Connect with us

Opinion

Is Kashmir facing a new crisis?

The Kashmir Monitor

Published

🕒

on

IST

By Andrew Whitehead.

June has been a cruel month in Kashmir. As it opened, there appeared to be a glimmer of hope in one of the most enduring of separatist conflicts. The Indian government announced a unilateral ceasefire for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, undertaking not to initiate security operations against separatist militants. More than that, senior figures in India’s Hindu nationalist BJP-led government spoke of the need for dialogue including with political leaders of the separatists – and while those Kashmiris grouped in the Joint Resistance Leadership responded dismissively, they kept the door ajar.
By the end of the month, hopes of a dialogue had been dashed. The Indian government – ignoring the advice of the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state – refused to extend the Ramadan ceasefire. And the BJP, junior partner in the state’s coalition government, also withdrew from the alliance – prompting the resignation of the chief minister, the collapse of the state government and the imposition of a form of direct administration by unelected officials known as governor’s rule.
Amid the turbulence, and intensifying the air of crisis, came a deep personal and political tragedy: the best known and best regarded of Kashmiri journalists, Shujaat Bukhari, was shot dead outside his office in the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar. He was the editor of an English language daily newspaper, ‘Rising Kashmir’, and a voice for moderation and dialogue; he had taken part in some of the informal initiatives, sometimes called ‘track two’ diplomacy, intended to keep channels of communication open across borders, ceasefire lines and political divides. The motive for the killing is unclear – though Indian police say they have identified three separatist militants whom they believe to be responsible – but it is the most politically charged assassination in Kashmir for well over a decade.
The Ramadan ceasefire and Delhi’s stated openness to dialogue with separatists seemed to suggest a new approach. It didn’t last long.

