I and my friends Manish and Sunil were going to Garh-Mukhteshwar for a dip into the holy Ganges. As soon as we reached Garh-Mukhteshwar, we took a boat to go to other side of the river for a swim. The rays of the sun were shimmering in the waters of Ganga , intermittently blinding our eyes. The garland of flowers floating nearby shielded our eyes briefly, thus giving us some respite. That Garland may had embellished an idol of god or it may had been a final gesture of reverence to the dead by a family member. Who knows! Anyway, We reached the other side within minutes. A Panditji was offering prayers for his clients, who were repeating the hymns chanted by the Pandit.
I have always believed that the cool waters of the Ganges rejuvenates my body and mind and Manish could not disagree with me .After the Bath/Swim, we sat on the wooden planks nearby. And Manish started about his favorite topic-Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits. An elderly Gentleman, who was sitting opposite,just a couple of meters away, on the other wooden plank approached us and asked, ”Are you Kashmiri Pandits?” I said, ”yes we are”. He said,” My name is Singh, I have served armed forces and I was Stationed at Kashmir in the nineties”.
Our conversation started…..
Manish-what is your present assessment of Kashmir?
Singh-It is better than nineties ,but it is still not Normal. When I was there, it was like a guerilla war, we never knew when, where , how and who will attack us. We had to be prepared at all times. Had we been given powers, we would have normalized the situation within a day. It is the politicians, who are doing the macabre dance on the cost of the lives of their soldiers, just to enhance their political career.
Manish- You must have heard the cacophony of pro-jihadi , anti-India, and anti-Hindu slogans, that was voiced from the loudspeakers of the Mosques across the valley?
Singh-Yes, I did and so did my colleagues.
Manish-Did you met Kashmiri Pandits there?
Singh-Only in the early 1990.You fled to jammu and other parts of India as the terrorists were killing you.
Manish-It was all pre-planned. The majority of the Muslims, in the valley, were privy of the plans and intentions of the Terrorists. But they maintained a sinister silence.
Sunil-In 1947, the army of the Maharaja sided with Pakistan and thus helped Pakistani army to annex POK. This all happened on the name of religion. The same happened at the time of Sukh Jiwan Mal, when his army deserted him. Yaqub shah, being a shia muslim was also deserted by his army. History repeated itself in 1989-90 and Kashmiri Pandits were rendered homeless.
Singh- The lack of political will is a deterrent for the return of Kashmiri Pandits. you are not a vote-bank and you did not even raise your armed unit to counter your hostile contemporaries in Kashmir .The political will is a must for the return of Kashmiri Hindus. Kashmiri muslims are being heard because they talk not only diplomatically masquerading peace, but when the need arises ,they restore to violent methods also. They know how to be heard.
Manish-We are a peaceful community. But that does not mean that we are naïve. At the same time, I have to agree with you. Our peaceful nature has become a hindrance. The govt. too knows this fact, that is why they have not been able to make inroads for the kashmiri pundits into Kashmir. Pakistan has a Plan for Kashmir and Kashmiri Muslims. National conference, PDP and congress has plan for Kashmiri Muslims .The plan for Kashmiri Hindus is to appease Kashmiri Muslims by marginalizing KP’s socially, financially, religiously and politically . As you said it is vote-bank politics.
Sunil-The valley-centric political parties are playing dirty politics. They have over years, successfully sown the seeds of hatred against India. The frequent outbursts of Mustafa Kamal against India is not new. The recent obnoxious statements of NC MP Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri is also not new. Attaullah suhurwardy,a senior NC Leader, the former minister and Deputy speaker had said in a speech in State legislative council that he is first a Muslim then an India and that It is the fundamental duty of a Muslim to strive for conversion ,any muslim who forgets this duty is not a worthy Muslim. The Kashmiri Hindus were proving to be an impediment for the religious zealots and bigoted politicians.
PDP is also no saint. Their patron Mufti mohammed syed instigated riots and violence at Anantnag, which led to migration of many Kashmiri pundits in the mid 1980’s.It is a known fact that when he was the chief Minister of the state, he did not used to salute the National Flag of India on special occasions like 26th jan or 15th August. It was a clear indication to his vote-bank that he does not care about India. These gestures by the valley-based mainstream political over the years have poisoned the minds of majority of Muslim minds. This propaganda has lead a Kashmir Pandit to a point of no-return.
Manish-That is why we demand a separate homeland for Kashmiri Pandits. we have seen seven migrations. Enough is enough .We can not live anymore at the will and whim of Islamist fundamental jehadi mindset politicians, who use us whenever it suits them and discards us when it suits the emotions of their vote-bank.
Singh-The politicians should consider this option. As I said a political will of the government is a must to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
Manish –If Govt. is not serious to facilitate our return on our conditions then, let them formally announce us as Refugees. There are many countries who have special laws for refugees. We will also find one such country. At least we-the kashmiri Pandits can live as a community and preserve our ancient heritage and culture.
Singh-Govt. should ponder over this point too. You see, Kashmir matters for me as well!
Sunil-How does it really matter to You or rest of Indians .Majority of Indians are still oblivious to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Majority of them still believe that we live in Kashmir even today.
Singh-You may be right! But I too have given my blood for Kashmir. I was hit by the bullet in my right leg. My colleague was killed in the Gun battle with the terrorists, in front of my eyes. I too faced trauma-physically , emotionally as well as mentally.
