---- Editorial ----
The dream of digital Arunachal
The Arunachal Pradesh Civil Secretariat became the first Secretariat in the country
to be entirely under wireless coverage with the launch of Wi-Fi Local Area Network,
furthering the much fancied Digital India campaign, launched by the centre.
It remains to be seen whether the government transactions will actually become paperless.
But as of now, it seems unlikely.
Most central schemes have gone above the heads of normal thinking citizens. But the
weirdest is pretending to implement Digital India scheme in Arunachal. Arunachal
will nowhere be near anything digital for the next five decades. Most offices do
not have any facility to implement e-governance and many are yet to learn how to
operate a computer in government offices.
Let us not go further. How effective has been the Aadhar enrolment in the state?
People are forced to walk for hours together to have a card because it is mandatory
to have one and those responsible for enrolment are too lazy to walk that extra 50
kilometers on foot.
Digital this and that and now Smart classes in a state where classrooms are crowded,
where there are no power supply, forget about fans in this scorching heat even in
capital town. School buildings are falling apart; there are not enough school rooms,
desks and benches for students. Forget about toilets.
Under these circumstances, how smart is introduction of smart classes or digital
---- Readers Forum ----
Travel to scintillating Shillong this summer
The July is summer vacation for schools. It’s time to escape from the heat of the
day. But it is summer rush everywhere. Parents are hijacked by their children for
a holiday. It is time to meet relatives. Most importantly, the idea is to have fun
while exploring new places, interact with locals, eat and enjoy culture. But the
real difficulty is to choose a right destination. When it comes to holidays, people
from North East have inclined view of going outside. Rich people have natural tendency
to plan for aboard. But North East has plenty of lesser known unexplored destinations.
National Highways have opened up dimension for tourist inflow. Assam being the gateway,
has failed to catch it up the momentum. Nagaland has contributed significantly through
Hornbill. The other geographically isolated NE states are facing difficulties to
attract visitors. Tourists rarely find history amid natural beauty of Arunachal to
their checklist. Mizoram and Tripura are largely inaccessible through road. Manipur
has been crippled by economic blockade of Naga. But neighbouring Meghalaya capitalised
the opportunity for their tourism industry. So does Sikkim, she proved travellers’
We set off the silence of early morning, curving through some of the most magical
moments. It is beautiful Shillong, the most preferred destination as it is easily
accessible through incredible road from Guwahati. A generous menu for breakfast at
Jiva felt very pampered and refreshed for the day. After crossing pretty reservoir
Umiam Lake, it was painstakingly slow while entering city, we found serpentine queue.
Kudos to ShillongTraffic that put the road discipline in order. Nearby Eastern Air
Command peeping through the pine that stands tall as an epitome of India’s defence
establishment. Its golf circuits are one of the oldest and natural in the world.
The entire valley is dotted with thick vegetation. There are old churches embracing
Catholicism. Visitors are mesmerised by the steep hills, glittering waterfalls and
stunning green canyons at Cherrapunji border. Meghalaya houses many unexplored natural
cave that still waiting to be discovered. It was treasured hunt inside Mawjymbuin
cave there. Visiting Rooth Bridge, Wards Lake, Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak are
just a short picturesque drive away.
Despite heavy down pour, it is sparkling bright at Saturday night hangout. The old
buildings still hold the legacy of the bygone era. The famous shopping haunt at Police
Bazaar is crowded and found no way moving even at late night. The Hotels including
Home stay are all booked out during summer. People here are really passionate about
their music. There is no dearth of local talent and Tipriti Kharbangar of Soulmate,
Lou Majow is from this Rock capital of India. We come across good drink and entertainment
at Polo Towers at dinner. Surely it was inspiring and memorable quick trip that could
inspire everyone to visit again to this spectacular view of Khasi hills. Can train
route be introduced to this pristine valley for treasured hunt to witness whistling,
steam-clacking on the misty, foggy track like Nilgiri. Advanced Landing Ground (ALG)
may be fully operational for Air Traffic in the future. Meghalaya may provide ready
accommodations at fairly affordable prices that could open up new vistas for tourism.
It is summer rush in Scintillating Shillong! It’s truly amazing!
Kamal Baruah, Guwahati
Why is Pakistan occupied Kashmir important for India?
Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a self-governing administrative unit of Pakistan
which is passing through the worst phase of turmoil along with that in Gilgit-Baltistan
too - a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir - due to its possible conversion into Pakistan’s
fifth province. And that has gained traction due to China Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) initiative launched by China. While grim situations have had occurred earlier
too in the Kashmir valley but the ongoing chaos being witnessed here are as serious
as the one that actually happened after the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953, which
have already taken the toll of around 9000 injured and 100 dead. Though the restlessness
among misguided youths of the state is not a new phenomenon as most of them are used
to violence and terror, they very often take recourse to lawlessness and anarchy,
like stone-pelting or attacking police, security forces and military in their illegal-immoral
bid to protect terrorists and anti-national elements.