As India approaches a general election – due in the first half of 2019 – its only Muslim majority state, and its most disaffected, is once more in the throes of a political crisis and a worsening security situation. One leading academic export has described the collapse of the Jammu and Kashmir coalition government as a setback for peace. In the Kashmir valley, the young in particular feel that they have no political voice and no agency, adding to the air of volatility.
The Kashmir conflict dates back to the British withdrawal from India in 1947, which was completed without a clear understanding about the future of the princely-ruled state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan believed that ties of religion, culture and geography meant that it should have Kashmir, but the maharajah – who initially supported independence – belatedly acceded to India. Pakistani irregular forces invaded and took control of some parts of the west and north-west of the state – which seventy years later remain under Pakistan’s control. That prompted the first of several wars between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, leading to its informal partition. Both India and Pakistan continue to claim sovereignty over all of the former princely state; United Nations military observers have been based there for many decades without achieving anything of substance.
In 1989, Kashmiri grievances erupted into an anti-India insurgency – which was armed, supported and encouraged by Pakistan. For several years, Kashmir was in effect at war – with hundreds of thousands of Indian troops stationed there to suppress the armed separatist movement, and tens of thousands of Kashmiris losing their lives. By the end of the 1990s, the Indian army had largely defeated the armed separatists and although these militant groups are once more recruiting, they are much weaker than twenty years ago. Pakistan’s support for armed Kashmiri groups has also greatly diminished – though, in India’s view, it hasn’t completely stopped.
Alongside the political tension within Indian Kashmir is the stalemate between India and Pakistan along the highly militarised ceasefire line (known as the ‘line of control’). There are frequent breaches of the line – notably mortar fire – with both military and civilian casualties. While India would probably accept turning the ceasefire line into an international border and formalising the princely state’s partition, that would give Pakistan nothing to show for decades of mobilising for its fellow Muslims in Kashmir.
Adding to the political complexity, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir consists of three distinct regions with sharply contrasting cultures and religious profiles: the Kashmir valley, the most populous part of the state and the heartland of Kashmiri culture, has a population of about seven million and is overwhelmingly Muslim; the Jammu region, with a slightly smaller population, has a Hindu majority; and the much more remote area of Ladakh, with a very small population, has cultural ties with Tibet and is itself divided between Buddhist and Shia Muslim areas.
In the last state-level elections in Jammu and Kashmir, at the close of 2014, the BJP emerged as a major political force there for the first time, becoming the dominant party in the Jammu region. But it made no impact at all in the Kashmir valley, where the upper hand in state elections has alternated between the two Kashmiri nationalist parties, both largely dynastic, which are willing to work within the Indian political system. In those elections, the People’s Democratic Party – sometimes described as ‘soft separatists’ – polled strongly. And against all expectations, the PDP and the BJP agreed to form a coalition administration at state level, with the PDP’s patriarch, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed – who earlier in his political career had been the first Muslim to serve as India’s home minister – as the chief minister. He described the alliance, with only a touch of hyperbole, as like the North Pole and the South Pole coming together.
The two parties agreed a minimum programme for their coalition government which emphasised dialogue and reconciliation, and appeared to suggest a willingness to pursue a political initiative to address Kashmiri grievances. Nothing came of it. And when in July 2016, a young armed militant leader, Burhan Wani – who had become hugely popular through social media – was shot dead by Indian troops, the Kashmir valley erupted in mass protests. Indian troops and paramilitaries responded forcefully. Scores of protestors were killed, and hundreds were injured by the pellet guns then routinely used by Indian troops to disperse demonstrations.
Since then, the level of violence has abated – but the anger of many young Kashmiris has not. For the first time in several years, the armed separatist groups have attracted a steady stream of new recruits. In the eyes of many Kashmiris, the coalition government – led, after Sayeed’s death, by his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti – was complicit in an insensitive and harsh approach to mass protests.
The Indian government’s appointment in October of last year of a former head of intelligence, Dineshwar Sharma, as its interlocutor in Kashmir, was the first sign of a willingness to recognise that Kashmir is as much a political as a security issue. The Ramadan ceasefire and Delhi’s stated openness to dialogue with separatists seemed to suggest a new approach. It didn’t last long.
The alliance between the BJP and the PDP was always awkward – and Mehbooba Mufti was less comfortable than her father in accommodating an ally which was a junior coalition partner but was also, because it formed the national government, hugely more powerful. She has argued forcefully against a ‘muscular’ security policy in Kashmir – and the ending of the coalition lifts some of the political constraints on Indian security forces should they wish to adopt a more determined policy against separatist militants. But the BJP’s main motive in bringing down the state government is probably political: the BJP’s local support base in Jammu had little sympathy for the PDP or its leader, and with national elections approaching in which the BJP’s overall majority in Parliament is under threat, the alliance had become an electoral liability.
The Indian government pointed to the killing of Shujaat Bukhari as an indication that their unilateral ceasefire had failed, and so as indirectly a factor in the breaking of the alliance. Bukhari’s friends believe he would have been horrified that his name was being used to justify the prioritising of a security policy over political dialogue.
Just hours before Bukhari’s death, and largely eclipsed by it, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights produced its first ever report on the human rights situation across Kashmir. Although the UN was denied access on the ground in both sides of Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani, it produced a thorough and authoritative document, detailing concerns about security policy, allegations of sexual violence and custodial deaths, the use of pellet guns and the legal immunity enjoyed by Indian forces in Kashmir. It called for ‘a comprehensive independent international investigation of human rights violations’ in Indian Kashmir. The Indian government promptly rejected the report and its recommendations.
(http://theasiadialogue.com)

 

The Kashmir Monitor is the fastest growing newspaper as well as digitial platform covering news from all angles.

Advertisement
Loading...
Comments

Opinion

Religion and Religions

Avatar

Published

on

By Amir Suhail Wani

Religion, as far as dictionary meaning is concerned is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods” or else as American heritage dictionary puts it “The expression of man’s belief in and reverence for a superhuman power recognized as the creator and governor of the universe”. These two definitions vaguely convey the meaning of religion in general, but it is highly impossible to give a harmonious and comprehensive definition of religion.

The issue of religion is a very subtle one and different people interpret it differently as demanded by their religion. The Islamic concept of religion may not be compatible with that of a Buddhist interpretation and alike the Christian picture of ascetic and celibacy may seem alien to Islam. But one thing that is invariably common in all religions is their allegiance and subordination to some superhuman powers.

 

All religions hold that the mechanism of universe can’t be self-substantial, but needs a divine will, divine power and divine energy to maintain its system. Religion teaches us to bow before this divine will, which permeates the whole universe and even what lies beyond the cosmic edges. By this subordination, religion wants to harmonize our position in the universe and to frame our actions according to the dictums of divine will.

