After Â the Secession of Pakistan and Bangladesh, India Faces Another Islamic Land-grab
Both India and Pakistan claim theÂ Kashmir Valley, a predominantly Muslim region. The valley was once a unique and idyllic patch of India, filled with apple orchards and shimmering fields of saffron framed by spiky, snow-capped peaks. Kashmir’s mosaic of relatively peaceful coexistence first began to crack during the partition of British India, in 1947. Sixty years of bitterness, including two wars, have followed.
For decades, India maintained hundreds of thousands of security forces in Kashmir to fight an insurgency sponsored byÂ Pakistan. The insurgency has been largely vanquished. But those Indian forces are still in place, and today they face a threat potentially more dangerous to the world’s largest democracy: an intifada-like popular revolt against the Indian military presence that includes not just stone-throwing young men but their sisters, mothers, uncles and grandparents.
In the summer of 2010, thousands of people defied round-the-clock curfews and burned police vehicles in the streets of the state’s summer capital, Srinagar, shouting “Azadi,” or freedom, and chanting anti-Indian slogans.
The protests, which have erupted for a third straight summer, have led India to one of its most serious internal crises in recent memory. Not just because of their ferocity and persistence, but because they signal the failure of decades of efforts to win the assent of Kashmiris using just about any tool available: money, elections and overwhelming force.Â Read More…
India reimposed a curfew in Kashmir on Saturday and deployed thousands of police officers, officials said, a day after four people died in demonstrations by Kashmiris demanding independence.
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THE DESTRUCTION OF A COMMUNITY
KASHMIRI PANDITS: EXODUS, 1990Â
VIOLATIONS OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS
Fourth International Symposium on
TERRORISM IN KASHMIR
Minorities and Human Rights
May 8, 1993
Sponsored by:Â IAKF, KOA, AIA
The Kashmiri Pandits, an ethnic Hindu minority from Kashmir valley, has been forced to the brink of extinction as a community by the Islamic terrorists, armed and trained by Pakistan. The world must pay attention, as it has to the victims in Bosnia, to the heart rending story of this peaceful community. Their story is in no way less tragic than what we have now come to know about Bosnians. Let me begin their story with the testimony of some knowledgeable persons:
Congressman Merwin Dymally ( D- Cal. ), Congressional Record, Page H-5241, June 6. 1992:
” In Kashmir, terrorists have forced almost the entire minority Hindu community to leave the valley. Over 72,000 families comprising nearly 300,000 Hindus, Sikhs and some moderate Muslims have sought shelter in other parts of India.”
Mary McGrory, Washington Post, August 27, 1992:
” Across the globe in Kashmir, an earthly paradise, other blameless people are suffering hellish persecution not for anything they did but for who they are. The Kashmiri Pandits, a minority Hindu sect that has lived in Kashmir for 5,000 years, would like to go home just as much as Guatemalan peasants. They have been driven off their ancestral lands by the terrorism of Islamic guerrillas who wish to annex Kashmir to the crescent of fundamentalist countries in the area.”
Esytrellita Jones, Amnesty International, India Abroad, August 14, 1992:
” Increasing killings and extortion by the militant armed groups had led to thousands of Hindus fleeing the Valley and living in camps in Jammu.”
George Joseph, United Press International, October 6, 1992 Dateline: Srinagar, India:
” The northern portion of Kashmir, including Srinagar, is now almost entirely populated by Muslims after an ” ethnic cleansing” operation by the guerrillas [Islamic fanatics] drove out the region’s 300,000 Hindus. Many Hindu homes were set ablaze by the rebels.”
The Statesman, New Delhi, July 18, 1991:
” At least 1,000 people belonging to the minority community (Hindus) in the Kashmir Valley were killed by militants and more than 200 were kidnapped and were still untraced since July 31, 1989″.
If this carnage had taken place in USA, it would equal to killing one million people out of a total US population of 250 million. The havoc that the killings have caused to the Kashmiri Hindu community can be gauged by this number. The Pandits are a very closely knit community. As of today, over a thousand deaths and about 500 untraced kidnappings of young women have literally touched most of the Pandit families directly, no matter which part of the world they are residing in. These killings and other atrocities led to mass EXODUS of this community from the Valley . Over 300,000 people had to run for their lives to other cities in India, like Jammu, Chandigarh, and Delhi where they are living as refugees. This is a disaster of an enormous magnitude for the Kashmiri Pandits. It is a question of their lost homeland and their very survival. For them the question now is not of millions of dollars worth of businesses and property left behind, or thousands of ancestral homes looted or burnt, or the number of people killed or women gang raped. It is more basic. It is their identity, ethos and heritage extending over the millennia that is now being obliterated by the terrorists, armed and trained by Islamic Pakistan.
