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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

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Symbol of Unity

 
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Kashmir Issue: New Perspectives

[ A thought-provoking symposium was organised by the Indo-European Kashmir Forum at the House of Commons, London, in November 1998 on the Kashmir issue as viewed in new perspectives. Views expressed at the symposium by Shri C.L Gadoo, President, Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi, appeared in our January 1999 issue. We reproduce hereunder relevant extracts from the speeches made by Justice M.L Bhat (retd.) and Shri Ashok Bhan, advocate, Supreme Court of India, at this symposium. Even though some of the observations and conclusions are repetitive, their publication appears imperative for purposes of reference and record. - Editor.

TEXT  OF  JUSTICE  M. L. BHAT'S  PAPER

We are members of the Kashmiri Pandit community which is a microscopic ethnic minority in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir being a part of India is in an utter shambles at this time and has been facing this situation for the last 10 years. Our ethos, culture and heritage is sought to be completely destroyed by the terrorists, materially and morally helped by Pakistan. 

 To avenge their defeats at the hands of India, Pakistan embarked on sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir. It is a matter of common knowledge that, for the last 10 years, the people of Kashmir, particularly Kashmiri Hindus and Hindus of the Doda district in Jammu, in particular, are under perpetual threat from the Pakistani-sponsored militants. They lured and tempted the uneducated youth to take arms against their own brethren with whom they had lived for centuries in peace and tranquillity. 

The Proxy War

As armed insurgency was supervised, controlled and directed from across the border, sophisticated weapons were smuggled into Kashmir by the Pakistan army and their ISI agency and lethal weapons pumped into the Valley. These arms were not meant for fighting the Indian armed forces in open battle but were meant for killing the innocent local people who had lived there for centuries. It was the most barbaric, inhuman and dangerous venture which could be launched against innocent Kashmiris consisting of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other communities by Pakistan alone. The Kashmiri 

Pandit community was the prime target of the brutalities perpetuated by the armed terrorists. A reign of terror was let loose in January 1990 and the minority Kashmiri Hindus were driven out at gun-point from the Valley. They became refugees in their own homeland and sought refuge in Jammu, Delhi and various other places. They left their homes and hearths behind which now stand destroyed or have been forcibly occupied by the armed insurgents. 

 The Pakistan government has a direct responsibility for the disaster which the armed insurgents have heaped on the Kashmiri people. It is shocking that this is being done in the name of religion. The wholesale massacre of the Kashmiri population who are innocent and unarmed is termed as 'Holy War'. 

British Government Sidetracking Facts

No country has thought it proper to condemn the Pakistan government for the brutalities they have inflicted on the Kashmiri people. British society, which has a glorious past and who is known for its high traditions and value-based diplomacy, could play an important role in stopping the brutalities and massacre resorted to by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists. It is rather shocking that this Labour government instead of addressing itself to the relevant issues of saving innocent persons from being killed, is bogged down in pursuing irrelevant issues. 

 Plebiscite/referendum has become obsolete as the solution for the Kashmir problem. For conducting plebiscite, other pre-conditions were to be complied with by Pakistan. They had to withdraw their entire army from every part of Kashmir and restore possession thereof to its erstwhile ruler whose 
successor in interest is the Government of India. Without complying with these fundamental conditions, the holding of plebiscite could not be considered. Pakistan has frustrated UN resolutions in this regard. They agreed after a gap of about 24 years, considering the futility of the UN resolution, to resolve the dispute bilaterally, peacefully and without the intervention of any third party. 

 Moreover, Pakistan was aware that much water had flown under the bridges of Kashmir and the people have been living in peace there after having thrown their lot with the Indian Union. By now, general elections have taken place to the Legislative Assembly there nine times since 1952 and the people of the State have voted consistently in accordance with democratic norms and have elected governments of their choice. 

Simla Agreement

The Simla Agreement paved the way in 1972 after it was signed for resolution of the Kashmir dispute in the manner indicated above. The entire world is aware of subsequent developments. The present British government, instead of persuading Pakistan to stop aiding and abetting armed insurgents, are raising artificial issues of the Kashmir dispute and false allegations about human rights violations. It is an irony that the country with an historical background which, has saved the world from Nazi and Fascist onslaught, is by their conspicuous silence and by side tracking the suffering and misery of the Kashmiri people, glorifying Pakistan's armed crusade against innocent Kashmiri people, not only Hindus but members of the Muslim community in large number, have been killed and are being killed at present. Thousands of Hindus and Muslims have been eliminated and a tremendous amount of blood has been shed on the soil of Kashmir in the last 10 years. 

 We are the citizens of the largest democracy of the world, that is India, who are inspired by the British system of rule and by its democratic concepts; we do hope that the British government will come forward and raise its voice against the barbaric and inhuman killings of Kashmiri people at the hands of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists. 

 The only issue which needs to be resolved at present is the withdrawal of armed insurgents from the soil of Kashmir and stoppage of the shedding of blood and the killing of innocent people in Kashmir. Pakistani-sponsored terrorism has been violating human rights continuously for the last one decade. The British government is worried about the rights of armed terrorists and do not care a fig about the violation of human rights of innocent people who are considered a soft target by being killed by the armed insurgents. 