In fact PoK, or Azad Kashmir, is a part of the greater Kashmir region which unfortunately
continues to remain a highly contentious issue between India and Pakistan. The territory
of PoK is situated to the west of India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir which was earlier
a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. But that ceased to exist
as a result of the 1947 India - Pakistan war on Kashmir. Again the territory shares
a border with Gilgit-Baltistan, together with which it is referred to by the United
Nations and other international organisations as "Pakistan-administered Kashmir."
The territory also borders with Punjab province of Pakistan in the south and Khyber
Pakhtunkwhala province in the west. And Azad Kashmir, in the east, is separated from
the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Line of control - the de-facto
border between India and Pakistan.
Considering the sensitive geopolitical nature of Gilgit-Baltistan with respect to
its own security and stability, India is bitterly contesting Pakistan’s gamble of
granting provincial status to this region, thereby aggravating bitterness to the
much thorny India-Pakistan relations. In fact, the region is a crucial land link
connecting CPEC from Kashgar to Gwadar and also to the project. Hence the issue of
Gilgit-Baltistan as a province is of particular concern for India. While integrating
Gilgit-Baltistan as its province by Pakistan may look a win-win game for both Beijing
and Islamabad but it may result into severing Islamabad’s link with Kashmir. It is
believed that Pakistan acquiring a part of PoK may “set a steady precedent” for India
and bestow a “viable fall back option” if it decides to think in terms of the full
integration of the state of J&K. Further, Gilgit-Baltistan’s integration into Pakistan
is bound to consolidate the supporters within India advocating J&K’s full integration
into the Union of India because Kashmir continues to be the lifeblood of Pakistan’s
After asserting its total control over PoK, Pakistan began fomenting all vicious
and heinous troubles and that continues still today. Until and unless there is pressure
on Pakistan in PoK, including Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad is unlikely to mend its
ongoing ways in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian leaders and diplomats must forge close
contacts with prominent leaders of the different regions in the PoK, including Gilgit-Baltistan,
who are living in exile because of Pakistan’s brute and horrific policies; highlight
the cases of blatant violations of human rights in the region; expose Pakistan’s
double standards with respect to the PoK; and extend all out moral support to the
local leaders and people at large in their fight against Pakistani occupation. Fortunately,
with a predominant Muslim population, the region was once highly critical of the
plebiscite demand repeatedly harped by Pakistan. Unfortunately today the region stands
as a tool for protecting and advancing Islamabad’s strategic goals. Being handed
transient structures of governance for decades, the region later became a commodity
of tussle between ‘AJK’ and Pakistan.
Although the incorporation of Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan’s territory may considerably
undermine India’s claim on the region but it cannot altogether remove it, because
irrespective of the unlawful incorporation India will continue to uphold its claim
more vociferously on both parts of PoK as it has been doing since 1947. Though on
the domestic front India’s policy on PoK has been dismissed as being inert and least
assertive since the very beginning but that has been changed by PM Modi. While boldly
raising issues concerning PoK, he (Modi) appears to have redrawn the rules of engagement.
Lately, Gilgit-Baltistan has significantly been elevated into India’s strategic calculations
due to the Chinese foray into the region.
Undoubtedly, the Indian government should consider the complex issue in a holistic
manner by learning from the past mistakes and take innovative and bold measures to
solve this vexed issue. As an option Prime Minister Modi’s initiative of practicing
a muscular foreign policy not only as regards PoK - as was seen during the surgical
strike in the PoK - may prove to be a milestone towards opening for more such actions
to follow towards resolving all such pending complex issues towards their positive
and lasting solution. But, at the same time, the eternal moral values like, peace,
truth, love and justice etc. have no substitutes to invoke upon and use for progress
and welfare of humanity in the world. In fact, no issue, howsoever complex or difficult
it may be, is beyond any feasible solution because everybody wants peace, love, equality
and justice. As there is no dearth of saner minds in the world, sincere and honest
efforts must go on till the final solution emerges because nothing is beyond human
Insincere and inept polity
This refers to your editorial "Time to wake up" (July 11). The issue of Kashmir is
a chronic one, and has festered nearly three quarters of a century. Those familiar
with Kashmir’s history would be aware that violence in Jammu and Kashmir generally
tends to come in “waves”. The centre and state governments have been deliberately
silent till the situation boil and burst. Problems are due to the insincere and inept
polity. Unrest in Kashmir reveals the failures of the ruling People’s Democratic
Party. To be fair to the security forces, they have faced exceptional ferocity from
groups of young people. Slogans are becoming the main instigators of violence even
though sloganeering has been a part of long cherished history of the world. The security
forces do not appear to be following standard operating procedure. Whenever there
is a riot, there are plenty of ways in which the situation can be dealt with. The
country needs a tough law to curb the misuse of information technology. India always
thought that Peace can be made by sincerely addressing to grievances. India must
take its cue from those instances and solve the Kashmiri conundrum once and for all.
Tourism is main business of Jammu & Kashmir , which gives employment & business to
lacs and crores of local people. This business can only flourish if there is peace
Countries across the world must unite to fight terror so that the innocent people
of Kashmir can leave alone in peace and not in pieces. It should also be the responsibility
of every citizen to cooperate government as well as our armed force in the way of
making terror free and peaceful Jammu & Kashmir. Good governance and good policy
will address the problem to a very large extent.
Vinod C. Dixit,
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