Rise of armed movement: While Pandits chose to run away to save their lives, the NC, PDP, Communists and Congress leaders and cadres took bullets on their chests for India

A word to Kashmiri Pandits and other Muslim bashers

Rashid Ahmad

It is an undesired subject, and normally should have been avoided to write about. But the way a band of selected Kashmiri Pandits, living on the charities and largesse of self-interested groups and agencies in Delhi and away, are targeting Muslim population in Jammu and Kashmir, it is time to put the record straight and call a spade a spade. The silence from this side is being misunderstood and they assume that they are right in making every kind of noise howsoever nonsense that might be.

Pandits are usually regarded as civilized and dignified people. In their Muslim neighourhood, before leaving Kashmir, they would always be treated with love and respect. In 1990, however, a situation erupted that forced a section of Kashmiri society to leave the valley. It was not a community war but an uprising (armed and civilian) against India for its persistent refusal to granting political and democratic rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pandits were not the only targets. Anything that made India for militants was under attack.

The first person to have fallen to the bullets of militants was Mohammad Yousuf Halwai—a local National Conference leader in Srinagar.

Abdul Ahad Kar, Mohammad Subhan Bhat, Ghulam Qadir Nelora, his son Nazir Ahmad Nelora, Shiekh Mansoor, Hisamuddin Banday, Peer Mohammad Shafi, Ghulam Hasan Bhat, Abdul Majeed Banday, Ghulam Qadir Mir, Abdul Aziz Mir—all sitting or former legislators and ministers and Abdus Sattar Ranjoor included among hundreds of leaders and supporters of pro India parties—National Conference, Congress, PDP and Communists killed in a wave of attacks on pro India politicians and activists after the eruption of militancy in the valley.

The killing of lower order cadres of these parties continues without count. Some years back Ali Mohammad Sagar of National Conference said that around 2000 party cadres, functionaries and leaders of the National Conference were killed in militant attacks. A close relative of Farooq Abdullah, Shiekh Sadiq was also killed in the spree.

Also the first woman to have been kidnapped was Rubia Saeed, daughter of then home minister and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Saeed (late), which gave a huge flip to the armed movement. In the later days, Saifuddin Soz’s daughter Nahida Soz was kidnapped.

The turbulent situation did not force Pandits alone to leave the valley. In fact Muslims more than overall Population of Pandits had to run away for their lives.

The grim reality, however, is that while Pandits found support from all corners including government and civilians everywhere outside the valley, the Muslim families were left to lurch in the streets. Rehabilitation camps were set up and free ration and other facilities were given to Pandit migrants (which they genuinely deserved) besides making special arrangements for the education of their children.

Different state governments reserved seats in medical and professional colleges for Pandit students.

Muslim migrants, on the other hand, were ignored equally by the government and the commoners. They had to piece together their lives by themselves.

In the entire period of 30 years of armed trouble 209 Kashmiri Pandits (as per government statistics) have got killed. Human tragedies cannot be measured only by counting the dead. The loss of any innocent life, indeed any life, is the saddest thing on earth.

No people other than Kashmiris can feel it more.

Unofficial figures say that over 100,000 people have died in Kashmir since January 1990. As Kashmiris are an interwoven society there is hardly any family that has not suffered in one or the other way. So it is not difficult for anyone here to understand the Pandit tragedy.

People in Kashmir still yearn to have them as their neighbours, and many of them are still in contact with one another, and visiting each other.

One however cannot ignore this fact as well that a pampered section of selected Pandits has been engaged in a slanderous campaign against Kashmiri Muslims. They are frequently invited by TV channels in prime time programmes where they spew all kind of venom against Kashmiri Muslims.

Many Pandit ‘warriors’ use social networking websites like facebook to pour venom against the valley people, their religion and religious figures. Some time back Jammu Kashmir Police registered a case against a Delhi-based Pandit—Ramesh Khazanchi—for uploading an anti-Muslim post.

A large number of them virtually celebrated the devastation of Kashmir by floods in 2014. In their posts on social media, they exchanged greetings and complimented one another for the destruction Kashmir witnessed in floods. Praises were showered on “Maa Satisar” for bringing in the floods.

The vilifying campaign has made Kashmiri Muslims “suspects” and “vulnerable” to hate and attacks everywhere outside the state. Kashmir students studying in outside universities and colleges live in permanent fear. They are not only thrashed and beaten up by fellow-students but are the target of police bias as well. Several reports of thrashing and beating up of Kashmiri students in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and other places have come in the media. Several businessmen are reported to have shut their shops outside the state and have returned in fear.

In April, last year, hoardings and posters were putting up on Delhi-Dehradun highway threatening Kashmiri businessmen to leave Utter Pradesh. Account holders of JK Bank branch in Meerat were asked to close their accounts to stop funding to Kashmir.

There is little effort from pro India groups in the valley to counter this propaganda unleashed by the vested interests including Pandits and their sponsors. Even the ruling BJP at the centre too have little respect for them. “Pro Pakistani” and “soft separatism” for them is the invention of BJP people. Despite sacrificing their cadres, leaders, respect and even property at the altar of Indian nationalism, the pro India politicians in Kashmir are still the most dishonoured and disrespected people.

What else could be more humiliating than Prime Minister Narendra Modi snubbing Mufti Mohammad Saeed not to advance advices on Kashmir; Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking for keeping Mahbooba Mufti (as per A S Dulat’s account in Kashmir-The Vajpayee years) away from the podium during his public rally in Srinagar; Threatening Farooq Abdullah that his son Omar Abdullah would be thrown out of the union government should he insist on his autonomy resolution.

While the fact of the matter is that it was not a Kashmiri Pandit but Kuka Parray who fought Salahuddin, and Farooq Abdullah who took on Syed Ali Geelani.

If India is still in Kashmir, it is just because of Kuka Parray, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mufti Saeed, Mahbboba Mufti, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Saifuddin Soz and their brand companies. They are its flag-bearers, not Kashmiri Pandits.

While Pandits chose to run away to save their lives, the NC, PDP, Communists and Congress cadres took bullets on their chests for India. They did not just die for India, their funerals were abandoned and their families had to face social boycott.

Is there anyone in Delhi to acknowledge their contributions? They need to ponder over and answer the question.

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