Sunday, June 17, 2007

'Operation Sadbavana' : A Slow-moving Peace Process

The Sunday Times - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers have been in Kashmir battling a separatist revolt since 1989. The war has claimed at least 42,000 lives, more than a third of them civilians, according to official figures. Rights groups say thousands more have disappeared.

Pakistan and India, which each hold the scenic Himalayan region in part but claim it in full, have been engaged in a slow-moving peace process since 2004 -- and the average daily body count has dropped as a result.

Once routine tit-for-tat shelling along the Line of Control has also halted, a relief for villagers close to the front. A trans-Kashmir bus service, launched in April 2005, has also been opened to connect divided families living in the two parts of Kashmir. But on the ground, it is still impossible to escape the overwhelming army presence.

Cordon and search operations continue, scores of youth are detained and interrogated each day, and local dailies carry headlines like “Troops thrash trader,” “Another custodial death” and “Protests against troop abuses.”

”It is a fact that no one wants them here. They should go,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the region's leading cleric and a moderate separatist.

“They want to win sympathy and they will never get that.”Srinagar shopkeeper Mohammed Yusuf agreed, saying “heart and minds” public works projects were failing to build bridges with a war-weary public. “Renovating our shrines will not serve any purpose. They will have to change their attitude at the ground level,” he said.

“These are the very troops who raid our houses with their shoes on and speak abusive language,” Yusuf complained.

The Indian army spokesman, however, said 'Operation Sadbavana' (goodwill) will continue -- of course “minus the renovating of shrines and mosques.”

”The army has been building schools, providing computers, constructing roads, bus stands and toilets. They have even been providing health care to hundreds in remote villages,” he said.

“People have also realised that they can prosper by leaps and bounds by continuing to be part of a great country like India.”

1 comment:

Madhvi said...

Poorly written article, with no focus.Is the journo trying to explain to us that the army has not played any role in the valley by putting words in the mouth of a cleric and an 'unknown' shopkeeper.

I have never seen the work that the army has done in the valley, but uderstand that everyone calls it 'sad' bhavna.

But it takes a lot of grith and time and money to do activitties which the army is doing? How many NGOs or religious organisation have come to help poor and physcially challenged people finda living?

Further in India we have somany religion, but it needs to be seen that only mosques are being repaired free of cost by the army and not any temple or church or gurudwara.

Before filing such stories do follow the 5 tenants of journalism on'what, where, why, whom and how'

Sunday, June 17, 2007

'Operation Sadbavana' : A Slow-moving Peace Process
The Sunday Times - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers have been in Kashmir battling a separatist revolt since 1989. The war has claimed at least 42,000 lives, more than a third of them civilians, according to official figures. Rights groups say thousands more have disappeared.

Pakistan and India, which each hold the scenic Himalayan region in part but claim it in full, have been engaged in a slow-moving peace process since 2004 -- and the average daily body count has dropped as a result.

Once routine tit-for-tat shelling along the Line of Control has also halted, a relief for villagers close to the front. A trans-Kashmir bus service, launched in April 2005, has also been opened to connect divided families living in the two parts of Kashmir. But on the ground, it is still impossible to escape the overwhelming army presence.

Cordon and search operations continue, scores of youth are detained and interrogated each day, and local dailies carry headlines like “Troops thrash trader,” “Another custodial death” and “Protests against troop abuses.”

”It is a fact that no one wants them here. They should go,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the region's leading cleric and a moderate separatist.

“They want to win sympathy and they will never get that.”Srinagar shopkeeper Mohammed Yusuf agreed, saying “heart and minds” public works projects were failing to build bridges with a war-weary public. “Renovating our shrines will not serve any purpose. They will have to change their attitude at the ground level,” he said.

“These are the very troops who raid our houses with their shoes on and speak abusive language,” Yusuf complained.

The Indian army spokesman, however, said 'Operation Sadbavana' (goodwill) will continue -- of course “minus the renovating of shrines and mosques.”

”The army has been building schools, providing computers, constructing roads, bus stands and toilets. They have even been providing health care to hundreds in remote villages,” he said.

“People have also realised that they can prosper by leaps and bounds by continuing to be part of a great country like India.”

1 comment:

Madhvi said...

Poorly written article, with no focus.Is the journo trying to explain to us that the army has not played any role in the valley by putting words in the mouth of a cleric and an 'unknown' shopkeeper.

I have never seen the work that the army has done in the valley, but uderstand that everyone calls it 'sad' bhavna.

But it takes a lot of grith and time and money to do activitties which the army is doing? How many NGOs or religious organisation have come to help poor and physcially challenged people finda living?

Further in India we have somany religion, but it needs to be seen that only mosques are being repaired free of cost by the army and not any temple or church or gurudwara.

Before filing such stories do follow the 5 tenants of journalism on'what, where, why, whom and how'