“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” – Socrates
1. Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019
IAKF welcomes the historic decision taken by India to reorganize the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
To view the Press Release, please click here
2. The author recently recovered from his collected papers an unclassified cable sent in November 1998 by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi to U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown (now U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown) conveying an important message that then U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi, Richard Celeste, had met with the Chief Minister of J&K, Farooq Abdullah, in October 1998. In that meeting the American Ambassador had explicitly brought up the issue of the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley and the Ambassador was told that the state Government had formulated a plan “which includes the provision of land, construction of homes, allotment of livestock, and arrangements to provide special security.” Needless to say, the dream of that township has still not been realized so far primarily due to duplicity and insincerity of each and every J&K State Government that has been in power since.
3. The author is re-appointed to the Civil Nuclear Advisory Committee (CINTAC) in November 2016 by the U.S. Department of Commerce, extending his tenure into the first two years of the Trump Administration. CINTAC members interact with policy advisors from the White House and various federal agencies regarding promotion of civil nuclear commerce and exports.
4. The author is invited by the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (NIC), a Washington based nuclear vendor group, to give a p resentation on the Indian Civil Nuclear Program on 21 July 2015
5. The author is invited by the Georgetown University in Washington, DC to a Kashmir Conclave to address the topic of “Kashmiri Identity” on 14th April 2015.
6. The author is invited by the U.S. Department of State to a luncheon in honor of Prime Minister Modi hosted by the Vice President of the United States of America and the Secretary of State on 30 September 2014.
7. The author is invited by the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Boston, to deliver a key presentation on “Challenges in Promoting U.S. Civil Nuclear Reactor Exports” on 23 April 2014. The paper also includes a section on India.
8. Author is invited by the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute (CAMCSI) of the University of North Texas (UNT) in the first week of April 2012 to speak on the Kashmir issue. The author’s presentation is based on his two decades of research on Kashmir, including his numerous personal visits to Kashmir in the last few years, providing new insight to the long standing issue.
9. Author makes a brief visit to Srinagar in the first week of February 2012 and participates in a number of well organized “discussion circles” involving the civil society, women social activists, leading print media journalists, and other segments of the intelligentsia. Additionally, he met with valley based Pandits, traveled extensively within the valley to visit various shrines, and spoke at a public meeting organized by recently recruited Pandit government employees who have returned from Jammu and are presently housed in Vessu, Kulgam
10. Author is invited by Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar, Prof. Radha Kumar, and Prof. M. M. Ansari, the Group of Interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir (MHA), to a meeting in the Vigyan Bhavan (Annexe), New Delhi, on 23 March 2011 Asked to provide his perspective on the situation in Kashmir and possible remedies, the author presented a detailed assessment captured in a single-page document that vividly displays acuity of the problem and lays the foundation for possible remedies.
11. As President Barack Obama embarks on a historic visit to India, the U.S. Department of State and a U.S. Senator discuss the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, 27 October 2010 Senator Brown: “…. I encourage you to make the Kashmiri Pandits in and from the Valley a part of the President’s discussion …..” Assistant Secretary Blake: “…. We are aware of the hardships faced by the Pandit community who have fled the Kashmir Valley due to persecution ….”
11.a. Conversion of mass destruction weapons to power generating units for the benefit of humanity: Vijay Sazawal. 04 December, 2009 Etalaat News Services
Srinagar, December 03: “In order to create a globally ideal and amicable atmosphere, the need of hour is to convert all mass destruction nuclear weapons to energy producing plants so that people are able to take benefits of the nuclear energy”, said Vijay Sazawal, the renowned personality and Director of USEC, United States, who was delivering his key note special address in Kashmir University today at an impressive function held in Ibn-e-Khuldoon Hall of Kashmir University.
The Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University Prof. Reyaz Punjabi was presiding over the function and Director Information and Public Relations, Khawaja Farooq Renzu was Guest of Honour on the occasion.