The domain of religion is mainly spiritual, though it aims at the overall wellbeing of humans and aims at helping them to attain highest ideals of life. But before man could master his universe, religion teaches him to master his own self and helps him in unleashing the infinite power that already lies in the matrix of his constituents. The central point all thesis of knowledge be it philosophy, sociology, psychology, metaphysics or religion is man.

All the subjects try to see man from a particular view point and from a particular frame of reference. But religion transcends all frames of reference and analyses man in his totality. It takes into consideration his physical, mental, spiritual as well as metaphysical needs and thus aids him in perfectioning his attitude in this perfect universe. Religion prompts man to believe in supernatural, not on dogmatic basis, but on sound rational and analytic grounds. As Allama lqbal says:-

“Indeed in view of its function, religion stands in greater need of a rational foundation of its ultimate principles than even the dogmas of science. Science may ignore a rational metaphysics; indeed it has ignored so far Religion can hardly afford to ignore the search for a reconciliation of the oppositions of experience and a justification of the environment in which humanity finds itself.

That is why Professor Whitehead has acutely remarked that ‘the ages of faith are the ages of rationalism”. And by anchoring man with supernatural, religion next guides man through this infinite universe. It refrains from piece meal treatment of reality, rather sees reality as an organic whole and it does not see universe merely as a dichotomy of matter-energy but infuses in it a new spirit — the spirit that gives life even to pebbles and stones.

No matter how diverse their beliefs are, I pretend that the followers of all religions will agree upon these characteristics of religion, for they do not belong to any religion but to the religion on the whole. The historical evolution of religion is still another facet of religions that will require large amount of space for full description. But suffice to say that from theist’s point of view, religion was revealed upon the mankind by the supreme deity, to guide their conduct and to escort their transactions with the rest of universe. Time and again, God choose some blessed men and through them guided the whole of humanity from gloom to gleam.

Thus the origin of religion is divine, as opposed to atheistic stand who believe that religion is a social phenomenon which arises purely on the basis of man’s interaction with his universe. The atheists believe that due to his sheer fear of natural phenomenon like thunder, earthquakes and other natural calamities the early man reckoned the concept of divine to interpret these phenomenon. They are correct in saying that man needed explanation for these phenomenon’s and was scared by them. But to say that this fear gave birth to god hypothesis is highly unjustified, for man was already conscious of Supreme Being and thus sought refuge with him.

The lure towards religion and the concept of God is engraved very much in the psychology of man and to say that religion is something which arose as a social phenomenon and was imposed on the nature of man is highly disturbing—. Even most of the world’s greatest scientists were theists and openly confessed that the interpretation of this universe is impossible without invoking the presence of supreme conscious who directs its course. C.S. Lewis wonderfully wrote in The Problem of pain that “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell”. So the existence and acceptance of religion is a universal phenomenon even one may comply with it or not, its worth cannot be diminished. We shall now take up the concept of man in different religions keeping their implications in mind for future use.

Hinduism: – Hinduism is regarded as one of the most ancient religions of the world and in fact its origin is obscure to researchers and scholars. For academic purposes it can be said that Hinduism is the group of religious and philosophical traditions of India that accept the doctrinal authority of the Vedas and Upanishads, comprising the schools Mimamsa, Sankhya-Yoga, Nyaya-Vaishesika, and Vedanta. J.L. Nehru writes in his magnum opus the discovery of India, under the title “What Is Hinduism” that “In this quotation Vincent Smith has used the words ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Hinduised’. I don’t think it is correct to use them in this way unless they are used in the widest sense of Indian culture.

They are apt to mislead today when they are associated with a much narrower and specifically religious concept. The word ‘Hindu’ doesn’t occur at all in our ancient literature. The first reference to it in an Indian book is, I am told, is in a Tantric work of the eighth century A.C., where ‘Hindu’ means a people and not the followers of a particular religion. But it is clear that the word is a very old one, as it occurs in the Avesta and in Old Persian”. He further goes on to say that “The famous Chinese pilgrim I – Tsing, who came to India in the seventh century A.C., writes in his records of travels that the northern tribes that is the people of Central Asia, called ‘Hindu’ (Hsin-Tu) but, he adds, ‘this is not at all a common name … and the most suitable name for India is the Noble Land (Aryadesha)’ The use of the word ‘Hindu’ in connection with a particular religion is of very late occurrence”89.This account compendiously sums the rhetoric aspects of Hinduism. Now coming to its main tenets, we note that Hinduism is based upon diverse beliefs, rituals, customs and practices. Hinduism is also called the Vedic religion as is based upon the teachings inscribed in Vedas. Vedas form the fountain head of Hinduism and are the ultimate sources to which legacy of Hinduism can be traced. Although, it is difficult to fix any timescale for the composition of Vedas, but it is believed that around 1500 B.C., the Vedic age started, when the Aryans arrived in India.

