Home » Article, Hameem Jan

#25YearsOfKPExile – A Propaganda with Facts & Events Exaggerated

19 January 2015 No Comment

19th January, 2015 By Hameem Jan

19th January, marked by few Kashmiri Pandits as a commemoration day of their exile from Kashmir. Really!! Exile? Pandits living in Jammu or India are not in Exile. ‘Exile’ literally means when a citizen is not allowed to return to their homeland. No one has stopped Pandits returning to their homes. There are number of measures put in place to actually facilitate their return by the state and New Delhi. Recent disclosure of security budget of 600 Cr for 1.5 yrs showed 1/3 of it equating to 200 Cr was spend on Kashmiri Pandits on top of monthly allocated special relief and grants. 19 Jan as a date itself is disputed though as the migration of pandits took place over months.


Why Pandits Left:

Dec 1989-Jan 1990 saw the mass uprising against India in Kashmir after New Delhi systematically rigged elections and India repeatedly overlooked peoples aspirations. People took to the streets and call for referendum was heard everywhere. In response India installed Governor rule and moved armed forces to quell the uprising. Following Governor Jag Mohan Malhotra taking charge number of massacres of protesters took place and scores of muslims died within days. Pandits were feeling already edgy and insecure and there were sporadic killing of high profile Pandit figures which made things worse. Within next few weeks most of the Pandits left and migrated to Jammu and other parts of India and took shelter in refugee camps. This was a shock to their muslim neighbours as migration happened overnight and it was clearly facilitated by acting administration which was Governor Jagmohan. Migration would not have happened on such a large scale otherwise. There were also continuous curfews for months from january 1990 meaning no one was allowed to leave their house, shoot at sight orders were in place so How did ~two hundred thousand people disappear from their homes without the help of acting administration (Governor Jag Mohan)? 1989 census shows the number of Kashmiri pandits around #150,000.This migration estimated 100,000 Pandits was orchestrated by JagMohan to send a message across India that it is not an uprising against injustice or freedom movement but hindu-muslim rioting in Kashmir which most of the Indians still believe was the case. This helped him set up draconian measures AFSPA(Armed Forces Special Powers Act) to curb the uprising and crush armed insurgency. While number of massacres took place over next few months(Gaw Kadal, Tengpoora, Zakoora and others) by Indian Forces, Indian public was kept in the dark by Indian media labelling incidents as infiltration,encounters and rioting. While all Kashmiri Hindus,Muslims and Sikhs suffered to the brink, Indian army,BSF,CRPF,police and politicians reaped the benefits of status quo with medals and cash rewards for every encounter and death. Army generals scammmed and drained India via arms scams and tenders amassing millions throughout last 25 years.

Events,Facts & What followed:
As summer dawned and intense heat made living conditions of poor pandits living in tents in jammu worse,their muslim brethren in Kashmir were experiencing a different kind of misery which was crack downs,beating,killing, rapes as well as enforced disappearances as a collective punishment for raising voice against India. On each day 30-50 Kashmiri muslims were killed by Indian Armed forces in the name of war against terror for next 5 years while total no of Pandits who died is ~220 total until now.(state released figures). Number of Kashmiri Muslims dead so far is between 80,000 to 97,000.

In Batapora a village 5 kms from Anantnag District which was adjoining village to where i lived 15-20 pandit families who lived there also migrated overnight. There was no attack or threats made to them as the pandit families who didn’t leave are a testimony to this. These families are also caretakers of a temple in this area which is well looked after. Muslim neighbours looked after empty houses and land of pandits over next few years and then the Army took over these houses and turned this village into a garrisson unleashing terror on neighbouring villages. This happened everywhere wherever empty pandit houses or businesses were and armed forces paid rent to Pandit families. They became barracks & torture chambers as Kashmir turned into the most militarised place in the world. I also migrated along with my family in following years of 1990 as continuous harassment by Indian Army and its Militia Ikhwan was getting unbearable.

