Genocide of Kashmiri Hindus

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The genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits was an event that occurred on 20 January 1990 when most of the Pandit families were forced to flee from Kashmir valley due to outbreak of terrorism.[1][2] The estimate of Pandits having fled Kashmir ranges from approximately 100,000[3] to as high as 800,000.[4][5]

According to Indian government, more than 60,000 families are registered as Kashmiri migrants including some Sikh and Muslim families.[6] Most families were resettled in Jammu, NCR and other neighbouring states.[7] In 2016, only 2764 Kashmiri Hindus were left in Kashmir Valley.[8]

Background[edit]

In 1984, Ghulam Mohammad Shah snatched the power from his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah and became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah decided to construct a large mosque, Shah Masjid within the premises of an ancient Hindu temple inside the New Civil Secretariat area in Jammu. Many people of Jammu took to streets to protest with large demonstrations and marches against this decision. Gul Shah on his return to Kashmir retaliated and incited the Kashmiri Muslims by saying Islam khatrey mein hey (trans. Islam is in danger). As a result, Kashmiri Pandits were targeted by the Kashmiri Muslims. Many incidents were reported in various areas where Kashmiri Hindus were killed and their properties and temples damaged or destroyed. The worst hit areas were mainly in South Kashmir and Sopore. In Vanpoh, Lukbhavan, Anantnag, Salar and Fatehpur, Muslim mobs plundered or destroyed the properties and temples of Hindus. During the Anantanag riot in 1986, although no Hindu was killed, many houses and other properties belonging to Hindus were looted, burnt or damaged. Many Hindus left the Kashmir valley as a result due to the prevailing situation in Kashmir. His government was dismissed on March 12, 1986, by the then Governor Jagmohan following communal riots in south Kashmir.[9][10][9][11][12]

The Islamists lost overwhelmingly in the 1983 and 1987 state elections. However, due to numerous allegations and evidences being revealed on 1987 elections being rigged so as to bring the secular parties (NC and INC) in Kashmir at the forefront, the disgruntled Islamist factions soon took advantage of this issue, and turned to violence to advocate separatism.[13][11]

Induction of fear[edit]

In July 1988, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front began a separatist insurgency for independence of Kashmir from India.[14] The group targeted a Kashmiri Hindu for the first time on September 14, 1989, when they killed Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, an advocate and a prominent leader of Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu & Kashmir in front of several eyewitnesses. This instilled fear in the Kashmiri Pandit community especially as Taploo's killers were never caught. The Pandits realised they weren't safe in the valley and could be targeted any time. The JKLF and other Islamists went on to kill many other Kashmiri Hindus including many prominent ones. On January 4, 1990, a local Urdu newspaper, Aftab, published a press release issued by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, asking all Pandits to leave the Valley immediately. Another local paper, Al Safa, repeats this expulsion order. Explosive and inflammatory speeches being broadcast from the public address systems of the mosques became frequent.[15][unreliable source?][16][17]

Exodus[edit]

In order to undermine his political rival Farooq Abdullah who at that time was the Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister of Home Affairs Mufti Mohammad Sayeed convinced Prime Minister V.P. Singh to appoint Jagmohan as the governor of the state. Abdullah resented Jagmohan who had been appointed as the governor earlier in April 1984 as well and had recommended Abdullah's dismissal to Rajiv Gandhi in July 1984. Mufti was convinced that such a move will irritate Abdullah and make him quit. Abdullah had earlier declared that he would resign if Jagmohan was made the Governor. However, the Central government went ahead and appointed him as Governor on January 19, 1990. In response, Abdullah resigned on the same day.[18][19] This led to utter chaos and Jagmohan could not reach Srinagar due to bad weather and had to stay at Jammu. Lawlessness took over the valley and the crowd with slogans and guns started roaming around the streets.

News kept coming of violent incidents and those Hindus who survived the night saved their lives by traveling out of the valley and to other parts of the country.[20] Most of the Kashmiri Hindus left Kashmir and moved to other parts of the country.[21]

Aftermath[edit]

The militancy in Kashmir had increased after the exodus. The militants had targeted the properties of Kashmiri Pandits after their exodus.[22][23] In 2009 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to recognise 14 September 2007, as Martyrs Day to acknowledge ethnic cleansing and campaigns of terror inflicted on non-Muslim minorities of Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists seeking to establish an Islamic state.[24]

Kashmiri Hindus continue to fight for their return to the valley and many of them live as refugees.[25] The exiled community had hoped to return after the situation improved. They have not done so because the situation in the Valley remains unstable and they fear a risk to their lives. Most of them lost their properties after the exodus and many are unable to go back and sell them. Their status as displaced people has adversely harmed them in the realm of education. Many Pandit families could not afford to send their children to well regarded public schools. Furthermore, Pandits faced institutional discrimination by predominantly Muslim state bureaucrats. As a result of the inadequate ad hoc schools and colleges formed in the refugee camps, it became harder for the children of Pandits to access education. They suffered in higher education as well, as they could not claim admission in PG colleges of Jammu university, while getting admitted in the institutes of Kashmir valley was out of question. Later the Indian Government has taken up the issue of education of the displaced students from Kashmir, and helped them get admissions in various Kendriya Vidyalayas and major educational institutions & universities across the country.[26] In 2010, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir noted that 808 Pandit families, comprising 3,445 people, were still living in the Valley and that financial and other incentives put in place to encourage others to return there had been unsuccessful. According to a J&K government report, 219 members of the community had been killed in the region between 1989 and 2004 but none thereafter.[27][28][29] The local organisation of pandits in Kashmir, Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti after carrying out a survey in 2008 and 2009, said that 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by insurgents from 1990 to 2011 with 75% of them being killed during the first year of the Kashmiri insurgency.[30][31]