He folded up his trousers to the thigh. There was a livid Scar above the right side of his right knee. I looked at the face of Singh. It was livid as well. The sweat drops on his forehead made me realize the conspicuousness of his Curled white moustaches that still had some shades of black. Just like his personality.
Calmness descended on his face as he curled down his trousers.. He was again composed .Manish was looking at him intensely.
Manish-Singh Saab, I appreciate your patriotism. You are also one of our many unsung heroes, who gave their blood for Kashmir.
Sunil-I agree with Manish. Where will you go from here singhji?
Singh-I live in Gajraula. I will reach there within half an hour .Where are you going?
Manish-Lucky you. You have a place to be called as Home. My home is illegally occupied by some Muslim men in Kashmir. By the way, we are going to NOIDA.
We exchanged our mobile numbers, with this hope that we will remain in touch with each other and share some more information and incidents on Kashmir. Before he left he said, ”you should ask Govt. for a place of your own in Kashmir”
Singh fared good bye to us. We watched his back as he walked with a limp towards the Boat. His family was already in the Boat. A man grabbed his hand and pulled him into the Boat. The boatman paddled the Boat away from us. we waved with our hands at Singh. He waved back. He alighted from the Boat, ascended the stairs , looked back at us and again waved. we waved back.
Singh Saab was gone but there are thousands of singh saab’s who have fought for Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandit’s fight for the restoration of their rights and justice is long, arduous with little support from the Government machinery. For some, it may look impossible to restore our basic fundamental rights in Kashmir. At times, it feels that a Kashmiri pandit is fighting a lone battle. But then we meet some people like singh, for whom Kashmir still matters. And hope floats. Just like that garland that floated in the Ganges and shielded our eyes from the blinding reflections of the Sun…..
19 January 2012 will complete 22 years in exile for Kashmiri Pandits(KP).This minority community of Kashmir were forced to leave their hearth and Homes 22 years back as there was total anarchy and oglocracy in Kashmir. some rabid , religious fundamental zealots were on rampage and Target shooting of KP’s had become their Hobby.In this whole chaos KP homes were plundered and some pyromaniacs set many KP houses on fire. All this happened on the name of Jihad.
At least 4 lakh KP’s left their homeland in the chilling nights of jan 1990 to safeguard their lives, honor and dignity. Today this beleaguered community is scattered all over world-Thanks to Govt. Apathy-with majority of Kp’s dwelling in India particularly Jammu and Delhi Region.
Even after 22 years GOI has no blue print to bring back KP’s to their Homeland-Kashmir. GOI has negated the fact that KP’s are refugees in their own country, they better call KP’s Internally Displaced. Technically or terminologically they may be right but this terminology is more of a Hogwash, a misnomer as “Internally displaced” tag of KP’s misleads one to think that Govt. is going to reverse the migration of KP’s from Kashmir. Till today-even after 22 years nothing has happened.
Post 1990,The successive governments led by either National conference or PDP, came to power in J&K with the support of congress(i), have been pre-occupied with other things and most of their activities are executed with one thing in mind-to increase the vote bank-Unfortunately KP’s do not form any sizeable vote bank and thus the Rights of KP’s have been depredated from time to time, especially since Jan 1990.
Jammu region has a majority of Hindu population and overall in J&K, Hindus constitute around 30% of the total population. Being a Muslim majority state most of the policies are majority centric. Hindus of J& K have felt disadvantageous at many times, particularly in Govt. employments, they also don’t get the subsidies which their counterparts enjoy in Kashmir. Till today there has not been a single Hindu who has made it to become the chief Minister of J&K.
Religion and Culture are the bipods of healthy community, Jammu being a Hindu majority Region has given ample scope to everyone to practice their religion and Culture unlike Kashmir where KP’s faced the brunt of religious apartheid.
Today, K.P’s stand at crossroads, their homeland is so near still so far, their culture and religion is at the brink of extinction, their identity is being erased slowly by the polity of that Nation for which they were killed, raped, hounded and exiled. The need of the Hour is to preserve the unique culture and identity of KP’s, the unique identity that was soul of Kashmir, all that can happen only when KP’s come back to Kashmir-Their motherland .
The million dollar question arises,” can they come back to Kashmir and live as they used to?” the answer is a big “NO”. Most of the houses belonging to KP’s have been either sold out in distress, or they have been burnt down or they have been illegally captured by nefarious elements backed either by Govt. Machinery or Pakistan backed terrorists. The fact is they have nowhere to go if they come back to Kashmir.
Government knows this important point, they have in fact built some ghettos for KP’s where some Kp’s are residing, particularly those who were given jobs in Kashmir, Some of these KP’s have alleged that 4-5 people share a common room in these Ghettos and many basic facilities are missing in these government flats. These temporary ghettos are not a answer for reverse migration of KP’s. This way religious freedom and cultural identity of KP’s cannot be preserved. Anyways Ghettos give a feeling of being a alien.
The other viable solution is a separate homeland which is most popularly known as “Panun Kashmir”. This Homeland can preserve the religion, culture and identity of KP’s for generations. Panun Kashmir is a Homeland demand of KP’s that will enjoy a union territory status like Chandigarh and all those will be welcomed here who believe in India and Indian constitution.
For some reasons the present Govt. is opposing this demand also. Some of the govt. agencies have twisted the concept of Homeland of KP’s as sacrilegious and projected this demand akin to accession of Kashmir with Pakistan.
