Er. P.L. KhushuKashmiri Pandits the forcibly displaced community of Kashmir, under Islamic Terror, living as refugees here there or elsewhere in their own country, observed the Balidan Divas on the 14th of September, across the country, including foreign countries, at all the locations they are placed under the circumstances of their forced exodus with mass murders, rape and arson of sorts in the year 1989-90. 14th September is the death anniversary of the first Kashmiri Pandit Tika Lal Taploo who was killed by JKLF terrorists at his residence at Habba Kadal in Srinagar in 1989. Since last 30 years, this day is remembered by all Kashmiri Pandits across the globe as Balidan Divas for paying tribute to all those martyrs who were killed by the terrorists in Kashmir Valley since terrorism begun in 1989. Balidan Divas is observed to pay homage to martyrs, who lost their lives in 1989, when Pakistan-backed terrorists started killing prominent Kashmiri Hindus (Kashmiri Pandits) in Kashmir Valley. In the year 1989, terrorists in Kashmir killed around 8 Kashmiri Pandits between the months of September to December, after which thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the place. Kashmiri Pandits get reminded of their Kashmir which was known as ‘Paradise on Earth’, full of Sufi cult and an abode of tolerance and unparalleled brotherhood. This all broke in one night, the night of 19th January-1990. This paradise of the Pandits became a death trap for them due to the spurt of terrorism backed by Islamic fundamentalism sponsored across the border, when each one of them were caught unawares for no fault of theirs. The dark night of January 19, 1990, shivering with cold, is remembered by all of them, as it was the worst nightmare for the Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley. Screaming from loud speakers and crowded streets was a message for KP’s living in Kashmir, which said, Ralive, Tsaliv , Neti- Galiv. (It meant that either convert to Islam or leave Kashmir and in the alternative face death). Even after about 31 years, Kashmiri Pandits Shiver remembering the night which forced them into exodus and a life of exile within their own country. Jehadi cum communal speeches from mosques were put on loud speakers meant for “Azan & Nimaz”, which would say (“Yeti- Bani Pakistan, Bhatov Bhegeer the Bhatenen-San”), meaning there in that the Kashmir will become a Pakistan without male Kashmiri Pandits, but including women folk of Kashmiri Pandits. The prominent prey in this regard among Kashmiri Pandits were the persons of immense repute, writers, community elders, legal luminaries, press and media personalities, government officers/officials who were on prominent positions in the state administration or were known prominently. The spurt to terrorism had actually given birth in the year 1989 itself, which was taken very lightly by Pandits of the valley, presuming that the brother hood and compassion between the majority community and the Pandits had never received any serious jolt in the past. But it was a myth. On 14 September 1989, Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, who was a lawyer and a prominent leader of KP’s, was murdered by the JKLF in Srinagar. Prominent lawyer Prem Nath Bhat was gunned down on 27th December-1989 in South Kashmir. Soon after Taploo’s death, Pt. Nilkanth Ganjoo, an imminent judge who had sentenced Maqbul Bhat to death, was shot dead. On 29 April 1990, Sarwanand Kaul Premi, a veteran Kashmiri poet was gruesomely murdered. His young son was also killed gruesomely. Several intelligence operatives were assassinated, over the course of January. On 2nd February 1990, Satish Tikoo, a young Hindu Pandit social-worker was murdered near his own house in Habba Kadal. On 13 February 1990, Lassa Kaul, Station Director of Srinagar Doordarshan, was shot dead. This is only a small tale of KP’s who were killed brutally, because of being Kashmiri Pandits. Many Kashmiri Hindu women were kidnapped, raped and murdered, during this period of exodus. In March 1997, terrorists drag out seven Kashmiri Pandits from their houses in Sangrampora village and gunned them down. In January 1998, about 23 Kashmiri Pandits, including women and children were shot dead in cold blood in Wandhama Village. In March 2003, about 24 Kashmiri Pandits, including infants, brutally shot dead in Nadimarg Village. More than 4, 00,000 Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley and took refuge in Jammu and elsewhere, leaving their entire properties and belongings in the valley to the mercy of militants and Jehadi’s. Most of them started living in the refugee camps established in Jammu Province, at places like Muthi camp , Purkhoo camp , Nagrota camp, Kathua camp and Battal Ballian camp Udhampur, etc. All these camp dwelling units of the sizes of 8 x 8 Feet size lacked all the facilities of proper human living standards, having a common facility of toilets and bathing space when the kitchens were located within this dwelling space itself. One can understand the agony of this exodus along with travesty of having lost everything in life, like one’s property, one’s belongings, agricultural lands and orchards, commercial establishments, means to earn a living honorably and above all our own culture which was unique for all of us and was very much dear to us. Most of the KP’s still languish in refugee settlements of 8 x 8, even after more than three