14 sep 1989-I was going towards Sureteng from Kraylar,Rainawari. It was a bright sunny Autumn day. There was a gentle ascend from Kralyar to Sureteng that I was ambling. I was lost in my own world of thoughts .Suddenly I was nudged by someone on my back. I looked back. It was Aslam. He looked jubilant. He was bubbling with excitement and Glee. Without my asking , He said emphatically, ”Tikalal taploo has been shot by militants”. In disbelief my first reaction was,”What!!!”
I have asked so many of my Muslim friends about the reason for killing Kashmiri Pandits .Instead of a logical answer, I have heard “n” number of times that it was a Phase and that every Muslim wanted to take up an AK-47 and wage a war with anyone, whom they considered agents of India.
Basharat Mir’s “curfewed nights” also reiterate what I had heard many times. He has written in his book that the Militants were idolized, worshipped and copied in every sense. However he has bowdlerized that killing of innocents like Kashmiri pundits was also copied by many. I have yet to come across a Kashmiri Muslim who has the remotest compunction of killing Kashmiri Pandits and driving them out of the valley .
When the Pakistani army in the disguise of “Kabailis” raided Kashmir in Oct 1947.They left a trail of blood. Muslims were pardoned except a few like “Sherwani”, who was an activist and a staunch supporter of Shiekh Mohammed Abdullah. But mostly “Kabailis” were after the Blood of Hindus and Sikhs and they killed them mercilessly.
I knew a lady who became a senile person, because of the gory killings she witnessed in Baramullah, while she was a young girl of 10 years or so. She saw her father axed to death in front of her eyes. She along with her family choose “Habba Kadal” as their new area of dwelling. In her early twenties she got married and had two sons and a loving and caring Husband. The macabre incident had not stopped haunting her and eventually she succumbed to her childhood memories and lost her mind. We know hundreds of such incidents. Everyone of us.
History repeated itself in 1989-90, the messengers of death in the garb of jihadis unleashed such a terror that an entire culture and mark of KP’s was wiped out from the valley of Kashmir. As before, muslims were condoned and Hindus were targeted.
In 1947, POK was annexed by Pakistan because the Muslims insidiously sided with Pakistan army just because they happened to follow a common religion. The same strategy was repeated in Kashmir in 1989-90.
When Aslam broke the news to me, I retracted my steps and rushed back to my home. My family already knew about the incident as someone had telephoned them. Many of my family members rushed to Chinkral Mohalla in Habba Kadal.I too went to pay my homage to the martyr in the evening. Hundreds of people had gathered there. I could see many lugubrious faces around me. There was anguish ,grief and anger in the eyes of mourners. The Pakistan backed militants could not break his spirit so they had annihilated him physically. But has the enemy of KP’s and India succeeded in annihilating him and our other martyrs?
The answer is a big “NO”
Though the incidents if 1989-90, killed tens of hundreds of KP’s,burnt down and damaged houses and religious places, raped KP women and virtually obliterated Hinduism from the valley, But it could not kill the spirit of the KP’s.
Martyrs like Sh. Tikalal taploo ,Ashok Kumar qazi,B.K.Ganjoo, P.N.Bhat ,Sarvanand premi and others , laid down their lives for all of us. Though they are not physically present but they are still alive and are fighting with our perpetrators in the form of our inspiration. And no defeat is final until we keep trying.
The battle is still on.
Today on 14th sep. we all pay our tributes to our martyrs who shall live forever in our spirits……