In either ways the Govt’s apathy is driving KP’s to oblivion. Govt at State or at center should make it a point that KP’s are brought back to Kashmir.22 years has passed and nothing concrete has been done to preserve the identity of Kashmiri Pandits. These 22 years have made me believe slowly but steadily that in future also Govt. will not do anything except wait and watch.
Tibetans have been given infrastructure, environment and everything else by the Indian Govt. just to protect their identity whereas KP’s have been deprived everything that can preserve their religion and culture. I have come to this conclusion that Govt. should now do one last favor to KP’s- Declare KP’s as Refugees and let KP’s reach out to other countries who have laws to protect the religious freedom and culture. At least that way cohesiveness of KP’s will prevail and their culture and religion will be saved.
I will be more than happy if my conclusion will be proven wrong by Govt’s deeds in coming 365 days.
Jews and HIndus have both been victims of attempted extermination by Islamics. Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists. But today, most terrorists are Muslims. A speech to Hindu youth in Pune.
On January 8, 2012, I delivered a rather passionate speech in Pune, India via skype. I was invited to do so by “Youth 4 Panun Kashmir.” The organizers were especially interested in my drawing parallels between Israel and India, Jews and Hindus both of whom have, historically, been genocidally exterminated and driven out of their holy places.
I was approached to speak partly because I have written about Islamic terrorism in India before and partly because I recently took up the case of Dr. Subramanian Swamy, an Indian political leader and economist, who was wrongfully dismissed by Harvard after twenty years for daring to take a “controversial” stand against Islamic terrorism in India.
Here is part of what I said. I think it will be of interest to the readers of Israel National News and perhaps to Israeli diplomats who are in touch with their counterparts in India, because Dr. Swamy was the highest ranking Indian leader to first visit Israel in the early 1980s. His visits led to the establishment of an Indian Embassy and an Israeli Embassy in Israel and India.
It is my great pleasure to be with you today. Namaste. There should be an international outcry on behalf of the near-extinction of the Hindus of Kashmir, an outcry at the United Nations about the Hindu refugees who were forced to flee Kashmir to escape horrific Islamic violence.
The Indian government is also afraid to confront the growing threat of Islamic terrorism. Now, only two-three thousand Hindu Kashmiris dare to remain; they are in a very dangerous situation.
Why is the world utterly indifferent to this—your—tragedy?
Because today, there is only one refugee group in the world that matters. It is the utterly imaginary group known as the “Palestinians.” This group is composed of four to five generations of Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Bedu, and tribes who once lived in the Holy Land under the Romans, the Christians, the Turks, and the British but who themselves claimed no nationality until well after World War Two, when their so-called nationality became the justification for a terrorist campaign against the only Jewish state in the world.
This privileged group of refugees has been living on enormous world sympathy and on UN, European, and American funding; rather, their leaders have been living well on UNRWA funding and using the excess monies to wage a ruthless war against Israel.
The UN does not care about your people, the Hindu Kashmiris, who are facing extinction and who wish to return to peacefully practice their religion where their ancestors once lived and flourished. You are not demanding the exile of Muslim Kashmiris. But, like Jews and other infidel groups, you have been terrorized and persecuted by the intolerant practices of Islamic religious apartheid.
The UN is a morally bankrupt organization of tyrannies. Neither India, nor Israel, nor the United States should be supporting it. As you may know, Western thought has grown exceedingly “politically correct,” but in a way that only George Orwell or Lewis Carroll could fully comprehend. The world is, quite simply, completely upside down and not all “pigs” are equal. The democratic West, Israel, and India all value freedom, a free press, separation of religion and state, and individual rights. This is one of the reasons that free countries are demonized as quintessentially evil. America and Israel are repeatedly accused of imperialism, colonialism, racism, “occupation,” and apartheid.
University professors at the most distinguished institutions have absolutely no idea about Islam’s long and terrible history of colonialism, imperialism, forced conversion, racism, slavery, and both gender and religious apartheid. Islamic culture practices gender and religious apartheid for which they are never held accountable; Israel is falsely scapegoated as an “apartheid” state when it tries to defend itself from terrorism.
This is something that you in India, especially those of you who are longing to live safely and proudly as Hindus in Kashmir know a good deal about.
We now know that Muslims mass-slaughtered Hindus and buried them in mass graves in the 1990s in Kashmir. As of 1989, Pakistan funded the terrorists to do this. Sixty thousand people died. Kashmiri Hindus fled in droves to India. But they yearn for Kashmir and for Kashmir’s holy temples, many of which have been turned into mosques and masjids.
When one tries to talk about Islamic religious and gender apartheid or about Islamic terrorism, one is immediately demonized as an “Islamophobe” and a “racist.” One loses one’s reputation as a “good” person. One also loses one’s friends and employment possibilities.
This has just happened to one of India’s true heroes, Dr. Subramanian Swamy at Harvard University. I have recently written about this and will say a few words about this travesty shortly. Today, a person may find herself on trial for committing the crime of “hate speech” by telling the truth about certain Islamic practices. This is happening all over Europe. One is censored. One begins to censor oneself. Cartoons that offend, criticism, however accurate, that offends…Muslim fundamentalists and their western supporters, are simply not published.
The speech, the illustration, is seen as the “provocation.” The violent response is overlooked. Let me be clear. Not all Muslims are terrorists. But today, most terrorists are Muslims. Many Muslims wish to live in peace, yearn for peace. And yet, they do not risk standing up to their Islamist leaders. Those who do are in prison or have already been tortured or murdered.
