Today is the 24th anniversary of the worst genocide that India had seen since independence – 24 years ago on the intervening night between 19th January and 20th January 1990, death was what a whole community of about 500,000 population faced and hundreds of them were killed, hounded and eventually the whole community was thrown out of their homes of thousands of years. Yes, I am referring to the genocide and ethnic cleaning of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley, perpetrated by Islamic terrorists and widely supported by the local Muslim majority population.
In late 1989 – “Aftab”, a local Urdu newspaper, publishes a press release issued by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami to wage jihad for Jammu & Kashmir's secession from India and accession to Pakistan, asking all Hindus to leave. Another local paper, “Al Safa”, repeated this expulsion order. In the following months, there were near chaos in the Kashmir valley with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and his National Conference Govt. abdicating all responsibilities of the State. Masked men run amok, waving Kalashnikovs, shooting, killing Hindus and shouting anti-India slogans. Inflammatory speeches were made from the pulpits of mosques, using public address systems meant for calling the faithful to prayers. A terrifying fear psychosis griped the Kashmiri Pandits as walls were plastered with posters and handbills, summarily ordering all Kashmiris to strictly follow the Islamic dress code and forced people to reset their clocks to Pakistan Standard Time. Shops, business establishments and homes of Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of the Kashmir valley with a recorded cultural and civilisation history dating back to 5,000 years, were marked out. Notices were pasted on doors of their houses, asking the occupants to leave Kashmir or face death. In villages and towns across the Kashmir valley, terrorist hit lists were floating around with names of Kashmiri Pandits. With no government worth its name, the administration collapsed and disappeared and the police nowhere to be seen, despondency set in. On 19th of January, the administration imposed curfew in the valley but throughout the day, Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists used public address systems at mosques to exhort people to defy curfew and take to the streets. Masked men were firing from their Kalashnikovs marching openly in the streets terrorising Pandits, who by then, had locked themselves in their homes. As evening fell, the exhortations became louder and shriller. Three taped slogans were repeatedly played the whole night from mosques- 'Kashmir mei agar rehna hai, Allah-O-Akbar kehna hai' (If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allah-O-Akbar), 'Yahan kya chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa' (What do we want here? Rule of Shariah), 'Asi gachchi Pakistan, Batao roas te Batanev san' (We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men). By then 300 Hindu men and women, nearly all of them Kashmiri Pandits, had been slaughtered including the brutal murder of Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, noted lawyer and BJP national executive member, by the JKLF in Srinagar. Soon after that, Justice N K Ganju of the Srinagar high court was shot dead, Pandit Sarwanand Premi - 80-year-old poet, and his son were kidnapped, tortured, their eyes gouged out and hanged to death, Lassa Koul, the then Director of Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar was shot dead. A Kashmiri Pandit nurse working at the Soura Medical College Hospital in Srinagar was gang-raped and then beaten to death. Another woman was abducted, raped and sliced into bits and pieces at a sawmill. Since then as many as 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits had to flee their home and hearth and been reduced to living the lives of refugees in their own country. Two-thirds of them are camping in Jammu and the rest in Delhi and in other Indian cities. Many of them, once prosperous and proud of their rich heritage, now live in grovelling poverty. During the last 24 long years, we have seen a generation passed away withering in the hopes to go back to their homes in the valley and die peacefully in their homeland. This generation that lived the prime of their life in the serene valley had to live their twilight years in horrendous conditions prevalent in uninhabitable refugee camps. They had to suffer the humiliation of being refugee in their own land and still not recognised by their Government and other so-called human rights organisations. During the same time, another generation has born in-exile and grown up without seeing the land from where their parents fled to escape the brutalities of Islamic terrorism, a land they dare not return to, although that land still remains a part of their country. They are acutely aware of the atrocities their fathers and forefathers had faced at the hands of Islamic terrorism and what it means to lose a homeland.