It is believed that the facts mentioned within Vedas are infallible and invariable. It is also believed that Vedas were revealed to early mystics in course if their spiritual discourses, who expressed them in words. Thus it is assumed that the origin of Vedas is essentially divine. As Witzel puts it “We owe the transmission and preservation of the texts to the care and discipline of particular religious, or better, priestly schools (or, sakhas).

It should also be emphasized that both the composition and the transmission of the texts was completely oral for the entire Vedic period and some considerable time afterwards”.Thus the study of Hinduism is essentially the study of Vedas and affiliated texts. For convenience, the Vedas are divided into four main categories viz Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda. Each Veda deals with a particular aspect of human life. Besides Vedas, the religion of Hinduism stands on the texts of Upanishads. One of the most important doctrines in Hinduism is that of the theory of Karma, which states that action and its consequences are inseparable. Any deed, any thought that causes an effect, is called Karma. The Law of Karma means the law of causation. Wherever there is a cause, there an effect must be produced.

(The author is a freelance columnist with bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a student of comparative studies with special interests in Iqbaliyat & mystic thought. He contributes a weekly column for this newspaper that appears every Monday. He can be reached at: amirkas2016@gmail.com

Continue Reading

Opinion

Criminalisation of Indian politics

Avatar

Published

on

Shabbir Aariz

India after independence adopted the parliamentary form of government for it being the largest democracy in the world and a constitution with secular and democratic features as envisioned by its leaders who were part of the freedom struggle with laudable credentials.

Indian parliament was graced from the prime minister to the smallest member by the individuals who were like institutions unto themselves, the feature that continued, unfortunately not very long.
Soon after the first crop of leaders of independent India kicked the bucket, the degenerative metamorphosis of the system started setting in. People like Shashtri and Gulzari Lal Nanda and likes of them suddenly disappeared and the citizenry started suffering. Nehrus and Aazads those adorned the parliament were replaced by Pholan Devis and individuals with criminal background.

 

And as recently as 2018, the supreme court of India in its five judge bench including the chief justice, on a PIL by Public Interest Foundation & others V/S Union of India, observed that the citizenry suffers at the hands of those “who are nothing but a liability” to the country. The said bench however left it to the parliament to make a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter the political stream.

The bench maintained that criminalization of politics strikes at the very root of democracy. This unsettlingly increasing trend of criminalization of politics, to which the country has been witness, tends to disrupt the constitutional ethos and strikes at the very root of its democratic form of government.

The judgement has also come under a great criticism for the reason that the Apex court instead of laying law has passed on the task to the parliament and the critics say that the judgment is disappointing because of the inconsistency and the fact that it “misses the wood for the tree”.

The apex court while sharing the petitioner’s concern about the growing criminalization of polity, which is a threat to the basic structure of the constitution. Still, it has expressed its inability to go beyond what it did, on the ground that it is bound by the doctrine of separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary not to cross the “Lakshman Rekha’. The bench has ignored the precedents which it had set to determine what constitutes Lakashman Rekha. Petitioners had wanted the court to step in as the parliament had not enacted the requisite law to fill the void for so many years.

It was believed that politics is the last resort of the scoundrel and in India this is loud and clear as we see that criminals seek shelter in politics after contesting elections and even getting elected either to the parliament or state legislature.

It is also no secret that nexus between the criminals and some politicians exists.

Criminals need patronage and politicians need money and muscle that comes from the criminals to enable politicians to win elections.

And criminals also directly contest elections. Booths are captured, goons hired to mobilize or suppress turnout, criminals protected from the reach of law, favors showered and the competitive search for underground financing by the parties has made criminals most sought after commodity who in turn have sought space for themselves in the political stream and got it.