decades. More than 1500 KPs were killed by terrorists when most of them after being maimed and tortured in most inhumane ways. Over 800 KPs died due to sunstroke, snakebites in refugee camps at Jammu and Delhi. Over 8000 KP refugees died unnatural deaths while living in sub-human conditions in exile. Thousands of KPs are still living in sub-humane conditions in camps for want of better accommodation. Over 30,000 residential houses, business establishments, shops, small scale industries, were gutted by the Jehadi’s and others in the Valley. Most of the shops of KP’s have been illegally occupied in Srinagar city alone by the local Muslims at the behest of Jehadi’s. About 145 Hindu shrines and temples including Uma Nagri (Brari Angan),Kathleshwar Mandir, Raghunath Mandir, Bhairav Mandir were burnt down by the terrorists in Kashmir. This is only a small summary about the whole story of exodus. There are other horrifying tales too, which cannot be mentioned here because of the paucity of space. The administrative set ups both at the central government and the state government levels never bothered enough to address seriously such a devastation of the KP’s till date. Reason being that we the Pandits are not a vote bank entity for anybody or any political entity in Jammu & Kashmir or outside Jammu & Kashmir. Such an approach on the part of the power corridors of the governance is not only depriving this community of their fundamental rights, but is an extreme act of human rights violation. Kashmiri Pandits want a return to their “homeland”, but not to the servitude of terrorists. Actions initiated by the government of India in the past for the return and rehabilitation of the KP’s to the Kashmir valley were not taken after due consultations with the community members, who were knowing as to where the shoe is pinching in this regard. As soon as such a news with regard to government moves for the rehabilitation of KP’s, became public, Muslim leadership across the political divide in Kashmir valley rejected the return of KP’s to any kind of secured settlements in the valley. This unanimous rejection of the return of KP’s to the Valley by the entire majority populace of Kashmir along with their leadership and the pseudo secularist political leaders of Kashmir, clearly shows that the forced migration of Kashmiri Hindus was not only an act committed by a few, but an organized off shoot of “Islamic Jehad”.Kashmiri Pandits are highly obliged and thankful to Jammu and its people who accommodated them with warmth in Jammu, in that hour of their devastation, where they could find a first place of solace to exist and live. Even as on day most of the displaced KP’s are now living in Jammu and its surroundings with the passionate coverage of Jammu people. All the KP’s are thus very much indebted to the people of Jammu in this regard.Kashmiri Pandits are shrinking in numbers, being scattered all over the country in insignificant clusters. As a race Kashmiri Pandits are certainly declining in numbers after this genocide. Kashmiri Pandits have already beaten enough of their breasts about their forced displacement and exodus and continue to write tales of our experiences with terror and the like, but who bothers, since KP’s are not a vote bank entity for anybody political or apolitical. They count the least for politicians who so ever that are. Kashmiri Pandits tried a lot to have a commission of enquiry about their forced exodus and genocide, but it has not been considered by any authority in power. The biggest task before the present government is to constitute a commission of enquiry for their genocide and exodus. There can be nothing short of that. If it could be done in the case of mass killings of our Sikh brothers during Sikh riots in 1984, why not for our genocide, mass killings and exodus. A judgment by the Delhi High Court in awarding life sentence for the riots of 1984, to one of the prominent political leaders of congress party after thirty years, should open a new chapter for the present government to constitute a commission of enquiry about genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990-1991. The culprits of the mass killings of Sikhs are now cooling their heels in jails as per punishments given to them by the judicial courts. Second most important demand of Kashmiri Pundits is their rehabilitation back in Kashmir, with dignity and honour. A tangible space can be carved within the Kashmir valley, for the creation of the “homeland” for the rehabilitation of the KP’s, which has to be given a status of the Union Territory, with in the Union of India. This space is to be called as the “Home land of KP’s”. It should have separate independent governance absolutely free from any encumbrance. Such a step alone will ensure the safe and dignified return and rehabilitation of the KP’s to their places of birth which they were forced to leave along with their belongings and heritages. How can KP’s under the circumstances of Jehadi terror and hostile atmosphere of even the so called pseudo secularist, get rehabilitated back in the valley, even if it may be within the safe clusters? Can they have a safe and a free movement or freedom? Certainly not.(The author of this article is a chartered consultant civil engineer, who loves his mother land the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir). [email protected]
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