But even after 24 years of this tragedy, on this day neither Rahul Gandhi nor Arvind Kejriwal nor Mulayam Singh Yadav nor Mayabati nor Nitish Kumar nor Lalu Yadav nor Sarad Pawar nor Karunanidhi nor any of the communist leaders or their political parties could find time to remember this humongous tragedy and show solidarity with the Kashmiri Pandits & meet them to share their grief. It was only Narendra Modi whom the so called secular political parties or the media, never tires to call communal, went to meet them in their camps and showed solidarity as well as determination to send them back to their homes. Not surprising, as this community of Kashmiri Pandits don’t determine winners or losers in any election and also are not backed by Fatwa following, fundamentalist, jihadi religious zealots. Therefore, these so called secular politicians and their parties, who were competing with each other for appeasing the Muslim community when 4000 people were displaced during Muzaffarnagar riot can conveniently afford to forget some 400,000 of their country men, who are living as refugees for last 24 years in their own country of origin. An entire population have been uprooted from the land of their ancestors and left to fend for themselves as a weak-kneed Indian state shamelessly panders to Islamic terrorists and separatists who claim they are the final arbiters of Jammu & Kashmir's destiny. A part of India's cultural heritage has been destroyed, a chapter of India's civilisation history has been erased. Had this tragedy occurred elsewhere in Hindu majority India and had the victims been Muslims, the same Govt. and vote hungry political parties backed by pseudo secular historians, intellectuals and media would have described it as 'ethnic cleansing' and 'genocide.' They would have made films with horror-inducing titles and filed cases after cases in the Supreme Court of India. The Govt. also would have constituted judicial commissions after commissions and SITs. Our media would have demonstrated remarkable rage in reporting the smallest detail. But, this tragedy has occurred in Muslim majority Kashmir valley and the victims are all Hindus, that too Pandits. What has been lost and erased is part of India's Hindu culture and civilisation. Therefore, the govt. can afford to make bold, blatantly false statements that the Kashmiri Pandits had "migrated on their own" and their 'displacement is self-imposed'. The National Human Rights Commission, after a sham of an inquiry, refuses to concede that what had happened is 'genocide' or 'ethnic cleansing,' though facts add up to no less than that, never mind that 400,000 lives have been destroyed. And that there is no room for plural society in highly Islamised Kashmir valley. And, our jhola-wallah brigade of secular activists rudely turn up their noses to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits- Hindu sorrow inflicted by Islamic terror, stinks.
Today, on the 24th anniversary of the forced flight of Kashmiri Pandits, do we have the heart and mind to look back at India's wretched history of secular politics and consider the terrible price the nation has paid at the altar of appeasement because the Indian State has and continues to, toe the line of least resistance. Did any Muslim Group ever condemned the mass genocide of Kashmiri Pandits? Which incident took place first- Babri Masjid, Godhra or Kashmiri Pandit’s genocide? Why Hindus can’t retaliate for any incident & why Muslims create so much of fuss even if one Muslim is killed, that too even if he were a proven terrorist? On every 6th December- media, pseudo secular intellectuals and political parties celebrate black day but today after 24 years why does no secular political leader has the guts to speak about Kashmiri Pandits? What is even more unfortunate is the fact that a man-made calamity of such a huge scale has not been given the same media coverage and not aroused the same public sentiment as the Babri Masjid demolition, Godhra riot (though they conveniently forget the train burning which killed dozens of Kar Sevaks which triggered the riot) or the recent Muzaffarnagar riots have. It is ironic that not a single judicial enquiry commission has ever been set up to investigate the exodus and killings of Kashmiri Pandits. The killers have not been punished and rather they are roaming freely in Kashmir and have many supporters in the valley. The root cause of all problem of India is these so called pseudo-secular intellectuals, historians, politicians and the highly biased media. They are like those people in history who cheated their own people and allowed Md. Ghauri’s or British in this country. Truth is stranger than fiction.