Studies suggest that a substantial percentage of individuals with criminal record of serious crimes like rape and murder, over the years have made it to the parliament and state legislatures. There have been political murders in India and the killers controlling the system never were brought to justice. Much of the nexus between the criminals and politicians has remained covert in the past but for the past few years it has not only been overt but also glorified in the ugliest manner.

We are witnessing mob lynching, killings, destruction of properties, humiliations and organized targeting of under privileged and voiceless citizens brazenly defended by the politicians in power. Meanwhile Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, 2008 Malegaon blast accused has been favored with a ticket by BJP for parliament elections in Bhopal.

The scnario does not only threaten the democracy but the basic edifice of India and there are no regrets or remorse for this socio-political degeneration and undermining the very constitution of India. So much so people involved in terror attacks that consumed lives of innocent people, have earned their freedom from the clutches of law through powerful political patronage. Feeble voices against the trend are indicted and gaged. The situation has come now to such a pass that it has attracted the attention of world bodies which have reported their concern on various happenings in India and have linked it to the human rights, which even if rubbished by the ruling class, does not do any good to the image of India.

It is, therefore, high time for the saner India to effectively rise against the menace and brave the adversity as that wrestles with you shall only strengthen your nerves and sharpen your resolve. Otherwise a society which is incapable of ridding itself of such barbarian element is indeed plunging into a primitive state of moral chaos and lawlessness.
(A leading lawyer and eminent poet, author contributes a weekly column. He can be reached at: vaklishabir@gmail.com)

Continue Reading

Opinion

Refractory Brick Kilns operators in the State

Avatar

Published

on

By Bhushan Parimoo

Was it a coincidence or the preponderance which accorded an opportunity to this writer to have privy to a deliberations, providing answers to many of unsolved riddles plaguing the J&K State Pollution Control Board.

It so happened the other day in one of the Office Chamber of the Board at Jammu Tawi. Discussion was between an owner of the daily English Newspaper and the coordinator of the Board, who had come to expedite the clearance of Plastic Bottles Manufacturing Unit.

 

To give legs to the file to run faster he raised the issue as a pressure tactics about the operation of Brick Kilns against norms.

Emphasising upon that he has raised the issue number of times, but things continue to be carried on unabated before the very eyes of the Board. The officer in chair meekly had no answerer to offer.

This refreshed the memory about the lines by Pearl .S. Buck Noble Prize novelist. In one of her novels The Promise “And promises were nothing but words, and words were bubbles of air, falling easily from men’s lips and broken and gone as though they had never been”.

What surprised this writer all the more that the coordinator took liberty knowing well that whole scenario in its totality is known to me as well .Because the matter had been consistently raised at various forum including him by me since 2014. Besides media has been consistently raising this serious issue umpteen times over the years.

It was last September on way to Pilgrimage to Badekali Shrine Handwara, I found Brick Kilns spewing huge quantity of smoke from their chimneys .The emission of  carbon dioxide  cause  serious  polluted air related diseases  beside adverse impact  on the environment.

Same was brought in to the notice of the authorities who concurred with the concern. Beyond it matter continued as it was being carried.

Still on pilgrimage I learnt that Advisor to the Governor Vijay Kumar had already held a meeting at Srinagar with regards to Brick Kilns functioning against Environmental norms, which was attended by Commissioner –cum-Secretary to the Government for Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, the Chairman and Member Secretary of State Pollution Control Board, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and others.

It was deliberated in the said meeting that in Kashmir Division none of 334 Brick Kilns active in manufacturing Burnt Bricks have Environmental Clearance. Badgam has the highest number 212, Anatnag 55, Pulwama 41,Kulgam 21, Shopian 3, Baramulla 2. While as Jammu South 44, Jammu North 85, Samba South 47.Samba 01, Kathua 41, Udhampur 9, Reasi 02. In Jammu Division these are not in conformity with the laid down eco-friendly technology norms.

All Brick Kilns use raw material from agriculture land against the norms. What transpired there in the above referred meeting has not been made public. State Pollution Control Board feigns ignorance about the meeting under an RTI, dated 9 January 2019, but do admit illegal function of the brick manufacturing units. Undeniable fact is that the matter has been deliberated thread bare in the meeting chaired by the Advisor Vijay Kumar.

