Kashmiri Pandits – the Victims of Denial
By Mahesh KaulA lot of hue and cry was raised by the J&K government by creating the so called Apex Committee to oversee the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Hindus to their original habitat Kashmir. The atmosphere was ripe with the speculation of permutations and combinations that may emerge to send the Kashmiri Hindus back to Kashmir without realizing that the Kashmir which they had left to highlight the incompetence and impotence of the Indian political class and the Indian state to protect the rights of the minority in all respects in the Muslim majority state of J&K is today in the hard grip of the forces representing the fascist and Talibanised culture. And above all the politics of exclusion is the cardinal principle of the political establishment in the state in terms of the minority rights which has trampled the Indian nationalism in every sphere.
Two decades have passed as far as the forced exodus and ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits is concerned but it is unfortunately shocking that this genocide has been trivialized by not correctly interpreting the fall out of this national shame. The Internal displacement of the Kashmiri Hindus has been trivialized by the Indian state in terms of economics. Without analyzing the real mindset and the contours of the ethnic cleansing inflicted on the community, the Central government is treating the community as the victims of the natural calamities like flood, earthquake, etc. It is a problem that has vast religious, political and social dimensions that make it a case fit for national shame . It is sad on the part of media and political establishment of the Indian nation that secularism and democracy has been compromised in the J&K state for bailing out the majority community of the valley who could not protect the social structure of the valley as a whole. 1984 riots and the Godhra episode in 2002 have been accepted by the political parties across spectrum as the shameful fate of secular India. But the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kashmiri Hindus has not been accepted by the Indian state as the failure of the Indian secularism in J&K.
Commissions were constituted to look into the factors and forces that led the nation to the disgrace during 1984 and 2002 riots but none of that ilk has ever been constituted in J&K to look into the events and factors that forced the minority community of the Kashmiri Pandits to live as refugees in their own state and own country. Indian Policy makers and hence the Indian state is still in the state of denial and refusing the expulsion of the Kashmiri Pandits as a national shame. Moreover, it is in a state of denial to accept the religious, social and political fault lines in the state that have reduced the minorities as perpetual hostages to the majority to squeeze as much benefits as it can in the name of pseudo secularism and so called myth ‘Kashmiriyat’.
The bonhomie which the political class is enjoying with the vested interests in J&K and the fringe elements in the community are trying to create a myth called ‘Kashmiriyat’ - It is a misnomer and more or less the political counterpart of the pseudo-secularism propagated by the left-liberal intellectual discourse in the Indian polity.
The fraction of the Kashmiri Hindus(Pandits) perhaps a few thousand or even less who are living a life of second class citizens in Kashmir have been threatened to abdicate so that the process of Islamisation of the Kashmir Valley is complete. It speaks volumes about the social, political and religious ground realities in Kashmir. For the last twenty years this fractional chunk of the Kashmiri Pandits had tried hard to hold on to their ancestral properties in the valley by compromising their social, political and religious rights but now they have decided to call a spade a spade as they have been threatened by the majority community to leave otherwise they will be eliminated in no time. This is the state of secularism in Kashmir.
The policy makers are busy at the center to use the Kashmiri Pandits as cannon fodder to give legitimacy to the myth called ‘Kashmiriyat’ and to implement the hidden solution to Kashmir problem under the garb of ‘quite diplomacy’ and ‘unique solution’ they are ready to bail out the majority community of the human rights violation which they have committed by the expulsion of the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley. Indian state has given ideological concessions in Kashmir and now after complete expulsion of the Kashmiri Pandits it is all set to give the territorial concessions as far as the J&K is concerned to secessionists . It is the first step by the Indian political establishment of India and the political state to demolish the Northern frontiers of the Indian nation by diluting Indian territorial integrity in J&K ,the frontline state in the Himalayan region-without realizing its implications on India in terms of balkanization.
Indian state should pay heed to the ground realities and persecution of the minorities in Kashmir by reading between the lines the open letter from the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS), Srinagar representing the fraction of Kashmiri Pandits living in adverse conditions. It reads, "On 15th November, 2009 two of our members went to Bhairav Ghat, Chattabal, Srinagar to take some pictures of the temple ruins so that the fate could be settled with the concerned authorities . But the members of the majority community who had encroached the temple land abstained them from taking pictures and used unparliamentary language against the Kashmiri Pandits and religious places . They started the slogans like 'Jis tarah hamne tumhare mandiroon ko jalaya hai vaise hi tum logon ko jalayenge,aur kisi ko pata bi nahi chalega'. The way we have burnt your temples in the same way we will burn you and no one will know about you. 'Yehan sirf Isalm chalega' Only Islam will prevail here. 'India ko lagta hai ki tum logon ko vapas layega, jo bi aaye ga mara jayega, hum log phir se gun uthayenge'. India thinks that they can bring Kashmiri Pandits back to valley, whosoever will come will die, we will again raise arms against you. The mob there even man handled the members of KPSS and they had to leave the place . Even they could not file an FIR against the mob due to the life threat given by these hooligans belonging to a particular community”.
This open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and the Separatist leadership should wake the Indian state from the slumber of denial and rise to the occasion to safeguard the minorities in the state.
The concluding part of this open letter should put the political establishment to shame in India as they have given open ground to the anti India elements in Kashmir. It further reads, "KPSS requests the state and the Central Administration to re -think about their proposal to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits to the valley instead prepare to register the fresh lot of migrants who will leave the valley in the coming days if the situation is not taken care of in due course of time. KPSS also appeals to the International Community to take the matter seriously and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to safeguard the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley”.
Indian state has failed Kashmiri Pandits to bail out the Islamic fascism in the Kashmir Valley. (Kashmir Sentinel, April 2010, http://panunkashmir.org/blog/viewpoint/kashmiri-pandits-the-victims-of-denial/)