But let the facts be known. Eighty million Hindus were slaughtered by Muslims in only five centuries. Hindu Temples became mosques and masjids. Even today, Muslims are entering India illegally and carrying along with them both criminals and terrorists.
The Indian government, including the police, is afraid to stop them. The Indian government certainly does not want to fight Muslims and Islamists and terrorists for the sake of Kashmir. They are allowing these illegal immigrants to kidnap, rape, forcibly convert and marry Hindu girls to Muslims. They are also allowing illegal takeovers of land.
Jews—my people—were also persecuted and genocidally exterminated. We lived in exile, mainly suffering, sometimes flourishing, never giving up our longing for the Holy Land. Through religious practices, prayer, and culture, we found the strength to return again and again to our homeland, our roots. We now have the only Jewish state in the world: Israel.
The Muslim Middle East cannot abide an independent Jewish presence, however small, in its midst. Israel has been at war, militarily since its birth in 1948. It is still under existential siege. It is scapegoated for the sins and crimes of the Arab and Muslim aggressors—who are seen as “victims,” noble, pure, innocent.
Kashmiri Hindus are not welcome in Kashmir, their legendary birthplace. The numbers of Kashmiri Hindus who are willing to live there under dangerous conditions, has dangerously dwindled. Barbarian Islamists have committed atrocities. The United Nations has not weighed in against this. It is a useless organization of tyrannies. Kashmir is the symbol of Muslim genocide and Muslim imperialism.
That is why Dr. Swamy has called for the Indian government to revoke Article #370. It represents a policy of appeasement towards Muslim Pakistan at the time of partition Memories linger, fester. There is no one who is willing to stand up to Islamic aggression on behalf of Hindus who have the same right to live in Kashmir as Muslims may have.
Dr. Swamy has pointed out the numerous and egregious crimes committed by Muslim fundamentalists in India: terrorism, kidnapping, religious and gender apartheid, colonialism, imperialism, barbarism. Identifying and stating the problem is the first necessary and courageous step in this battle for human justice. We need to retain and develop a collective mindset to stand against the terrible and increasing threat of Islamic terrorism.
As you may know, the dismissed professor—the shame is entirely Harvard’s to bear—I am talking about Dr. Swamy, is also something of a swashbuckling hero. In 1976, Dr. Swamy exposed and challenged corruption in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s “emergency authoritarian” rule in India and had to flee the country twice as a result. However, due to his campaign Gandhi allowed long overdue elections. In 1972, Swamy lost his professorship at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, due to his crusade for both academic freedom and for the union rights of non-teaching Institute employees. After twenty years of litigation, the courts reinstated Swamy with full honors.In 1987, Dr. Swamy undertook a fast unto death to demand an inquiry into the illegal killing of Muslim youth by the police in Hashimpura, Meerut. The government finally yielded to his demand for which Swamy was hailed by India’s minorities.
I am especially glad that Dr. Swamy initiated a normalization of relations between India and Israel. This is an important alliance for many reasons.
I am reminded of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.” Similarly, Ben-Gurion said: “Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.”
Nowadays “Scams” has become such a common word in India, 2G spectrum Scam, Adarsh Housing Scam, N-E Power scam, the list is long. These scams have for the time being pushed “Kashmir” in the backstage and it is witnessing a quite time now as compared to july-August 2010 when it had become a virtual Inferno.
Time washes away everything even the memories and sets a base for the epoch. The Hindus of Kashmir are also at the ingress of such History, courtesy to Indian politics and its polity. The indigenous kashmiri Hindus are slowly but surely losing their land of ancestors to the politics of India as Government of India and Subsequent state governments have done nothing to reverse the exodus.
When I left Kashmir, along with some 4 lakh odd Kashmiri Pandits, The political heads of India, who were at the helm, at that time were in a deep slumber probably because they were satiated and sedated with newly acquired power or they were probably the most incompetent politicians which India has ever seen. Whatever the reasons, but their ineptness has costed us dearly.
The movement of un-rest which started in late 89 and is still unabated, is purely based on Religion. India may be 3rd largest muslim populated country of World, But the fact that India is a secular country and Muslims are a minority, in a Hindu majority country, goes against India. Because the Demagogues only show one side of the coin, that side which says that Muslims are a powerless minority of India. But does a Muslim majority country really ensure what it promises at its inception or it is merely an eyewash..
We all know what happened in Bangladesh when it was known as East-Pakistan. West Pakistan is responsible for the death of 2 million East-Pakistanis,most of them were muslims, and both West as well as East Pakistan were a part of a Muslim Nation. We also know about the unrest in Sudan. Till now, It is estimated that half a million people have lost their lives in Darfur,all of them are Muslims, and 2.5 million rendered homeless. North sudan Has mostly Arab ethnicity and south Sudanese are Blacks. This battle of Colors has out weighted their common Religion which happens to be Islam.
And what about Islamic republic of Pakistan itself, It is on the brink of Balkanization. In Baluchistan, Baluchi’s despise the presence of Pakistani armed forces because they really don’t feel that they are a part and parcel of Pakistan. Even in P.O.K, dissent voices against the Pakistan regime are gaining a lot of popularity, with many ethnic people openly criticizing Pakistan’s policy on P.O.K. It is needless to say that Balochi’s and P.O.Kashmiri’s practice Islam.