Thereafter situation remained as it has been before. Now question arises did the Advisor drop hints not to act even as under rules authority is supposed to perform its legitimate duty. Or in other case did he directed to proceed under law which is generally it expected of him in a normal course. Then what made authorities not to act. It is a fit case before National Green Tribunal where citizens can claim damages on human life and environment.

The State Pollution Control Board is the sole authority established to ensure what is guaranteed under Constitution. But the orders of judiciary and National Green Tribunal are not being got adhered to. Commoner neither can afford to establish the unit nor he can influence the clearance agencies to establish these against laid down norms which are spewing death and destruction around? 

How these Units get permission which has to pass through various check and cross check passage to ensure these to be eco-friendly. It is well aware fact that every part of the machinery is well oiled to run it smoothly and noiselessly.

Hapless are the sufferers because civil society most of them retired or businessmen are busy to be in good books of the Government. State do has an act to regulate and control the establishment of Brick Kilns in papers never used. Jammu and Kashmir Brick Kilns (Regulation) Act, 2010, makes it mandatory that No brick kilns shall be established on any land which Is agricultural land; is fit for cultivation of any agricultural produce; has not been declared as Banjri-Kadim in the Revenue records; or is within the demarcated forest area of the State under the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Acts,.

Every application under sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) shall be made in the prescribed form and shall contain the particulars regarding the location of brick kiln, the size and type thereof and such other particulars as may be prescribed. It shall invariably be accompanied by the following documents:, site plan and Revenue extract duly attested by concerned Tehsildar indicating the title, location, status and type of land; II no-objection certificates from (i) Deputy Commissioner concerned; ii) State Pollution Control Board; (iii) Divisional Forest Officer concerned; (iv) Wildlife Warden concerned; (v) Director, Geology and Mining; (vi) District Agriculture Officer concerned;(vii) Block Medical Officer concerned;(viii) Tehsil Education Officer concerned; (ix) The Executive Engineer (PWD/R&B) concerned; and(x) Tehsildar concerned. (6) Before granting licence under sub-section (5), the licensing authority shall make or shall cause to be made a full and complete investigation in the prescribed manner in respect of the application having due regard to the following, namely: (a) the suitability of the locality wherein the proposed kiln is to be established;(b) the number of kilns operating in the area;(c) whether such kiln is not detrimental to the health of general public, habitations, water resources, fauna and flora in close proximity;(d) whether such kiln is proposed to be set up on land which is or was put to agricultural use, save as that the existing brick kilns, if set up on such land, though categorized as “Banjar Kadim”, should be relocated within a period of five years and punitive action shall be taken for non-compliance as per the rules to be framed under this Act;(e) the setting up of brick kilns should be allowed on the areas considered suitable for the purpose without any detrimental effect to the agricultural/productive land.

It is to be ensures  that  every holder of Brick Kiln licence shall abide by the pollution control laws in force and shall take all precautions, adopt such measures and install such devices as prescribed for protection of environment and control of pollution as may be directed by the concerned authority. Air pollution due to dust, exhaust emissions or fumes shall be controlled and kept within permissible limits specified under the relevant laws in vogue from time to time.

And then there are penalties for violators  contravenes or abets contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or the rules made there under, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both. The cognizance of offence no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by licensing authority or any person duly authorized by the Government in this behalf. Apart from it these units are grossly violating Labour laws; incidents have been reported from time to time of bonded labour practices. Welfare schemes are denied to the workforce.

History of manufacturing of fire Baked Bricks in the Kiln is about 150 years old in the state. And the manufacturing procedure has remain by and large same hardly changed .Brick manufacturing had been started by Maharaja Ranbir Singh, in Kashmir during his rule. Maharaja owned a brick kiln which remained a major and assured source of his income apart from other royal revenues.

More significantly it had the name “Maharaji Seer’ (Brick in Kashmiri) .Because of the fact that Maharaja was the sole owner of such manufacturing enterprise.

Making them was the personal commercial enterprise of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The term for the real estate affluence of a Kashmiri, the present writer, believes is the unforgotten phrase “Maharaji Seer” found in many house constructions of Srinagar of the recent past. Small, thin rectangular baked blocks of clay would accord its unique and distinct feature to Kashmir building architecture not seen elsewhere in the state.

