September 26, 2012


[Hundreds of people were disabled in the cross-fire between India and Pakistan, especially during the peak of the militancy in the 1990s, and many families still struggle with the aftermath. Army porters had their legs blown off while running over mines. "You could step out of your house and return with a limb gone," recalled Mohammed Sheikh, 60, who lost his leg in 1999 when a shell landed in his village.]

By Betwa Sharma

KASHMIR -- Shaida Banu attends stitching lessons in Silikot village near the Line of Control on the Indian side of Kashmir. A tailor teaches embroidery and patchwork in a large schoolroom with sewing machines and a chalkboard. Not far is a cordoned-off plot of mines laid out to prevent militants entering from the Pakistan side.
Ms. Banu, 22, wants to support her family by making clothes, but there isn't enough dress material available in this mountainous terrain. "My father is old, my mother dead and my brother disabled -- I feel responsible," she said. In 2001, her mother was shot in the head by a bullet from the other side while herding goats. Two years later, her brother lost his leg to an exploding shell while fetching water.
Hundreds of people were disabled in the cross-fire between India and Pakistan, especially during the peak of the militancy in the 1990s, and many families still struggle with the aftermath. Army porters had their legs blown off while running over mines. "You could step out of your house and return with a limb gone," recalled Mohammed Sheikh, 60, who lost his leg in 1999 when a shell landed in his village.
One hamlet, where most inhabitants have lost limbs, is called "village of the handicapped." Mines are still strewn over the countryside. Over time, disability made it hard for families to earn a livelihood. "I have five sisters to marry off, but there isn't enough money," said Irshad Ahmed, Ms. Banu's 25-year-old brother. Mr. Ahmed, who hobbles about on an artificial leg, earns 4,000 rupees ($80) monthly by doing odd jobs for the army.
There isn't much to do in these parts except manual labor or herding. This is difficult for elderly handicapped men, whose movements are constrained by the dangerous topography. Cars and buses rarely service the routes to far-flung villages on the L.O.C. between Pakistan and India.
The government offers "militancy victims" 750 rupees per month. Those who can't prove their injuries were related to the conflict are entitled to a monthly disability dole of 400 rupees. But the money is slow to arrive for even those who can prove their eligibility. Some disabled men claim that their hair has turned gray waiting for meager relief that was a decade late.
Mr. Sheikh said that even though it is futile, he still goes to make his compensation requests from the local Social Welfare Department in Uri town of Baramulla district, which receives the bulk militancy-related applications because of its proximity to the L.O.C. "I can't afford the fare, and all you do is wait the whole day," he said, leaning heavily on his cane.
The government office is housed in a rundown building with broken windows and furniture. Nobody was there one weekday afternoon except Sushil Bhatt, a young staffer, who sits in a dark, freezing room. Mr. Bhatt said he suspected that more people, illiterate and tucked away in remote areas, still don't know about the compensation program. Women, for instance, rarely file claims. "They are very shy and are not allowed to come so far so we need to reach them," he said.
For years, however, reaching out to injured people was difficult. Officials say that villages near the L.O.C., suspected of harboring militants, were inaccessible for a long time. These high-security areas continue to be controlled by the army. "It's only recently become safe to move, but we still face restrictions," said Mr. Bhatt.
Some people never completed the paperwork to prove they were conflict victims. "They went from pillar to post and then gave up because the procedure took too long," said Mohammed Rather, who oversees compensation for Baramulla district.
Villagers also recall disabled persons dying without ever receiving help. It is often said here that when one handicapped person dies, another moves up the list to get their due.
Tens of thousands of people are also on the waiting list to get the general disability dole of 400 rupees monthly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. "Inadequacy of funds is our main problem," said Jeet Lal Gupta, secretary of the Social Welfare Department for the state. An additional 800 million rupees, split between the central and state government, is needed to cover the pending cases, according to Mr.Gupta.
The monthly sum of 750 rupees is often inadequate for militancy victims to live on or afford proper medical attention. One local official described the amount as "a joke." But the state government lacks the funds to increase the monthly dole or the one-time reparation of 75,000 rupees for the completely disabled.
Recently, however, a local court awarded 1 million rupees to a mine victim. Syed Qadri, a lawyer from the Human Rights Law Network in Srinagar, suggested that handicapped people should jointly pursue litigation. "The government has to be challenged, but people are illiterate or too scared," he said. That may be, but many of the disabled folk living near the L.O.C. also lack the means or knowledge to fight a legal battle.
Meanwhile, up in the mountains, Mr. Sheikh bangs nails into his artificial leg with a wooden plank -- "to keep it going or I cannot walk," he explained. The artificial limbs, provided by the army, haven't been changed for several years. They are held together by tattered cloth, tape and rusty nails.
The distribution of prosthetic legs, like compensation, was haphazard. And there isn't a plan to replace these damaged legs. A handful of aids and appliances, like wheelchairs or hearing aids, are supplied by the government at subsidized rates, but their allocation in outlying areas is random because of the lack of proper records on how many people are disabled. Local officials even recommend outsourcing the job to nongovernmental organizations as the only way of getting it done.
Villagers assert that it's the government's responsibility to make them comfortable because their lost limbs and livelihood are a consequence of a conflict they did not want or make. Money or no money, however, Mr. Sheikh plans to end his visits to the ramshackle building in Uri town. "Too old and too tired," he said.