There are many more such vitriolic incidents, but I will cut short here and come back again to Kashmir. During last 63 years, India has not been able to draft a viable map for the solution of Kashmir imbroglio. Merely dragging and stretching time has not given much success, neither relaxing various taxes in Kashmir has proved of much help.on the name of Kashmir, the other two regions viz Jammu and Ladakh have been constantly ignored and these two regions are totally dependant on the politicians of Kashmir for the redress of their grievances. The people of these two regions are core Indians to their Hearts just like kashmiri Hindus, and playing them as second fiddles is just not right.
From KP’s perspective,their return depends only on one factor, the same factor which compelled them to leave their hearth and homes in the dead of the night i.e “Kashmiri Muslims”. The muslims of Kashmir in 1990 had unanimously raised their voice in favor of our exodus and “vox populi” was against us because we practiced a different faith and we believed in India. The vox populi at that time was based on the notion that once Kashmiri Pandits will be ousted from Kashmir, Pakistan will come to the aid, Militarily attack India, and annex the land of Kashmir. ( believe it or not—this notion was further strengthened by the fact that India was losing continuously to Pakistan in the game of Cricket, and made many fanatics impoliticly believe that Pakistan can actually win a war.. ).
Let the loud speakers of those Mosques, who had harangued the pandits of Kashmir, appeal them to return back to their homeland,if they are really interested in the return of Kashmiri pandits to valley. I am sure that moment History will witness the reverse exodus of Kashmiri Hindus.But is this going to happen ever?Since last 22 years there has not been a single procession in Kashmir by Kashmiri Muslims, who have vociferously raised their strident voices in favor of the return of Pandits to valley.Even the mainstream political parties have maintained a stoic silence on this grave issue and not once,the two main political parties of Kashmir, who boast of millions of supporters, i.e National conference and PDP have organised any mass Rally, ever, in favor of the return of Pandits to valley. This clearly indicates that all the political parties whether mainstream or separatists don’t want KP’s to be back there…..
This fact had left Kashmiri Hindus to deliberate on a different path, the path known to most of Pandits as “PANUN KASHMIR”, that path which can lead them to the land of their ancestors, which can guarantee them and their progeny safety and a free atmosphere to practice their age old customs and beliefs…
Panun Kashmir….why not?
I am not a expert in International affairs nor am I a member of some esoteric groups of intelligentsia. I am not even affiliated to any political or religious groups who can talk for hours on Kashmir based on their vicarious knowledge, But as a Kashmiri I supersede the above mentioned groups as the existing problem is directly centered around me and my place of birth…..Kashmir.
The last six months have brought Kashmir back on the center stage and I am sure the policy makers of India and Pakistan must be burning many mid night lamps in order to device new tactics and strategies to settle this issue and thus score a point over each other.
Indian democracy is the largest democracy in the world and thus there is a lot of freedom for raising different voices irrespective of their nationalist views or anti-national diatribes. The role of Chinese and ISI cannot be ruled out in funding those groups whose only aim is to Balkanize India. We all know 7 lakh Kashmiri Hindus were forced to leave their hearth and homes in wake of the terrorist activities by a section of Kashmiri Muslims who killed tens of hundreds of Kashmiri Hindus. We are also aware of carnages carried out by Naxalites and Maoists who killed with impunity and without compunction. section of Bodos,Nagas,Tamils and some Khalistanis have also beeen known to use more voilent ways in order to prove their point.
But things are changing. With majority of people disapproving the violent ways , a new breed of Terrorists have mushroomed, who advocate openly to Balkanization of India. Recently I also attended one such function in new Delhi. The name of the function was” Azaadi-the only way”. It was organized by anti-Indians and this was my first experience of modern terrorists. It consisted of Ex-Khalistanis,Kashmir’s Hurriyat,A splinter group of Tamils, Maoists, Naxalites, Nagas and more..It was intellectual terrorism at its best. The high point of the whole function was when someone from the crowd flew his slippers towards syed Ali Shah Geelani. Those slippers became a huge “hit” with the Media and everything else got shadowed by those slippers.
Noted writer Ms. Arurdathi roy had also come though she came 2 hours late. She has won a “Booker prize” for her book ”the god of small things” in 1997.However it is noteworthy that she could not make any ripples in the literary world or media again after this book, which makes it look highly suspicious that even the above mentioned book may be a classical act of plagiarism. Only, God of small things know…..Meanwhile, She also spew hatred against India.
All this happened in the capital of India in the police protection provided by Government of India. Those who opposed their devious act were swiftly rounded by the Police and packed to Jail at Parliament street, New Delhi. This convocation raised many eyebrows, and a justification was sought from the government. As usual, nothing happened…
Though Ms. Roy gave her justification from Kashmir some days later wherein she reiterated her support to Geelani’s Hurriyat who want to merge Kashmir with Pakistan.
What surprised many was her remark on Kashmiri Pandits as she said,” for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland”
It hit me like a Boxer’s Punch .It is well known that she has no affinity for Kashmiri Pandits because we are contrary to what she supports in Kashmir..”Azaadi”.She should understand that under UN Resolution Kashmir has only two choices, to be with India or to be with Pakistan. there is no provision for Azaadi and Syed Ali Shah Geelani knows it very well. She advocated Geelani’s plebiscite, which is not possible in present times as Pakistan has changed the entire population ratio in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, just like China did in Tibet. The indigenous population of POK has been marginalized. The other communities in J&K do not want to be Pakistan. She must understand that Dogras, Gujjars, dards, Shias,Sikhs and Ladhakis are more than happy with India. She should also understand that Kashmir valley constitutes only 8-10% of the total area of Jammu and Kashmir.
