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What does axing of NSA talks mean to Kashmiris (comment)

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photo credit: indianexpress.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Pakistan’s decision to call off the NSA-level talks with India proves an old maxim for the people of Jammu and Kashmir: Whether the knife falls on the watermelon or the watermelon falls on the knife, it is the watermelon that gets cut.

photo credit: www.indianwhitepaper.com
photo credit: www.indianwhitepaper.com

There have been nearly 100 violations of the 2003 ceasefire by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border in Jammu and Kashmir since January 1.

Ten people have been killed in Pakistani firing and shelling in Jammu and Kashmir while Pakistan claims 10 people were killed in retaliatory Indian firing on their side of the divided Kashmir.

Kashmiris fear the rising tensions between India and Pakistan would reflect in more ceasefire violations on the borders.

Indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan has affected civilian areas, forcing residents of border villages to abandon their homes, agricultural fields and livestock in the past.

Whether or not the two countries allow border skirmishes to get out of control and blow up into a larger conflict, for thousands of people living on the two sides of the border in divided Kashmir any ceasefire violation on the LoC or the international border means ‘War’.

photo credit: indiatoday.intoday.in
photo credit: indiatoday.intoday.in

The politics of brinkmanship by Pakistan that talks between the NSAs, mandated to focus on security, should also include Kashmir has proved self-defeating.

If it was a question of who blinks first vis-a-vis calling off the NSA talks, it was Pakistan.

Its insistence that its national security adviser Sartaj Aziz must first meet the Kashmiri separatists before talking to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval did not go down well with New Delhi.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, had suggested a way out of the impasse that perhaps did not please either India or Pakistan.

Mirwaiz had said that Aziz could begin talking to Doval; he could meet the Kashmiri separatist leaders later.

There is nothing new in either the separatist leaders meeting the Pakistani high commissioner in New Delhi or attending the Pakistan Day celebrations at the high commission.

There is nothing new about Pakistan’s commitment to support the cause of separatism in Kashmir and there is nothing new about New Delhi’s inability to handle the local separatists – sometimes with kid gloves and other times with an iron fist.

In order to keep their dwindling political constituencies intact, most mainstream political parties, especially those chiefly based in the Muslim majority Valley, have remained soft towards the separatists or at least ensure that they are seen to be so.

Having blamed the ruling PDP in the past for closeness to the separatists, the National Conference has suddenly become very soft towards the separatists after losing power in the state.

The recent detention of separatist leaders in Srinagar by the authorities was a fiasco that had to be reversed within less than one hour.

On this issue, there was a complete lack of coordination between New Delhi and Srinagar on the one hand and between the state police chief and the chief minister on the other.

Who benefitted from the confusion?

Ironically, all that has happened in the process is that whether it was intended or not, the stature of Kashmiri separatist leaders has gone up.

The decision to prevent their meeting with Sartaj Aziz finally resulted in Pakistan calling off the NSA talks.

photo credit: www.newsx.com
photo credit: www.newsx.com

Whether Pakistan’s bluff has been called or it has shown India’s inability to handle the separatists remains to be seen.

Millions living in divided Kashmir must continue to lead an edgy, uncertain life.

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UN General Assembly: Pakistan Representative Maleeha Lodhi goofs up, labels Gaza photo as Kashmir’s

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Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly
Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly

United Nations, Sep 24: In a failed attempt to counter India at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi tried to pass off a distorted fact. She displayed a disturbing picture of Gaza and labelled it as the “face of Indian democracy”.

Lodhi was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s description of Pakistan as a “pre-eminent export factory for terror” at UN General Assembly 2017.

The photo, Lodhi displayed at the UN General Assembly to show Indian “atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir was of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom. In reality, the picture is of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, where two Israeli airstrikes hit Rawya Abu Jom, family’s apartment in Gaza.

Exercising the Right of Reply, Maleeha Lodhi accused India of “crimes against humanity” and of carrying out a “campaign of brutality” in the Kashmir Valley. To prove her point, she held the photo of the girl whose face was riddled with wounds.

The photo has been featured in many photo galleries online, including by the New York Times and the Guardian.(IANS)

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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-kashmir
Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS

‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)

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Khalsa Aid: This Sikh Relief Organisation is Restoring Faith in Humanity Since 1999

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women

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Khalsa Aid
‘Khalsa Aid’, an international humanitarian aid organization being run by Sikhs, Source: Khalsaaid.org

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Prevailing scenario across the globe suggests that the cruelty has almost wiped out the humanity and the disheartening greed of human beings has made everyone egocentric. Increasing crime rate, conflicts, corruption, and negligence, are all symbol of this transition.

Despite the widespread selfishness, a Sikh relief organization is fighting hard to preserve the soul of humanity and keeping the hope alive. ‘Khalsa Aid’ is an international humanitarian aid organization run by people of Sikh community and it is setting a perfect example of peace and compassion among people.

This organization works for providing humanitarian aid to the people affected by disasters or are in conflict areas. Started in 1999 in the United Kingdom with UK Charities Commission, ‘Khalsa Aid’ has volunteers all over America and Asia. They have provided relief aid to most part of the Middle East where the conflicts are much serious. They have led their activities in countries like Lebanon, Haiti, Bosnia, Nepal, and Serbia.

In Lebanon and Serbia, the ‘Khalsa Aid’ has been providing food, medical and educational assistance to the refugees there. It also had supplied food aid to famine and drought struck areas of northern Kenya.

Back in 2015, the organization also rushed to Nepal after severe earthquakes hit the country and arranged food and temporary shelters for the affected citizens. It also helped in conducting missions in rubble clearance and building temporary shelters for 250 families there.

Meanwhile, at the time of Kashmir floods (2014) in India, ‘Khalsa Aid’ had actively taken part in relief measures in flood-devastated parts.

 Similar was its role during Uttarakhand floods and the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.

Khalsa Aid helping women in need

‘Khalsa Aid’ has also been assisting Yazidi women, escaped from the clutches of terrorist organization ISIS recently, by providing monthly food rations to 250 women.

Ravinder Singh, founder of ‘Khalsa Aid’ was awarded ‘The Sikh of the Year 2014’ for doing humanitarian works all over the world. His first mission was in Albania border where Khalsa Aid provided assistance to the victims of civil war and genocide.

Though there are only a few people working for the welfare of humanity, yet there is a hope and these people are the flag bearer for the same.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter @sumit_balodi