This type of brick is still seen in several old houses in down town Srinagar. However, with changing times and use of modern- day European building materials, the houses in Srinagar no longer provide this conventional look of the brick used in their construction.  Any relics still left out must be preserved as state building heritage.(The writer is a Jammu based Environmentalist).

on pilgrimage I learnt that Advisor to the Governor Vijay Kumar had already held a meeting at Srinagar with regards to Brick Kilns functioning against Environmental norms, which was attended by Commissioner –cum-Secretary to the Government for Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, the Chairman and Member Secretary of State Pollution Control Board, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and others.

It was deliberated in the said meeting that in Kashmir Division none of 334 Brick Kilns active in manufacturing Burnt Bricks have Environmental Clearance. Badgam has the highest number 212, Anatnag 55, Pulwama 41,Kulgam 21, Shopian 3, Baramulla 2. While as Jammu South 44, Jammu North 85, Samba South 47.Samba 01, Kathua 41, Udhampur 9, Reasi 02. In Jammu Division these are not in conformity with the laid down eco-friendly technology norms.

All Brick Kilns use raw material from agriculture land against the norms. What transpired there in the above referred meeting has not been made public. State Pollution Control Board feigns ignorance about the meeting under an RTI, dated 9 January 2019, but do admit illegal function of the brick manufacturing units.

Undeniable fact is that the matter has been deliberated thread bare in the meeting chaired by the Advisor Vijay Kumar. Thereafter situation remained as it has been before. Now question arises did the Advisor drop hints not to act even as under rules authority is supposed to perform its legitimate duty. Or in other case did he directed to proceed under law which is generally it expected of him in a normal course.

Then what made authorities not to act. It is a fit case before National Green Tribunal where citizens can claim damages on human life and environment. The State Pollution Control Board is the sole authority established to ensure what is guaranteed under Constitution. But the orders of judiciary and National Green Tribunal are not being got adhered to. Commoner neither can afford to establish the unit nor he can influence the clearance agencies to establish these against laid down norms which are spewing death and destruction around? 

How these Units get permission which has to pass through various check and cross check passage to ensure these to be eco-friendly. It is well aware fact that every part of the machinery is well oiled to run it smoothly and noiselessly. Hapless are the sufferers because civil society most of them retired or businessmen are busy to be in good books of the Government.

State do has an act to regulate and control the establishment of Brick Kilns in papers never used. Jammu and Kashmir Brick Kilns (Regulation) Act, 2010, makes it mandatory that No brick kilns shall be established on any land which Is agricultural land; is fit for cultivation of any agricultural produce; has not been declared as Banjri-Kadim in the Revenue records; or is within the demarcated forest area of the State under the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Acts,. Every application under sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) shall be made in the prescribed form and shall contain the particulars regarding the location of brick kiln, the size and type thereof and such other particulars as may be prescribed.

It shall invariably be accompanied by the following documents:, site plan and Revenue extract duly attested by concerned Tehsildar indicating the title, location, status and type of land; II no-objection certificates from (i) Deputy Commissioner concerned; ii) State Pollution Control Board; (iii) Divisional Forest Officer concerned; (iv) Wildlife Warden concerned; (v) Director, Geology and Mining; (vi) District Agriculture Officer concerned;(vii) Block Medical Officer concerned;(viii) Tehsil Education Officer concerned; (ix) The Executive Engineer (PWD/R&B) concerned; and(x) Tehsildar concerned. (6) Before granting licence under sub-section (5), the licensing authority shall make or shall cause to be made a full and complete investigation in the prescribed manner in respect of the application having due regard to the following, namely: (a) the suitability of the locality wherein the proposed kiln is to be established;(b) the number of kilns operating in the area;(c) whether such kiln is not detrimental to the health of general public, habitations, water resources, fauna and flora in close proximity;(d) whether such kiln is proposed to be set up on land which is or was put to agricultural use, save as that the existing brick kilns, if set up on such land, though categorized as “Banjar Kadim”, should be relocated within a period of five years and punitive action shall be taken for non-compliance as per the rules to be framed under this Act;(e) the setting up of brick kilns should be allowed on the areas considered suitable for the purpose without any detrimental effect to the agricultural/productive land. It is to be ensures  that  every holder of Brick Kiln licence shall abide by the pollution control laws in force and shall take all precautions, adopt such measures and install such devices as prescribed for protection of environment and control of pollution as may be directed by the concerned authority. Air pollution due to dust, exhaust emissions or fumes shall be controlled and kept within permissible limits specified under the relevant laws in vogue from time to time.