Recent Development[edit]

Some consider Article 370 as a roadblock in the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits as the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir does not allow those living in India outside Jammu and Kashmir to freely settle in the state and become it's citizens.[32][33][34]

Sanjay Tickoo, president of Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS), says that the 'Article 370' affair is different from the issue of ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus and both should be dealt with separately. He remarks that, linking both the affairs is an "utterly insensitive way to deal with a highly sensitive and emotive issue".[35]

As of 2016, a total of 1,800 Kashmiri Pandit youths have returned to the Valley since the announcing of Rs. 1,168-crore package in 2008 by the UPA government. R.K. Bhat, president of Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj criticised the package to be a mere eyewash and claimed that most of the youths were living in cramped prefabricated sheds or in rented accommodation. He also said that 4,000 vacancies have been lying vacant since 2010 and alleged that the BJP government was repeating the same rhetoric and was not serious about helping them. In an interview with NDTV on January 19, Farooq Abdullah commented that the onus was on Kashmiri Pandits to come back themselves and nobody would beg them to do so. His comments were met with disagreement by Kashmiri Pandit authors Neeru Kaul, Siddhartha Gigoo, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and retired General Syed Ata Hasnain. He also said that during his tenure as Chief Minister in 1996, he had asked them to return but they refused to do so. He reiterated his comments on January 23 and said that the time had come for them to return.[36][37][38][39]

The issue of separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits has been a source of contention in Kashmir with separatists as well as mainstream political parties opposing it.[40] Hizbul Mujahideen militant, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, had threatened of attacking the "Pandit composite townships" which were meant to be built for the rehabilitation of the non-Muslim community. In a 6-minute long video clip, Wani described the rehabilitation scheme as resembling Israeli designs.[41]

During the 2016 Kashmir unrest, transit camps housing Kashmir Pandits in Kashmir were attacked by mobs.[42] About 200–300 Kashmiri Pandit employees fled the transit camps in Kashmir during night time on 12 July due to the attacks by protesters on the camps and have held protests against the government for attacks on their camp and demanded that all Kashmiri Pandit employees in Kashmir valley be evacuted immediately. Over 1300 government employees belonging to the community have fled the region during the unrest.[43][44][45] Posters threatening the Pandits to leave Kashmir or be killed were put up near transit camps in Pulwama allegedly by the militant organisation Lashkar-e-Islam. There were doubts as to who put up the poster with speculations being raised as to whether other groups had put up the poster using the name of Lashkar-e-Islam.[46][47]

Numbers[edit]

An Indo-American Kashmir Forum pamphlet says that over 1100 KPs have been killed in Kashmir since militancy began. Teng and Gadoo claim that more than 700 Hindus were assassinated between Autumn 1989 and Summer 1990, a figure contradicted by offcial Indian figures that indicate 228 Hindu civilians were killed between 1988 and 1991. An offcial who dealt directly with compensation claims at the time states the figure was nearer 490, although this includes state offcials in the count. There is no reason for the Indian government to underplay these numbers, especially given that it was directly in charge (through governor’s rule and the security forces) between January 1990 and September 1996.

Official record suggest that 219 Kashmiri pandits had been killed by militants since 1989.

Alexander Evans suggests that the number of Pandits killed in the valley prior to the exodus is, at most, between 228 and 490 and that that around 160,000 KP’s lived in the valley in 1990. His reasoning is that the number of deaths is sourced from the Indian government and official sources, which were in control at the time and wouldhave little reason to underplay the number of deaths.

Till date nearly 1,500 memebers of Kashmiri pandit community have been brutally murdered.

It is not possible to give details of all Pandit killings in this Study paper. Panun Kashmir, a political organization of the displaced Pandits, has published a complete list of about 1341 Kashmiri Pandits who were killed by Jihadi armed men in the course of armed insurgency in the Valley of Kashmir in 1990 and after. This includes the disappeared and fished out Pandits, whose identity was not established and the police kept no record of them.

Wikipedia bias[edit]

Aritcle was moved without discussion from Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits to Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

Wikipedia claims the Hindus were not forced out of Kashmir, and that there were no terrorist attacks against Hindus and its aim was not to drive the Hindus out[1] [archive]

Wikipedia claims the violence against Hindus does not matter, that the major violence in Kashmir for centuries has been committed against the Muslims and not against Hindus, and that by the way, the Pandits rather than being victims were themselves complicit in violence, which was only anti-Muslim.[2] [archive]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. Reuters (24 March 2003). "24 Hindus Are Shot Dead in Kashmiri Village" [archive]. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 [archive]. Retrieved 10 February 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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Sources[edit]

This article includes modified content derived from Wikipedia. See source [3] [archive]

Bibliography[edit]

https://www.opindia.com/2021/11/cj-werleman-denies-genocide-of-kashmiri-pandits/ [archive]