator and extraction of the rest 10 percent had to be got”.
As the interrogation process evolved, it led to police counselling and “modifying” thought processes of militants. The police said the most important change in interrogation technique was countering religious doctrines of militants- which provided ideological base for them to fight troops.
“The interrogators were often Muslims and well versed with the doctrines of Islam. So this reduced the gap between the interrogator and the subject,” sources said. “The subjects were even fed religious discourses to counter their held view of the extremist version of Islam and de-radicalize their thought process”.
Not only militants, even separatists were counseled for their held “religious views” in Cargo. As a result, the once notorious detention centre was often satirically came to be called as “Dar-ul-Uloom Cargo”.
The police sources claim that reformed policy in cargo bore results as many reformed militants proved to be “good assets”. “Individuals whose offense was deemed somewhat excusable were not prosecuted but instead kept in good humour. These, in turn, proved good assets. This helped improve the image of the police force,” source said, adding, “Besides receiving information from these assets regarding the militant outfits, some desirable inputs were fed to them which helped, to a little extent, gain a foothold over the outfits to reduce their activity,” one police officer explained.
Utilizing Police stations
Another significant step by Cargo, sources said was to involve the police stations to utilize their services and potential for countering militancy. The over ground workers (OGW) were summoned through the local police stations for questioning.
“This gave a feel of involvement and sense of belongingness among the police station personnel with this prioritized sector. They were duly rewarded and awarded for the good work as per their share of contribution. Surveillance was maintained through police stations as well,” sources said.
The whole operational work was streamlined and synchronized it with the normal course of investigation. Police sources informed that a militant activity was treated as a normal crime and investigation as per the legal format was undertaken.
During the period from mid 2006 to start of 2007, the men of the Cargo component also fought the militants. Most notably among them were, Sher-i-Kashmir Park on May 21, 2006, fidayee attack on Standard Hotel at Budshah Chowk on October 4, 2006, fidayee attack at Brein Nishat on April 5, 2007; attack on CRPF camp at Zakoora on July 26, 2007; attack at Dewar Hotel Dalgate on October 11, 2007.
The period from November 2007 to 2010 remained largely without any significant incident till the Punjab hotel fidayee attack on January 6, 2010.
Recently, the authorities in 2012 decided to abandon the torture and detention centre as techno hub for Jammu Kashmir police. Although it is an effort to remove the darkest chapters of Kashmir conflict, it is hard to erase the memories related with the structure.

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