Thousands of Kashmiri muslim families migrated to POK (Pak adminstered Kashmir)from rural Kashmir & line of control regions due to continous harrassment by indian armed forces. Regular barging into houses of people by army, beating and arresting male inmates and harassing female folk was a routine. UN estimates 1.2 million muslim kashmiries living in Pakistan who migrated from Indian controlled territory to escape suffering unleashed by Indian Army. 200,000 are estimated to have been killed in Jammu region by Indian Army post independence era India(1948). This massacre changed the demographics of muslim majority Jammu to Hindu majority Jammu. Horned Moon -Book by Ian Stephens documents this.

Why are Pandits not returning to Kashmir:
Is it Insecurity? Maybe .Uprooting of families again from where they are settled? Yes
Loss of benefits and reservations across India? Yes

Pandit families who left valley were registered as migrants in Jammu and India.
Migrant registration meant monthly relief as cash and ration. Accommodation arrangements and allocation of land at subsidised prices across India plus reserved free seats for migrant students across Indian colleges and universities was sanctioned. Muslim families who had faced similar or worst circumstances had to sell their land back home to support themselves for decades of suffering. Muslim migrants were not allowed to register as migrants. A clear systematic prejudice and injustice based on religion against Kashmiri muslims.

What Next:
Pandit migration is a tragedy but it was not orchestrated by Kashmiris. It is also unfair to call pandit migration ‘Exile’ because it is not. Pandits are visiting valley now and feel safe in Kashmir but return to India as they have set up their lives where ever they live. Kashmiri muslim migrants who are in Exile are living on other side of line of control now and can’t return to see their families they left behind following mass migrations from 1948 to 1980.Their number is 4-6 times that of total pandit population of Kashmir. India continues to refuse issuing them visas/permits to return to their homeland. They sit everyday on the other side of fence or river to see their family members from this side for decades now. GharWapsi for them is a right they must be allowed to exercise.
I also want to perform GharWapsi even though my parents house is purely bricks and mortar now but i am happy to take GharWapsi on my own and without the help of state relief and rehabilitation packages.

Indian public must acknowledge that muslims in J&K have suffered the most at the hands of their army whether that was in Jammu in 1948(200,000-250,000 killed) or over last 3 decades in Kashmir valley(~96,000) deaths. This is a fact.Every second house in Kashmir has a death tale to tell if one has guts to listen.Just knock on few doors on your next holiday trip to Kashmir. People in India must look at the Kashmir from the humanitarian prism rather than nationalistic and India-Pak prism then only they will be able to see the reality and break away from what right wing politicians and their corporate media hubs are feeding them. Kashmir must be allowed to decide its own future. J&K must not be treated as a toy which two toddlers(India-Pak) can fight for.It is for its own people to decide what they want and it is their birth right and that must be allowed and facilitated under UN observation

Pandits should not allow the politicians to merely see them as a vote bank and exploit their plight like BJP did in recent election and brainwash them with propaganda.Few organisations who claim to be representatives of Kashmiri Pandits and advocate divisive Israel settler style policies must be shunned by Pandits as they only create divide. Pandits must get a voice of their own and not let RSS BJP speak for them via divisive organisations like Panun Kashmir.It will be their Kashmiri muslim friends and neighbours who will help them rehabilitate in the end.

A suffering is a suffering and should not be termed as your or mine.Selective outrage, selective Freedom of speech or selective freedom of expression brings to light only hypocrisy. So every time we commemorate migration it must be collective, every time we mourn dead it must be all of our dead and every time we call for justice, call has to be for justice for all.

Hameem Jan @HameemYJ is a Political Editor of www.TIMESOFKASHMIR.com. Views expressed are his own.

Hameem Jan has also written Pandits or Bandits highlighting high jacking of plight of Kashmiri Pandits for propaganda by right wing RSS and BJP.

Leave your response!

You must be logged in to post a comment.