The remark was also a crass because she shares the common dais with those who are prime responsible for the genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus. Her remark was lacking genuine sincerity and were just words, a mere lip service for beleaguered community who are living like refugees in their own country…..
If her heart feels the pain of Kashmiri Hindus, she should raise her voice for our cause also. Let me remind her that we want “Panun Kashmir”.. our Homeland. Panun Kashmir is a cherished dream of 7 lakh Kashmiri Hindus who want homeland within Kashmir, with a union territory status, no article 370 and full flow of Indian constitution. The homeland is also a necessity because we have seen 7 exoduses during last 5-6 hundred years due to stringent Islamic sharia…Till then, Ms. Roy, Kindly spare us, because we are not “Bookhe” or “Nangey”(Hungry and stark, without clothes), we are not even Maoists or Naxalites,or ex-Khalistanis or Nagas and above everything else “our hearts still beat for India”…..
27 January 2010
The non-hoisting of the national tricolour at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, the failure of the Security Forces to hold their own traditional celebrations there with the unfurling of the flag, singing of the anthem, followed by distribution of sweets, will surely be the enduring memory of Republic Day 2010.
Leading the national celebrations down Rajpath, the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, took the salute presented by the Defence and Security forces of the country. It was a day to commemorate the Indian Republic with somber remembrance of the bravest of the brave soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, followed by an exultant flag hoisting and salute – in respect of the Nation, its Forces, its unity and integrity, its sovereignty.
The Flag : the tricolour, the ‘Tiranga’, symbol of the nation, representative of the pride of the country and the valour of our Security Forces who are ready to shed their blood for the dignity, defence, and sovereignty of this very Nation under this very Flag.
Even as India and we Indians take pride in singing, “Vijaye Vishwa tiranga Payara, Jhanda Ooncha rahe hamara,” it was with shock, sorrow, and anger that we learnt that the hoisting of the National Flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar was not done or rather, was not allowed, this year. For the last twenty years, after the eruption of the most deadly terrorism in the State, every year, Security Forces in the vicinity of Lal Chowk have unfurled the tricolour with the respect it deserves.
Yet this year, inexplicably, and without a word of explanation, there was no Republic Day celebration in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk by the security forces; nor was the tricolour hoisted atop the clock tower there, which has been customary over the last 20 years of militancy. Instead, this bustling business hub was in a state of uneasy calm as people all over the Kashmir Valley remained indoors due to a shutdown call by separatists and the heavy presence of security forces.
Till the time of writing, there was no official word on why the celebration was not held Tuesday. Who withheld it?
As Lal Chowk, which recently witnessed a long terror siege of nearly 23 hours, wore a deserted look, the gun-toting men in uniform were alert and in battle-ready mode. Would it not have boosted their morale to hoist the most visible symbol of the Republic on Republic Day?
Security forces used to have their own Republic Day celebration in Lal Chowk, and would distribute sweets and sing the national anthem, which would be followed by the hoisting of the Tiranga over the clock tower situated right in the centre of the market, a wire service from Srinagar noted. But this year was unfathomably different.
To suggest that the 23-hour-long fidayeen attack at Lal Chowk was a reason not to hold the function is frivolous, smacks of a hidden agenda, and puts a question mark on the preparedness of the security forces. In reality, Lal Chowk has seen far more testing times in the last twenty years; many more fidayeens have gone on for more than 24 hours. The security forces have neutralized many deadly fidayeen attacks and grenades in the vicinity of the Lal Chowk clock tower, where the national flag would flutter with the same honour, even as terrorists would be killed.
The recent repeated declarations of Defence Minister AK Antony and Jammu & Kashmir State DG Police Kuldeep Khuda led the country to believe that violence in the Kashmir Valley had declined and that the situation was moving towards normalcy. So why were security forces withdrawn from Kashmir if the threat loomed to such an extent that Security Forces could not even unfurl the Indian Flag on Indian soil in Jammu & Kashmir?
The deadpan silence and offering of lame excuses raises a question mark over the Government of Jammu & Kashmir. The whole exercise seems to be a pre-calibrated move to appease certain elements, and reeks of deeper dangers on the ground.
At whose behest was this done, and why? The question is of prime importance and is interrelated to the country, the security apparatus, the citizens, and the country’s sovereignty.
It is also pertinent that though the BSF and the CRPF have been unfurling the flag on Republic Day and Independence Day, one never sees officials of Jammu & Kashmir Police, not even the closest police station SHO, attend it? True, the official Government function takes place in Bakshi Stadium, but that does not mean that hoisting the flag at the Lal Chowk Clock Tower is unconstitutional or not within the parameters of Indian democracy.
This abject negation of a ceremony so pregnant with the symbolism of the Republic cannot be without an ulterior motive. Behind the façade of untruth are murmurs that point a finger at the corridors of power. Indeed, the courage of men involved in counter terror operations is unquestionable, but the conduct and aspirations of certain politicians and top level officials is debatable.
During the unrest created by the PDP and Hurriyat and other politicians in the Kashmir Valley over the making of makeshift Yatri tents in Baltal to provide better facilities to Amarnath pilgrims, the National Flag was torn down and spitted upon.
