This is an appeal
by the intellectuals of a small yet distinct ethno-religious community,
the Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) who have a history of more than five thousand
years of a rich cultural tradition and a unique religious philosophy of
the universality of man, peace and amity amongst peoples. Down the ages,
this aboriginal community of the valley of Kashmir has readily opened itself
to foreigners of all faiths, creeds and professions who came as travellers
and settlers. However, it has repeatedly been the tragic victim of religious
persecution, forcible conversion, violence and brutal massacre at the hands
of invading muslim zealots and religious fanatics leading to repeated exodus
of the community, rendering it a minority in its own land.
appeal gives a brief outline of the barbarities that the community faced
at the hands of the despotic Muslim rulers since the heydays of Islamic
fundamentalism, as it made inroads into Kashmir after the 13th century.
It traces the present escalation of human rights violations amounting to
genocide of this community to a cruel and criminal conspiracy by the fanatical
and fundamentalist forces which gained ascendancy
and got fresh impetus
during the last four decades. It also provides a bird's eye-view of the
sprouting of dormant forces of Islamic Fundamentalism during these years
in the religious schools that mushroomed in the valley and became nurseries
for the growth of religious hatred, militancy and terrorism. This indoctrination
prompted and incited young cadres to cross over to Pakistan and Pakistan-held
Kashmir so as to receive arms training and carry out the diabolical plan
for the muslimization of Kashmir as a prelude to its secession from secular
democratic India. The hounding out of more than three hundred thousand
Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) from the valley from 1989 onwards was the first
phase of this sinister operation.
This appeal brings out in vivid detail persecution
of the minority community followed by threats, abductions, extortions,
tortures and killing by brutal means of its members from all walks of life
which led to exodus. A virulent disinformation campaign was started before
the mass exodus against this community and followed up with fanatical zeal,
after the exodus, in order to secure total ruination of the community.
The present plight of the community, once given to academic, philosophical
and spiritual pursuits, and now rootless and without identity, is given
in some detail. Over one thousand members of the community have been killed
by the terrorists and the thousands are dying in the miserable camps for
want of basic amenities, shelter, medicare and family support; and thousands
of its youth are getting scattered in search of livelihood. It is feared
that at the present rate of dispersal the community is disintegrating beyond
redemption and facing total extinction.
This appeal invokes the conscience and compassion
of the civilized world to grasp the grim tragedy facing the Kashmiri Pandit
community and to stand up and speak for it and help it regain its lost
status and get rehabilitated once again, with honor and dignity in its
One of many refugee camps at Jammu.