The function was on the topic of Global Progress in Nuclear Non proliferation and Disarmament. Professor, Farooq Ahmad, HOD of Physics had organized this function where scientists, scholars and galaxy of personalities and personnel associated with Department of Physics and other faculties of the University were present.
Vijay Sazawal, who is son of the soil belongs to Kashmir Valley and settled in United State for last 34 years and is presently Director of prestigious project in Power Oriented Nuclear Technology in United States. He has worked in different capacities in the field of Science and his contribution has been acknowledged worldwide. He is the strong believer of using the nuclear technology for benefit of human kind. He gave description in his lecture about all the countries of the world who are using nuclear technology for generating electricity, where thousands of MW of electricity is being produced through nuclear energy. He gave ranking of different countries who have excelled in this field.
While delivering his lecture, Vijay Sazawal printed out disastrous effect of nuclear arms and said world realized the devastation of atom bomb when they were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said since then the world is of the opinion that disarmament of mass destruction nuclear weapons should be taken up vigorously. He discussed in detail the various world agreements signed for achieving this goal. He pointed out that Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty SALT-I and SALT-II were important treaties which relate to mass destruction nuclear weapons in the world, we are coming to the level of 1600 such weapons and within few years it may reduce to 500 only in the entire world as a result of various treaties.
Vice Chancellor, Reyaz Punjabi appreciated the work of Vijay Sazawal and acknowledged his contribution. He said his key note address today in Kashmir University was full of knowledge and information and also said that people of the world are fed up with atmosphere of violence and are not in favour of pursuing mad race of the world in producing weapons of mass destruction. He said opinion makers of the world have to work forcefully to ensure to achieve the goal of mass destruction of weapon.
The Director Information, Khawaja Farooq Ahmad Renzu, HOD Physics Department, Prof. Farooq Ahmad also shared their views and said that entire world should be free from disastrous nuclear weapons and world should concentrate on providing such energy from the nature which is beneficial for the mankind.
11.b. India to play major role in NPT Review meet in 2010.
From Afsana Bhat
SRINAGAR, DEC 4 — “India is going to play a major role at the April 2010 summit in Washington,” said Dr Vijay K Sazawal, director, United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC). He was speaking at a lecture on ‘Progress in Global Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament’, organized by the Department of Physics, University of Kashmir, here.
The Global Nuclear Security Summit and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is scheduled to be held in 2010 at Washington and New York, respectively.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during a recent visit to the US, said India would support the conference. This is encouraging,” Dr Sazawal said.
He added that the summit would set the stage for the NPT Review Conference scheduled for May 2010. He, however, described the conference as a ‘test of United States President Barack Obama’s leadership’.
Providing a brief overview of issues that would be discussed during the conference, Dr Sazawal said strengthening of the NPT, signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), irreversibility (no going back from disarmament treaties once a nation commits to them) and fuel banks would be the focal points.
He said campaigning towards ‘nuke zero’ was not an easy task. “Nuclear weapons are a product of World War II. Only South Africa has shut down its proven nuclear weapons programme in a transparent and verifiable manner.” He added that a total of 187 countries had signed the treaty. “North Korea withdrew from the Treaty in 2002.”
He spoke at length about the three pillars of the NPT — disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear technology. He deliberated upon key bilateral treaties towards nuclear disarmament, including the Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (1972), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972), the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (1979), the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987) and the Moscow Treaty (2002).
“Nuclear disarmament is an act of reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. It will lessen and hopefully prevent the possibility of a nuclear conflict, especially accidental discharge of nuclear weapons,” the director said, adding, “India was the first to explore nuclear device without ENR technologies. The Indian nuclear programme is the only one in the world that was initiated for peaceful purposes. It is truly homemade.”
Dr Sazawal also spoke about the prevention of nuclear proliferation through export controls. “Eleven countries possess potential ‘weapons-capable’ nuclear material, but 90 per cent of the stock is either in Russia or the United States.”