“De ragda, de ragda, Hindustan (after vehemently beating their shoes on the flag and ground), jive jive Pakistan,” was followed by a mad frenzy of slogans and hoisting of the Pakistani flag. The CRPF was asked to be a mute spectator to disrespect of such magnitude, and State DG allowed it to flutter at Lal Chowk for hours, atop the very same clock tower!
Interestingly, it was the son-of-the-soil inclination of the PDP-NC combine that allowed the coronation of Kuldeep Khuda as State Police Chief, though better, more competent officers were available. He also enjoys an enviable proximity to certain Central leaders (the Home Minister attended the marriage of his daughter in Jammu).
Today there are whispers that he suggested that the act of unfurling the flag was resented by the local population and the CRPF should not unfurl it, though they had been maintaining this tradition for two decades.
The present Chief Minister, then a Member of Parliament, in his by now famous speech had asserted that he was a Muslim and he was an Indian. He had said that not even an inch of land would be given.
Is this a pointer to an emerging pattern, where the Union Home Minister favours secret parleys with secessionist and separatist forces? Was this disregard done to please these very elements? What is the Government up to? Is it another symbolic tactic to distance Kashmir from India?
Or is Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) Lal Chowk not India at all; has it been handed over to Pakistan and Islamic terrorists?
All along, the separatists and other terror-supporting forces have been against the Indian flag flying from this clock tower, and at the peak of terrorism the Pakistani flag would often be hoisted over it. The then BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi hoisted the flag at very clock tower on 26 Jan 1992, amidst rocket attacks at the venue, for this very same reason.
But today even the BJP is mum at this national sacrilege. Is this silence in acceptance of the separatists’ demands or self-rule and the erosion of Indian sovereignty in Jammu & Kashmir? Recently, BJP think tank Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation invited a supporter of PDP’s demand for self-rule at a function to observe Exodus Day on Jan. 19!
The signals emanating are clear and an alarm bell for the country to recognize another conspiracy.
The author is convener, Daughters of Vitasta
International Kashmir Federation (IKF) marked the 20th year of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus which began in January 1989 on the U.S. Capitol Hill. IKF met with the State Department officials and members of Congress and Senate on January 20 and January 21 for assistance with the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits. A memorandum was submitted to the Secretary of State which read:
Kashmiri Pandits hail from Kashmir, the northernmost area of India and have been struggling for past two decades as refugees in their own country. “In fact, today marks the day two decades ago, when 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus, called Kashmiri Pandits, were driven away after thousands were murdered and raped.
We call it the Exodus Day for Kashmiri Pandits, which is recognized throughout the world to remember those unfortunate people as well as bring awareness to this issue. Right at the moment, thousands of these uprooted people are living in other parts of India as refugees. In direct violation of the Constitution of India and the United Nations Charter, the Kashmiri politicians have denied the basic human rights to Hindus.
They have also purposely created an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity so that like Hindus, Sikhs and secular Muslims of Kashmir region, the Hindus of Jammu and adjoining cities feel extremely unsafe and helpless and are forced to leave their homes and hearths en mass.
The Government of India has not made an effort to rehabilitate the Pandit refugees in their own country. It has been only talking about their return without any consideration for their safety. The only thing the Government must do is to carve out a safe haven for this minority community in Kashmir. This safe haven, also called ‘Panun Kashmir’ meaning ‘My Kashmir’ will allow the Kashmiri Hindus promote their culture in safety.
The first requirement is survival, culture comes later. Kashmiri Pandits want to return to Kashmir because, first, they have lived there for thousands of years; second, because their jobs are there; third, because the backdrop of their ethos is there.
This community is scattered all around India and is very quickly losing its culture and heritage. By carving out this land in the Indian State of Kashmir, the Government of India would be allowing this intellectual and very educated community to live without fear of persecution.
The Government of India needs to address the question of the social, political and economic aspirations of the community, which must be considered as an indispensable component of any future settlement on Kashmir.
“Twenty years have passed and our people are still disenfranchised politically, socially and economically. More than 45,000 people are still in camps. The State Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been busy making false promises while Government of India has been consistent with a policy of appeasement”, said Jeevan Zutshi, the Chairman of International Kashmir Federation, an international body of Kashmiri Pandits fighting for the survival of their community. IKF delegates came from New York, California, Washington, D.C and Florida.
They met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Owen on the morning of Thursday January 21st for more than an hour. Maharaj Kaul, IKF delegate from New York started the meeting with the history of ancient Kashmir up to 1947 and Pakistan’s insurgency and indoctrination of the muslim majority community in Kashmir, which otherwise was an example of religious harmony and co-existence.
Deepak Ganju, IKF delegate from Florida and the past President of Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) talked about the deplorable state of the Kashmiri pandit refugees in camps in Jammu. Mr. Owens was familiar with the Kashmir Problem but was appalled at the level of adversity faced by Kashmiri Pandits.
Jeevan Zutshi talked about various resolutions and declared that the only solution to the present crisis was to carve out a separate land for Kashmiri Pandits and other nationalistic and peace loving Indians within Kashmir.
“Kashmir is the home to 750,000 Pandits and making an enclave for them within Kashmir will provide a legal territory and they can feel a high level of security so they feel they belong in their ancient land where they have been for thousands of years. This land will be administered by the Central Government of India.”
IKF then had a candid discussion with Congressman Mike Honda who admitted only knowing of the Kashmir Problem through an international Symposium convened by Mr. Zutshi in 2003 and attended by Jim McDermott, Terrista Schaffer, Congressman Pete Stark and various think tanks.