And then there are penalties for violators  contravenes or abets contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or the rules made there under, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both. The cognizance of offence no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by licensing authority or any person duly authorized by the Government in this behalf. Apart from it these units are grossly violating Labour laws; incidents have been reported from time to time of bonded labour practices.

Welfare schemes are denied to the workforce. History of manufacturing of fire Baked Bricks in the Kiln is about 150 years old in the state. And the manufacturing procedure has remain by and large same hardly changed .Brick manufacturing had been started by Maharaja Ranbir Singh, in Kashmir during his rule. Maharaja owned a brick kiln which remained a major and assured source of his income apart from other royal revenues. More significantly it had the name “Maharaji Seer’ (Brick in Kashmiri) .Because of the fact that Maharaja was the sole owner of such manufacturing enterprise.

Making them was the personal commercial enterprise of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. The term for the real estate affluence of a Kashmiri, the present writer, believes is the unforgotten phrase “Maharaji Seer” found in many house constructions of Srinagar of the recent past. Small, thin rectangular baked blocks of clay would accord its unique and distinct feature to Kashmir building architecture not seen elsewhere in the state. This type of brick is still seen in several old houses in down town Srinagar. However, with changing times and use of modern- day European building materials, the houses in Srinagar no longer provide this conventional look of the brick used in their construction. 

Any relics still left out must be preserved as state building heritage.(The writer is a Jammu based Environmentalist).

Continue Reading

Latest News

Latest News3 hours ago

Pakistan’s nuclear bombs are not kept for Eid either: Mehbooba hits back at Modi

Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at Prime Minister...

Latest News3 hours ago

Pakistan militant held, vehicle siezed in Pattan

Srinagar, April 22  : A Pakistani millitant and a driver were arrested by government forces at Chainabal area of Pattan...

Latest News3 hours ago

You can do ‘Ilu Ilu’ with Pakistan, but we will respond to them with bullets: Amit Shah to Mamata

New Delhi: Accusing TMC chief Mamata Banerjee of questioning the air strikes to “appease” her minority vote bank, BJP chief...

Latest News4 hours ago

Cong has weakened India’s stand on militancy on several occasions: Rajnath

Jaipur: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said India’s stand against militancy has been weakened on several occasions by...

Latest News4 hours ago

We took bold steps to counter militancy, Cong response timid: PM Modi

PIMPALGAON/NANDURBAR: Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his government took bold steps...

Latest News5 hours ago

Joint Hurriyat calls for valley wide shutdown tomorrow

Srinagar:  Joint Hurriyat leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq and Jammu Kashmir liberation Front (JKLF)...

Latest News6 hours ago

Body of student found under mysterious condition in Srinagar

SRINAGAR :The body of a student was recovered under mysterious conditions from Astanpora area of Rawalpora in Srinagar on Sunday...

Latest News6 hours ago

Sri Lanka identifies ‘National Tawheed Jamath’ as outfit behind blasts

Colombo: A local outfit identified as the National Tawheed Jamath is suspected of plotting the deadly Easter blasts that killed...

Latest News6 hours ago

Yasin Malik’s health improving, likely to be shifted from hospital to Tihar today

Judicial remand ordered, to appear before Magistrate on Apr 24

Latest News7 hours ago

VIDEO: Traders protest in Srinagar against suspension of cross-LoC trade

Traders affected by the suspension of cross-LoC trade by the Centre held a protest march here in the summer capital...

Latest News7 hours ago

Highway ban plea: SC gives two weeks time to GoI, JK Govt to respond

Srinagar, April 22: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to both Central and Jammu and Kashmir governments, asking them...

Latest News10 hours ago

US to sanction India, four other nations for importing Iranian oil

Washington, April 22: The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that...

Latest News10 hours ago

Sri Lanka attacks death toll rises to 290, about 500 wounded: Police

Colombo, April 22: The death toll from attacks on churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka rose significantly to 290,...

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 965,743 other subscribers

Archives

April 2019
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  
Advertisement