Kashmir catches world media attention; Valley Crisis On Facebook, Twitter, Orkut

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Srinagar: After the 2008 Amarnath land row, which killed at least 60 people in three months, the ongoing crisis in Kashmir is again catching the global media attention.The internationally reputable newspapers and magazines, which have covered the recent killings and protests in Kashmir, include the Foreign Policy Magazine, Newsweek, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times (London), The Christian Science Monitor, The Times, Arab News, Al-Jazeera and Los Angles Times.The issues which have been covered, extensively or briefly, by these media organizations include the recent killing of youngsters in Kashmir, the protests thereof, the problems with dialogue process between India and Pakistan, the controversy over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), curfews, Army’s Flag marches in Srinagar, and the joblessness among youth of Jammu and Kashmir.In its report on July 17, The Washington Post, wrote: “The stone-throwing this summer began June 11, when a 17-year-old student, Tufail Mattoo, was killed by a tear-gas shell that shattered his skull, making him an instant martyr. The tactic has a long history in Kashmir, but many here say that this year; it has taken on a new resonance for Kashmir’s youth, who make up 70 percent of the population.”A day before, Arab News wrote: “The first step to peace and normalcy in Kashmir is a normal approach to the state: That is, stop treating it like a war zone and get more than half a million troops deployed there out. Secondly, and more importantly, start talking to both Kashmiri leadership and Pakistan to sort out this mess once and for all. Real and meaningful talks, not the kind of photo opportunities we have had so far. This is the only way to bring peace to this breathtakingly beautiful, but cursed land.”Apart from hogging the headlines in international newspapers, the situation in Kashmir is being discussed and debated threadbare on social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter. Videos of the day-to-day happenings are also being uploaded on YouTube.Com.While journalists, students, academics and others are openly discussing vital issues concerning the state on the networking cites, even the political leaders like Sajjad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference are seen joining in.According to political analysts, Kashmir catches the global media attention for varied reasons. “One that you have a situation that Kashmir figures in that part of the region where you have two big states in the SAARC fraternity, both have fought wars, both possess nuclear weapons. During the Kargil War, there were around 15 threats of nuclear exchange during the Kargil War. This news was suppressed by official media in both countries. So the two countries view Kashmir as something which is to be resolved. Both are committed to final resolution of dispute. For that reason, naturally major countries including USA remain focused on developments in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani, who teaches political science at the University of Kashmir.The second thing, Prof Wani said, “if you take South Asia with inclusion of Afghanistan, the volatile situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan also keeps Kashmir under limelight.” “Many US efforts in Afghanistan are generally focused on Indo-Pak reconciliation because Obama administration feels that unless India and Pakistan’s geopolitical perspectives are not reconciled in Afghanistan, you cannot bring peace to the war-torn country. Kashmir in the strategic community is now being looked at as almost an extension of the larger geo-strategic position inclusive of Afghanistan. In that perspective Kashmir would continue to get of international attention,” he said.He said there are people in the separatist camp who wanted that Kashmir should get international media attention. “Because they feel that unless international community gets involved, you just cannot see a resolution of the problem. But I personally feel that sustained and deeper India, Pakistan engagement is the key to resolution of Kashmir,” Prof Wani said.

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