Mr. Honda was very receptive to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in India and promised his support.
IKF then briefed Republican Congressman Ed Royce, Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman Jerry McNerney and Senator Sherrod Brown of the Kashmir Problem and the Panun Kashmir movement.
“It was a very successful set of meetings in which the plight of Kashmiri Pandits was front and center. It was also an achievement that they were further educated on the Kashmir Problem and Panun Kashmir solution”, said Jeevan Zutshi.
3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference concludes
Pandits want nothing short of Homeland
King C Bharati
Jammu, April 12: The two-day 3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference (WKPC) today concluded with a spate of resolutions for the future strategy of the community and stressed that the community would settle for nothing short of their own Homeland within Kashmir Valley with a Union Territory status.
The unanimity among the speakers was focused on the demand of Homeland while many other suggestions came to fore for the future course of action to fight the apathy of the central and state government towards the community which has been facing extinction in their 19th year of forced exile.
The concluding day was devoted mainly to women and youth of the community to discuss the challenges faced by these sections in exile and set agenda for the future with speakers debating on the topics: KP Women: Challenges in exile and KP Youth in Exile: Challenges galore.
While women were seen more aggressive today with a speaker asking the community not to stick to two child norm because of dwindling KP population while youth stressed for more pragmatic and modern approach to save the culture and the future of the young generation.
The twin sessions were fully surcharged with many speakers spitting fire reminding the audience that KPs were still a force to reckon with and infusing new energy to the restless Pandits who find themselves at the cross roads of the future.
The short documentaries depicting the plight of KPs in exile and their massacres in Valley brought tears to the audience while the delegation of Sikhs from Batote and Anandpur Sahib called for aggressive approach to fight the discrimination.
Ashok Khajuria, state president of the BJP while assuring whole hearted support of Jammuites to KPs thanked them for their wholehearted support during Amarnath agitation and asked them to fight all kinds’ discrimination unitedly.
Khajuria while extending full support to Homeland assured to take-up KPs problems in Assembly.
He said that Hindus would have to wake up as in India secularism means anything anti-Hindu which has to be fought out valiantly by all the Hindus together.
It was Dr Shailja Bhardwaj who set the stage on fire with her fiery speech recharging the entire Zorawar complex prompting S Mehar Singh from Anadpur Sahib to come on stage to present a Shawl to her.
S Mehar Singh thundered on stage asking KPs to produce such fiery daughters if they want to exist in this kind of discriminatory atmosphere.
S Mehar Singh also presented a Saropa to Dr Agnishekhar on the occasion as a symbol of support to the community.
Earlier Dr Phoola Kaul termed Jawahar Lal Nehru as a blot on the face of community blaming him for the entire mess that the community was facing now.
She hoped that some day some KP would rise like a Phoenix to washout that blot and set this community free from the clutches of official apathy.
The women speakers lamented that the only Hindu school for KP women: Lal Ded Girls School was destroyed by the terrorists to finish every symbol KPs in Valley.
They said that KPs must keep in mind that they will return to their native land reminding them that if Jews could go back to Israel after 2000 years why KPs can’t keep their hopes alive to reclaim their land.
The women who spoke on the occasion include Dr Shailja Bhardwaj, Dr Khema Koul, Dr Phoola Koul, Ms Bharti Bakshi, Ms Priya Raina and Dr Susheela Katroo.
Later during the youth session Sidarth Zarabi, senior editor (news) Network 18 asked the community to work out a common minimum programme instead of wasting time on unity moves.
Zarabi said that community would have to be pragmatic and unity was not possible which was evident from the way our national politics was going on adding it was the time of coalitions and KPs too must form a coalition where issues would be important rather than the individuals.
Others who spoke during the youth session include Rahul Koul, Reshim Hangloo etc.
Panun Kashmir also presented Kuldeep Wattal Memorial awards to prominent KPs which include Krishan Ji Langoo, Kuldeep Saprui, Ravi Bhan, Naina Sapru, Lovely Wangoo etc.
In a significant development the separate homeland demand was also endorsed by a cross section of different organizations and individuals including Kashmiri Samiti Delhi, All India Brhamrishi Maha Sangh, All India Saraswat Brahman Association and Roots in Kashmir, a Delhi headquartered global organization of Kashmiri Pandit youth.
In a show of solidarity with the basic demand of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits many intellectuals from Jammu including Dr. Jitender. Singh, Mr. Ram Sahay,’ Mr. B.S. Salathia, and Mr. Ashok Gupta of Shiv Sena have already expressed their full support to the homeland demand of Kashmiri Pandits during the first day of the conference.
Among the prominent speakers who spoke in favour of separate homeland demand of the displaced Pandits included Ashwani Chrangu and Sunil Shakdar a prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader and former president of Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi.
The Kashmiri Pandit speakers expressed their great appreciation for the accommodation and support provided to them by the people of Jammu. They expressed their full support and solidarity with the people of Jammu in their fight for removing the regional discrimination and Kashmir centric policies of the government.
Among the demands put forth by the conference were the creation of separate homeland for Kashmiri Pandits, state subject certificates for all seven lakh Kashmiri Pandits world wide, inclusion of all eligible displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the electoral rolls of the state, constitution of a Jammu based tribunal to speedily resolve the cases of illegal occupation of Pandit properties in the Valley, equal treatment to the refuges from POK and West Pakistan.
Spates of resolutions were passed during the different sessions of the conference as a document to form, the future course of action by the community.
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