 Of late Pakistan has been pushing Afghanis, Sudanese and Pakistanis inside Kashmir itself to continue the killing of innocent Kashmiris. These mercenaries have hijacked the terrorism and are perpetuating brutal killings on Kashmiri people. The local Muslims have realised the nefarious gameplan of Pakistan and are disgusted with the ugly situation brought about by the terrorists. People in Kashmir want to live in peace. They abhor bloodshed, violence and killing of their fellow Kashmiris. 

Rich Sufi Traditions

Kashmir has been an abode of saints and sages who were from both Hindu and Muslim communities. They have preached peace and brotherhood, love and affection among the people irrespective of religious considerations. The rich traditions of Kashmir culture are also sought to be destroyed. The worst example of the same can be found in the burning of a pious mosque in Central Kashmir by a hardcore terrorist of Pakistan, Mastgul. There are hundreds of examples of this nature which only show that Pakistan has no love for the people of Kashmir, they only have lust for its land. They have behaved like the enemies of the Kashmiri people. 

Sufferings of Migrants

We would therefore like to make an appeal to Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government and to the British people to raise their voice and mobilise the world opinion against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and about its dreaded consequences. The 'Unholy War' which is fought by proxy by Pakistan against the innocent people of Kashmir must end. The Biritish government should also see the plight of the Kashmiri Pandit community who were hounded out from Kashmir and are at present living in sub-human conditions in refugee camps al Jammu and Delhi. They have undergone and at present are also undergoing untold miseries and sufferings. They have lost their business, belongings, property, houses and hearths. 

 The British interest is not going to suffer if they raise their voice against the brutalities of the terrorists in Kashmir and if they advocate that war against the innocent people oF Kashmir must be stopped forthwith and Pakistan be treated as a terrorist country. The British government will be acting only in tune with its glorious traditions. 

 Three lakh (300,000) members of the Kashmiri Pandit community need to be saved from extinction anti it is time that the world community in general old the British people in particular, considered the necessity ot their rehabilitation in their homeland. This is possible only if terrorism is stopped and Pakistan is told in clear terms by its friends, including the Labour government, to withdraw the mercenaries from the soil of Kashmir and put an end to all types of terrorism. An atmosphere of peace and tranquillity is to he restored which has been spoiled by Pakistan's machinations. 

 We have deep faith in the democratic values, peace and love for humanity. We do not consider violence as a solution tor resolving any problem. Our deep faith in peace has prevented us from advocating and preparing our youth to resort to arms, to retaliate to the terrorist brutality in the stale of Jammu and Kashmir. 

TEXT  OF  SHRI  ASHOK  BHAN'S  PAPER

Kashmir today is without Kashmiri Pandits. A religious minorily, with its 5,000 years of evidenced history and roots linked with Kashmir, was under a concerted plan of ethnic cleansing, forcibly hounded out enmasse from their natural habitat. 

Kashmir Sans Kashmiri Pandits

This community was reduced to minuscule minority by cultural aggressions in the past and, therefore, in 1947, according to census figures, the population of this community was 15%, in 1981 5%, in 1991 .01% and today a big 99.9% of this community (about 350,000) population has been forced to flee Kashmir. These 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits live in abysmal/appalling conditions, 'as refugees', in camps in Jammu and Delhi. This mass exodus of 1990 was followed by sustained terror, rapes, murder, loot and kidnappings. About 1,500 Kashmiri Pandits, including women and children, were brutally killed, about 250 religious shrines were burnt down and 30,000 agricultural families deprived of their lands, 20,000 business establishments looted and devastated, more than 30,000 houses reduced  to ashes and 90% of the houses looted and about 25,000 vacant houses and other properties left behind have been forcibly occupied. 

A Devastated Community

As a result of this carefully drawn-our strategy and plan of ethno-religious cleansing of Kashmin Pandits by the armed insurgents, this community is today scattered, devastated and disintegrated. It is living in sub-human conditions in more then 50 refugee camps in different parts of India. All that they get from the government is 25.00 pounds only per month per family of four. The community is enormously suffering from a serious health trauma, increased psychological strain, poverty and unhygienic conditions. The mortality rate is high due to natural and unnatural causes, more than 5,000 persons have died due to changed environment. This community is facing extinction due to increased death rate and a very low birth rate. The birth rate has reduced to only 7 per hundred families. 

 During the last two years alone, militants have killed hundreds of people, including a large number of women and children, and even infants have not been spared. In Sangrampora and Wandhama villages of the Valley, 35 Kashmiri Pandits were killed, in Chapnari village of Jammu 26 innocent Hindus were killed, in Shahna-Thakraie village of Jammu 16 innocent people were killed, in Gool Gulabgarh village in Jammu 6 Kashmiri Pandits were killed and another 26 people were killed in Chamba village. 