WHO ARE KASHMIRI PANDITS ?
The Kashmiri Pandits are Hindus, also known as Batta (but-ta) in Kashmiri. In 1947, they formed about 15% of the population of the Valley. They are the ‘original sons of the soil’, tracing their origin back to thousands of years, to the very origin of Kashmir ,to the great sage Kashyapa who drained the enormous lake called Satisar and the land that emerged is named Kashmir after the sage. Pt Kalhana’s Rajatarangini ,12th Century A.D, the first chronicle of Indian History by an Indian, bears testimony to this story.
Kashmiri Hindus raised almost all ‘tirthas’ (holy shrines) of Bharat in the valley itself. Thus they have Gangabal for Gangotri, Sangam for Prayag, Sharda, the replica of Haridwara, Koti tirtha – a thousand shrines at Baramulla. They have Bhadarkali in Bhadarkal village, the site of goddess Kali (Calcutta) and they have Khir Bhawani, the holy shrine of Ragnya. Not only that, the Hindus of Kashmir attributed numberless qualities to Vitasta, the river Jehlum of Kashmir, singing hymns in its praise. There is an endless list of holy springs assigned to lesser divinely figures: Verinag Kejnag, Kansarnag, Nilnag, Tarsar, Marsar, and scores of other springs are deeply intertwined in the Pandit mythology and folklore. The Hindu rulers built hundreds of hamlets, bridges and temples, many existing after their names like Letpur by Lalitaditya, Renwor ( Raina Wari) by Ranaditya, Tapar by Tapaditya, Harwan by Shadrawahan, Kanispora by Kanishka, Ushkara by Hovishka and so forth and so on. Kashp-Bhoomi, or Kashmir is so much linked and mixed with the Kashmiri Pandit community, one cannot even think of Kashmiri Pandit being separated from Kashmir.
Every inch of Kashmir valley bears the imprint of the forefathers of present day Kashmiri Hindus. How can they accept their forced exile? The existence and survival of Kashmiri Pandits as a sub-group of Hindus is so closely dependent on their geographical surroundings in the Valley that they will become extinct as a distinct community if they are separated from the Valley for long.
With its liberal and tolerant traditions, the Kashmiri Hindu assimilated, absorbed and integrated the essence of those faiths which came from outside into the valley. The mingling with Islam gave birth to Sufi-Rishi tradition which is an essenlial part of real “Kashmiriat”. ” Truly was it said that the Pandits and the Muslims were two brothers, pursuing two different faiths in perfect mutual affection, respect and trust.” These were the Muslims who could not and did not support Pakistan in its wars with India in 1947, 1965 and 1971.
However, such moderate Muslims increasingly turned into a small minority. The indoctrination which had started way back, from 1947, with the young through Maktabas ( religious schools) and Mullahs from U.P., India, preaching Islamic fanaticism and Fundamentalism, hatred against Hindus and India had began to bear fruit. It was time for Pakistan to change its strategy to wrest Kashmir out of the Indian Union. It started recruiting the young indotrinated adults for training in Azad Kashmir. It trained them, armed them and sent them back to the valley to become a part of the armed revolt which is Pakistan’s proxy war, fought with Kashmiri blood.
PAKISTAN’S PROXY WAR TURNS INTO WAR ON PEACEFUL HINDUS
The first targets in this war were the Hindu minority population of the valley. They were seen both as infidels and killing infidels had religious sanction, and at the same time, they being loyal to India were the symbols of India to be obliterated as targets of Jihad against India.
The war, undeclared at first, started on September 14, 1989 when Pt. Tikka Lal Tapiloo, a well known Hindu leader was gunned down in cold blood outside his home early morning. That was followed by several other murders, Justice Neel Kanth Ganju in broad day light outside a bank in Srinagar in November 1989. A well known Kashmiri poet about 80 years old, Pt Sarwanand Premi was kidnapped along with his son from his home; they were brutally beaten, their eyes were gauged out and the two were finally hanged to death. Over 300 well known people from all walks of life were killed in a very short time. The Hindu community was totally struck by panic.
Coinciding with these gruesome events, posters started to appear in Srinagar and other towns asking people to observe strict Islamic codes regarding dress, food and entertainment. Video shops and cinema theaters were forced to shut down their business, and alcohol was banned. Islamic dress code for women was enforced, much against their will. Time on the clocks and watches was changed from Indian Standard Time to Pakistan standard time; even the Pakistani currency was put into circulation in place of the Indian currency. In other words, Kashmir valley had become a de facto Pakistan territory and with each move, public were coerced to give their approval by their participation. Young men wielding guns and pistols began to be accepted as status symbols in Kashmir, and being called a mujahideen became a real ‘honor’ for the boys and their families.