Also speaking on the issue, Professor Riyaz Punjabi, University of Kashmir Vice-Chancellor, said, “Proliferation of nuclear weapons occupies centre stage in all discussions. There is optimism that states are slowly moving towards the NPT.” He added that the approach towards international issues should not be governed by sentiments.
Attached is the letter that Senator Sherrod Brown sent to the U.S. Secretary of State regarding Kashmiri Pandits.
A background paper prepared by Dr. Vijay Sazawal, International Coordinator of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF), Canada based Indo-Canadian Kashmir Forum (ICKF), and the London and Geneva based Indo-European Kashmir Forum (IEKF), is provided below:
On October 6, 2009, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote a letter to the Honorable Secretary Hillary Clinton regarding the uncertain future of Kashmiri Pandits.
As you may know, the Indian Prime Minister (PM), Dr. Manmohan Singh, is travelling to the U.S. in November. Before that he travels to Srinagar towards the end of this month. Last month the PM announced a financial package amounting to nearly 1,600 crores for rehabilitation of Pandits with offers of jobs and home grants to lure Pandits back to the Kashmir valley.
Unfortunately, the PM and the Indian government continue to address concerns about Kashmiri Pandits as if they left their homes and hearth due to a natural calamity like a flood or an earthquake. The reality is that these hapless and non-violent people were driven out by a Jihad raging in Kashmir in 1989-1990. When Pandits were ethnically cleansed out of the valley, the majority Muslim community either stayed mute and indifferent, or encouraged their Hindu neighbors to leave out of a genuine concern for their safety, or participated – directly or indirectly – in forcing Pandits out. Whatever way you look at it it was ethnic cleansing. Even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on June 11, 1999 declared that “Kashmiri Pandits were subjected to near-genocide conditions before they fled.”
So how realistic is it to assume that Pandits will return merely by offers of phantom jobs (as the State government has already nixed the idea) and increased monetary grants from the Central Government in New Delhi for upkeep and rebuilding of homes in Kashmir? It is not realistic at all. It is, in fact, a mockery of the justice, and pain and suffering that Pandits have endured in various refugee camps as they saw their culture and collective community headed towards oblivion.
Senator Brown has emphasized in his letter that the J&K State Government has to do much more than distribute Indian tax-payers money to attract Kashmiri Pandits back to the State. It must open up political, social and economic space in the valley for Pandits to return with dignity and without fear of another exodus. It must create conditions so that civil society in Kashmir plays an important part in restoring confidence in the Pandit minority community. The government must restore State cabinet (political) positions to Pandits as it used to be in the past. It must pass the Kashmiri Pandit Temple Management Bill that had been slated for State Assembly discussion two years back and was mysteriously shelved. It must follow-up on recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to J&K Government to pass enabling legislation in the State Assembly to declare Pandits as a minority. But above all, we must all learn from this horrific experience so that such expulsion will never again happen. So a commission of inquiry must be set up to go into ethnic cleansing of Pandits and develop institutional safety mechanisms that will prevent a repeat in the future.
Senator Brown’s letter is diplomatically written to give the Secretary some flexibility regarding how she deals with the Indian government. But he has assured me that he will once again show the same tenacity with the new Secretary of State that he showed in 1996 when, as a Congressman, his led the effort to highlight the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in the U.S. State Department Annual Human Rights Report.
Venue: Mandarin Lounge, Hotel Grand Mumtaz, Time: 6:00 PM. It was an evening to remember. A group of friends – some old and some new – got together with the author for an “off the record” discussion on burning issues of the day. The civil society was represented by journalists and columnists from the Rising Kashmir, Daily Etalaat, Kashmir Images, Chattan, Kashmir Times, Greater Kashmir, Mashriq, Daily Excelsior, Amar Ujala, Asian Mail, Sahara Time, API, and others, including an Institute Director from the University of Kashmir and the corporate communications head of the largest public corporation in the valley. The discussion was lively and vigorous and ended when the hotel threatened to take away the dinner. What were the topics discussed and who attended? Check out by clicking here.