नेपाल के संदर्भ में चीन और भारत के बीच कोई प्रतिस्पर्धा नहीं : डीसीएम मजूमदार

काठमाणडू स्थित भारतीय दूतावास के डीसीएम श्री जय दीप मजूमदार २४ सितंबर  को रोटरी क्लब अफ पाटन की नियमित साप्ताहिक बैठक में   अतिथि वक्ता के रूप में आमण्त्रीत किये गये थे । अति विशिष्ट व्यक्तियों की उपस्थिति मे उन्होंने अपना विचार ” नेपाल भारत सम्बन्ध – भ्रम और वास्तविकता ” विषय पर रखा ।
उनके अनुसार आम तौर पर लोगों का कहना है कि दोनों देशों के बीच एक विशेष संबंध है । लेकिन उन्होंने ने कहा कि दोनों देशों के बीच  केवल विशेष संबंध नहीं है, यह उससे कुछ ऊपर है  लोगों और लोगों के बिच का सम्बन्ध है, लोगों के रिश्ते को जोडता हुआ उनके सभ्यता, संस्कृति, और इतिहास से जुडा हुआ सम्बन्ध है  ।
जब हम नेपाल और भारत के बीच संबंध की बात करते हैं, तो सबसे पहले दोनों देशों के बीच १९५० में हुइ संधि की बात शुरू होती है । इस संधि के अनुसार दोनो देश के नागरिक को रहने, खरीदने और एक दूसरे के देश में काम करने की सुविधा उपल्बध है । एक नेपाली भारत में राज्य सरकार और केन्द्रीय सरकार में भी काम कर सकता है । यहां तक ​​कि एक भारतीय को भी इस संधि के अनुसार नेपाल में भी वही सुविधा उपल्बध है, लेकिन यह व्यवहार में किसी वजह से नहीं है ।
आगे जानकारी देते हुये श्री मजूमदार ने कहा कि १९५० की संधि मे भारत के राजदूत और नेपाल के प्रधानमंत्री द्वारा हस्ताक्षर किया गया है । आमतौर पर राजदूत के लिए अपने देश के संबंधित सरकार की ओर से संधियों पर हस्ताक्षर करने का अधिकार दिया जाता है । अगर यह संधि आज किया गया होता तो यह दोनों देशों के प्रधानमंत्री द्वारा हस्ताक्षरित होता ।
यहाँ अक्सर सुना जाता है कि १९५० की संधि मे संशोधन की जाय । भारत हमेशा से संधि की समीक्षा करने और वर्तमान वास्तविकता और आवश्यकता अनुसार उपयुक्त संधि को आधुनीकिकरण करने को तैयार है ।
जहाँतक द्विपक्षीय निवेश संरक्षण एवं संवर्धन समझौता (BIPPA) का प्रश्न है तो नेपाल भारत से पहले  ही  फ्रांस और जर्मनी के साथ समझौता पर  हस्ताक्षर कर चुका है । अब यह दुनिया भर में अभ्यास मे लाया जारहा है । अगर एक देश में एफडीआई (प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश) की जरूरत है तो उसे बीपा (BIPPA) को अपनाना होगा अन्यथा कोई प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश देश मे नही हो सकता है ।
नेपाल में लगभग एक लाख पच्चीस हजार सेवानिवृत्त  गोरखा सैनिक हैं जिसे कि भारत सरकार पेंशन दे रही है। नेपाल के दूरदराज के पहाड़ी क्षेत्रों में भी पेंशन वितरण के लिए भारत सालाना  २००० करोड़ का भुगतान करती है ।
जहाँ तक सीमा अतिक्रमण का सवाल है तो इसमे भी ९८% सीमा का सीमांकन हो चुका है और वहाँ कोई विवाद नहीं है । जहाँ कहीं भी अतिक्रमण है तो यह दोनों देशों के किसानों के द्वारा हो रहा है । बिहारके तरफ नेपाल के लोगों व्दारा भारतीय भूमि में अतिक्रमण किया गया है तो यू पी के तरफ भारत के लोगों व्दारा नेपाली भूमि में अतिक्रमण है । यह स्थानिय स्तर पर दोनो देशों के अधिकारियों व्दारा इसका हल किया जा सकता है ।
श्री मजूमदार ८ वर्ष चीन में राजनयिक के रूप में सेवा की है और उनके अनुसार नेपाल के संदर्भ में चीन और भारत के बीच कोई प्रतिस्पर्धा नहीं है ।
कभी कभी खबर में भारत द्वारा नेपाल के सिक्किमिकरण  की बात आती  है तो यह एक भ्रम मात्र है. वास्तविकता यह है कि नेपाल एक संप्रभुसत्ता सम्पन्न देश है और वह भारत से बहुत पहले हुआ है । भारत द्वारा नेपाल के किसी भी  आंतरिक मामले में कोई हस्तक्षेप नहीं है ,  हम एक दूसरे देशों के संप्रभुसत्ता का सम्मान करना चाहते हैं ।