JANUARY, 1990: JIHAD BEGINS
On January 4, 1990, Aftab, a local daily of Srinagar published a press release from Hizbulmujahdin, one of the major terrorist organizations favoring merger of the J & K State with Pakistan, threatening Kashmiri Hindus to Ieave Kashmir. The Press release declared in no uncertain terms, that those not obeying the directive will be simply annihilated. Alsafa, another daily repeated this warning.
Hysteria about Jihad by Kashmiri Muslims reached a feverish pitch on January 19, 1990 when the JKLF, Hizbulmujahdin and other terrorist organizations declared the introduction of Nizam-e-Mustafa or Islamic rule in Kashmir. Kashmiris were asked to come out of their homes with whatever tools and weapons they had and demonstrate in streets to defy the curfew that the Government had imposed. Street demonstration continued unabated for three days. Jihad became the buzz word in all private and public conversations.
On the night of January 19, all mosques in the valley began to broadcast from the loudspeakers that are used normally for prayer calls, a taped message which ran non- stop twenty four hours for three consecutive days:
” Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, All-ho-Akbar kahna hai”
( If you wish to stay on in Kashmir, you will have to chant nothing but Alla-ho-Akbar)
” Yahan kya chalega: Nizam-e-Mustafa”
( What kind of Law will prevail here: none other than the Kuranic law )
And third slogan which was devastating for Hindu morale was the following:
“Asi gachchi Pakistan, Batao roas te Batanev san ”
( We want Pakistan, along with Kashmiri Hindu women but without their menfolks )
As the campaign for Jihad intensified, so did the campaign of terror against Kashmiri Hindus. Selective killing of known Hindus soon turned into indiscriminate murder of Hindus as a matter of daily routine. Many were killed in a brutal manner in order to terrorize other Hindus. Hindus started getting death threats by phone and by mail. Many found their front doors covered by warnings and death threats and death warrants. In some cases the terrorists simply entered into Hindu homes and ordered them to leave within 24 to 48 hours!
The message of the terrorists to the Hindus was loud and clear: Ralive, ,Tslive or Galive ( Either mingle with us and be a part of us, or run for your life, and if you do neither, then death is your end). Hindu homes became the targets of stoning as well as fire bombing by Muslim terrorists. Hindu women dared not come out of their homes for fear of getting molested or raped. Hindu temples became the targets of fire bombing, grenade attacks and arson. The trauma inflicted on Hindus was not only physical but psychological also. Was it Hitler’s Brown Brigade which was torturing them as they did to the German Jews before launching a full fledged campaign to exterminate them? No, the mujahdin’s were worse, they were not satisfied with just killing a Hindu, they tortured even a dying victim.
Kashmiri Hindu community was paralyzed by the rapidity with which the events were moving. They were convinced that the terrorists really meant to enforce the three options given to Hindus. They could not accept conversion to Islam and join the mujahdin’s in their demand to join Pakistan and be disloyal to India. And the only choice they had was to run for their lives if they wanted to survive. The EXODUS of Hindus had begun. They ran to Jammu, became refugees and to suffer at the hands of bureaucrats and indifferent Government officials.
Today, this community, inspite of its glorious past, its great contribution to Literature, Arts, Temple arhitecture, Science and Philosophy and also to India’s Freedom struggle through its illustrious families Nehrus, Saprus, Katjus, Kouls and so on is on the brink of extinction as a community. They are refugees in their own country. Being so small in number, they are no ‘vote bank’ for the ruling Congress party. The have to go back to their “homeland” in the valley. If present rulers of India fail them in that regard and continue to disregard and ignore them, they have no other option but to appeal to the world conscience for HELP!.
To conclude, the Constitution of India FAlLED to protect the Kashmiri Pandits. The Islamic terrorists VIOLATED all their rights as citizens of free, democratic and secular India, and even as human beings entitled to protection under Human Rights Declaration as promulgated by the United Nations, yet there seems to be no one espousing their cause. Hope this article will enlighten the netters, the US public and politicians about the gross injustice which has been committed by Islamic fanatics, supported by Pakistan, against this small peace loving community.
1. Headlines from local newspaper “Alsafa”, Srinagar on April 14, 1990: “Kashmiri Pandits responsible for duress against Muslims should leave the valley within two days.”
2. Press release of Hizbul Mujahideen faction of Kashmiri terrorists published in the morning edition of Urdu daily “Aftab” on 1/4/1990. The headlines proclaimed: “The aim of present struggle is the supremacy of Islam in Kashmir, in all walks of life and nothing else. Anyone who puts any hurdle in our way will be annihilated.”
3. Hand bill found pasted on the doors of Kashmiri Hindu Homes and the streets of Srinagar by Allah Tigers, yet another terrorist outfit: “Awake and arise Muslims, Run Away Infidels, Jihad is ahead.”