Brighter Kashmir Report
The editors/journalists that met the foreign delegation are Farooq Wani, Rasheed Rahil, Rasheed Rahi, Syed Basharat, Bashir Manzar, Saleem Pandit, Javid Malik, Riyaz Malik, Shabir Ibn Yusuf, Zeenat Zeeshan Faizli and Muhammad Aslam Bhat, Editor Kashmir Despatch Syed Basharat among others.
Srinagar Feb 18: More than dozen Kashmir based newspaper editors and journalists on Wednesday told the visiting foreign delegation that the press is free in Kashmir, Brighter Kashmir reported.
“In Kashmir, the press is free and the journalists are working in a free atmosphere. Though there were some concerns that the media fraternity was facing when the Article 370 was abrogated but they have been addressed,” one editor told the foreign delegation at Grand Place, Lallit in Srinagar.
Another editor told the foreign delegation that there is need of starting the political dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and they also demanded that the statehood should be restored soon.
“Jammu and Kashmir is directly governed by New Delhi. It is imperative that statehood should be restored immediately so that the locals can take charge of the administration,” the editor said.
A senior journalist told the visiting delegation that soon after the Kashmir valley witnessed snowfall this winter, the administrations failed to clear the lanes and by-lanes in the Srinagar city. A third editor also stressed that the Jammu and Kashmir Administration needs to work more rigorously.
“There is a need of bringing more business houses to Kashmir so that there is an overall development in every part of the valley,” the editor said.
“We have already suffered because of the communication blockade that started right after August 5, 2019. There is a need of bringing more investment to the valley,” the editors told the visiting delegations.
One of the journalists also appraised the foreign delegation also about the domicile certificate. “State subject was far better than the domicile certificate. Many people have apprehensions regarding the domicile certificate. Only those people who have been residing here for more than 30 years should be given domicile certificate,” Editor Kashmir Despatch Syed Basharat told the visiting foreign delegation.
The editors/journalists that met the foreign delegation are Farooq Wani, Rasheed Rahil, Rasheed Rahi, Syed Basharat, Bashir Manzar, Saleem Pandit, Javid Malik, Riyaz Malik, Shabir Ibn Yusuf, Zeenat Zeeshan Faizli and Muhammad Aslam Bhat among others.
Other participants told the visiting delegation that the recently held District Development Council (DDC) election was successful. “DDC elections were successful. People participated in good numbers in the election. It is a good start to start the political process in Jammu and Kashmir,” the participant told the foreign delegation.
The foreign delegation was also appraised about the overall security situation in the valley. The participants said that the security situation has tremendously improved. “There are fewer civilian casualties taking place now. The civilians too are not going to the gunfight sites which saw completely declined,” said a participant to the foreign delegation.
The participants said that the main feeling about corruption is that it has taken deep roots in our day-to-day governance. “The corruption should end immediately. It has taken deep roots in every institution of our society. For good governance to flourish the corruption should end immediately,” said a participant.
The participants also told the delegation that the government of India still has to do a lot as far as development of the valley is concerned.
“The investors coming from outside should collaborate with the local businesses here so that the locals get benefited from the businesses that are being set up here,” said a participant.
The participants also said that the Jammu and Kashmir Administration handled the Coivd-19 situation far better than the other parts of India. The foreign delegation was also appraised about the bloom in tourists in Kashmir.
Earlier, the group of envoys from nearly two dozen countries started their two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.
After landing at the Srinagar airport, the delegation was driven to Magam in central Kashmir where they interacted with members of District Development Council, locals and students of a government-run college.
Those on the visit include diplomats from several Europe Union countries who are in the union territory to take first-hand account of the situation and assess the government’s efforts to restore normalcy.
The group of foreign envoys interacted with elected representatives of all political parties on Wednesday. Speaking about the District Development Council (DDC) polls held last year, Srinagar Municipal Corporation Mayor Junaid Mattu said that all the agreed that there were free and fair elections, reports.
“Free and fair elections are the biggest attestation to the empowerment of democracy,” the news agency reported Mattu as saying.
The group of envoys including those from several Europe Union countries are in the union territory to take first-hand account of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and government’s efforts to restore normalcy.
Srinagar mayor also said that the visiting dignitaries were apprised of the “landmark elections of DDC and urban local bodies.” “They wanted to know the ground realities,” he also said. Elected representatives from all political opinions and parties participated in the discussion which was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) on the banks of the Dal Lake.
“The key issue discussed was decentralisation of power and planning, empowerment of the grassroots representatives,” the Mattu also said. “I believe most important thing happening now is the empowerment of local elected representatives at the grassroots level,” he added.
The envoys which has representation from four Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) — Malaysia, Bangladesh, Senegal and Tajikistan — were taken to Magam in central Kashmir amid heightened security arrangements in the city and elsewhere in the Valley, officials said here.
Other envoys included in this delegation were from Brazil, Italy, Finland, Cuba, Chile, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Kyrgyzstan, Ireland, Ghana, Estonia, Bolivia, Malawi, Eritrea and Ivory Coast.
Speaking after the discussion, Juan José Cortez Rojas, Charge d Affaires, Embassy of Bolivia in Delhi, lauded the Centre and said, “What we are realising is that democracy took place here. It is impressive.” He also said that people here are happy with the political decisions taken by the central government.
This was the third delegation that has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir since the government abrogated the erstwhile state’s special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories by carving out Ladakh. The first two groups visited Jammu and Kashmir in January and February 2020.
On the second day of their visit on Thursday, the diplomats will travel to Jammu region for more meetings and interactions.
Ahead of the visit, at least half-a-dozen bunkers of security forces were removed in Srinagar. In the wake of the abrogation of Jammu And Kashmir’s constitutional position, the state had witnessed a massive security build-up so as to foil any public show of resentment. Thousands of additional troops were deployed there to bolster the region’s existing security cover.
Opposition parties such as the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party have, meanwhile, said no invitation was extended to their leaders to meet the envoys.
After their visit to the historic Hazratbal shrine, the envoys from various countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa interacted with artists including Saima Shafi who is trying to revive pottery in the region, social activist Renzu Shah and Shahnawaz, who does calligraphy on Pashmina carpets.
Dr Shaista Ahmed — a musician, Nighat Shahiba — a poet, and writers Nelofar Baz Nehvi, Nighat Nazar and Nusrat Iqbal were also present at the function which was to enlighten the foreign dignitaries about the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.
This is the third delegation that has arrived in Jammu and Kashmir since the government abrogated the erstwhile state”s special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories by carving out Ladakh. (Brighter Kashmir Report)