17. News from U.S. Congress (Senate) : 18 June 2007
17.a. News from the U.S. Congress
A concurrent resolution in the U.S. Senate sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio recognizing the plight of Kashmiri Pandits has been an ongoing concern since 1989 and that their physical, political, and economic security should be safeguarded by the Government of the Republic of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir.
17.b. 110th Congress 1st Session S. Con. Res. 38
Recognizing that the plight of Kashmiri Pandits has been an ongoing concern since 1989 and that their physical, political, and economic security should be safeguarded by the Government of the Republic of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir.
17.c. In the Senate of the United States – 18 June 2007
Mr. BROWN submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
17.d. Concurrent Resolution
Recognizing that the plight of Kashmiri Pandits has been an ongoing concern since 1989 and that their physical, political, and economic security should be safeguarded by the Government of the Republic of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir. Whereas Jammu and Kashmir has an ancient culture of religious tolerance and pluralism, and Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians were able to practice their faith in an atmosphere of mutual respect and peace until 1989; Whereas Kashmiri Pandits are the original inhabitants of Kashmir, tracing their heritage and culture back several millennia; Whereas Kashmiri Pandits have been the victims of a sustained ethnic cleansing campaign initiated in 1989 by Pakistan-based terrorist groups, which forced a mass exodus of Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir, many of whom now live in Indian refugee camps; Whereas the Kashmiri Pandit population has declined from 400,000 in 1989 to a current level of only 8,000; Whereas international human rights organizations have failed to accurately report the campaign of intimidation and violence directed against Kashmiri Pandits; Whereas hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit civilians, elected officials, and military personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks; and Whereas Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba, which are Pakistan-based terrorist groups and have been designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, are seeking to drive out Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir and fight the security forces of the Government of the Republic of India: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress–
- condemns the human rights violations committed against Kashmiri Pandits;
- urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism by dismantling the infrastructure for terrorist activities in territory under its control, so that all Kashmiris can live, work, and worship in peace; and
- encourages the Government of the Republic of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits are treated with respect and dignity and are able to safely return to Kashmir.
Stork Monastery Ladakh
Khir Bhawani Mandir
The Sharda Peeth (or the seat of Sharada, the goddess of learning) refers to the Sharda University built at the confluence of Kishenganga and Vitasta rivers (now called Neelam and Jhelum rivers, respectively) by King Kanishka (74 A.D – 144 A.D.). The temple located about 150 kilometers from Muzaffarabad was most likely built by King Avantivarman (855 A.D. – 883 A.D.), since the earliest images of the temple appear on coins of the Utpala Kings. Famed Persian traveler al-Biruni visited Sharda Peeth in the 11th century and noted the importance of the Sharda temple to Hindus, calling it as important important as the Somnath Temple near Veraval in Gujarat.
Mamleshwar Shiva Temple, Pahalgam
Mamaleshwara temple, was built by King Jayasimha (1127 A.D. – 1159 A.D.). It is a small temple, on the right bank of the Lidder. Rajatarangini mentions that the king adorned the temple with golden Kalasha. The larger temple is eight feet square internally and faces south-west. It has in front a porch supported on two fluted colomns, one of which is missing. The super structure has fallen down. No remnants of the ceiling are left. The walls are straight and vertical above the string course. The temple was externally covered with thick coat of lime plaster. It contains an old pedestal and a Shiva Linga.
There is a stone lined tank in front of the temple which is twelve feet square and is fed by a spring of remarkably pure water which at times rises under the site of the temple in front of stairs. The whole place was originally surrounded by rubble stone wall, of which the foundations are visible on the north side. The water of the spring is cold during summer months and hot in winter.