    Pakistanis engaged in trans-border terrorism and indulged in international crimes characterized as gross human rights violations. The devices of pilotless aircraftslaid with lethal material are being sent to J&K state. The mercenaries, after wearing Indian Army uniforms, indulge in killings masquerading as army personnel to unleash hatred against the security forces who are engaged in safeguarding the lives and property of the people. The international terrorist Bin Laden is threatening to send Islamic mercenaries to Kashmir for making it a graveyard. This calls for a grave concern of the international community for the human rights situation of the people in Kashmir. 

Terrifying Statistics

To be more precise, the terrorist violence has brought about a disaster to all the communities in Kashmir, its culture, its development, its overall social conditions and so on. Following are the figures of the incidents of violence, killing, kidnapping, extortion, destruction of properties and recovery of weapons from mercenaries which indicate the magnitude of the miseries suffered by Kashmiris. 

Table I: Terrorist Violence in J&K

Year

Total Incidents

Attacks on SF

Attacks on Others

Explosion & Arson

Other Incidents

1988

390

6

1

142

241

1989

2154

49

73

840

1192

1990

3905

1098

485

1810

512

1991

3122

1999

321

611

191

1992

4971

3413

507

744

307

1993

4457

2573

539

900

445

1994

6895

2675

1594

1774

852

1995

6819

2570

1836

1633

780

1996

5523

1473

2133

1260

657

1997

3421

1212

1399

672

457

1998 (June)

1213

458

505

256

20

Total

42870

17526

9393

10642

5654

Table II: Killings in Terrorist Violence

Year

1988-91

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998 (June) 

Total

Total Killed

 2693 

1909 

2567 

2867 

2768 

2858 

2199 

831 

18691

SF Personnel 

331 

177 

216 

199 

234 

185 

186 

85 

1613

Govt. Officials

123 

36 

34 

26 

46 

 67 

26 

366

Top Political Leaders

1

-

2

6

1

5

-

-

15

Politicians

37

4

8

6

12

29

20

5

121

Judiciary

5

-

1

-

2

2

-

-

10

Pressmen

3

1

1

2

2

1

-

-

10

Hindus

228

67

87

95

99

110

55

96

837

Muslims

1121

706

841

858

983

1217

828

326

6880

Sikhs

18

10

7

5

2

3

-

1

46

Others

28

35

40

73

55

30

9

-

270

Militants

798

873

1330

1596

1332

1209

1075

310

8523

Foreign Tourists

1

-

-

1

1

-

-

-

3

Table III: Kidnappings by Militants

Year

1989-91

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998 (June)

Total

Incidents

159

124

181

332

395

473

448

141

2255

Persons Abducted

231

183

269

368

548

666

440

148

2853

Foreigners*

12

-

-

6

-

-

-

20

Women

16

13

26

20

31

20

19

-

145

Politicians

86

26

4

3

3

4

3

-

129

Govt. Officers

48

43

37

36

55

48

39

2

308

SF Personnel

41

38

92

25

14

21

20

-

251

Killed

59

38

92

157

207

345

164

56

1118

Released**

106

112

128

164

163

104

82

21

879

Whereabout not known

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

88

88

 * Israelis-7, Swedish-2, Dutch-1, Japanese-1, French-1, British-4, Americans-2, German-1 and Norweign-1.

 ** In most cases released after extortion, torture, exchange of militants, rape (Remaining untraced).

Table IV: Criminal Acts Extortion* & Lootings by Militants

Year

Incidents

Amount Robbed (in Rupees)

1990

23

2,26,91,200

1991

31

62,30,768

1992

39

64,86,563

1993

50

83,57,626

1994

149

5,48,46,532

1995

130

31,37,826

1996

139

25,20,205

1997

139

28,89,696

1998 (June)

31

06,97,200

Total

731

11,00,37,616

  * Only a small fraction of such cases is reported.

Components of Low-Intensity War

Pakistan's strategy of continuing a low-intensity war with India has the following components, (i) intensification of terrorist activities in a wide area extending from J&K to the North-East, especially Assam; (ii) strengthening the strategic alliance between Kashmiri militants and international terrorist groups; (iii) focusing on coordinated attacks by the militant outfits on the security forces in J&K and the North-East, (iv) using the neighbouring countries to the north and east of India for executing terrorist activities in India and (v) strengthening the propaganda against India. Through revamping the Sada-e-Hurriyat, a clandestine channel run by ISI, Pakistan and ISI agency has a direct hand in infiltrating Afghans and other mercenaries into J&K State and in creating militant outfits known as Hizbul-Mujahidin, Lashkar-e-Markaz-ul-Dowerwal, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which is the renamed version of Harkat-ul-Ansar, that has been declared as a terrorist outfit by USA. ISI has spread its tentacles in communally sensitive areas of UP, Bihar and Assam for creating a nexus between various Pan-Islamic outfits. Indo-Pak border vulnerability to drug trafficking is being used by ISI. 479 kgs and 420 kgs. of heroin of Pakistan-Afghanistan origin were seized in 1995-1996 and about 640 kgs seized in 1997. The menance of drug trafficking along the Indo-Pak border has assumed alarming proportions. 

Change in Militancy Pattern

The concerns voiced by international community through the UN Human Rights Commission, the U.N. General Assembly, the National Human Rights Commission of India, to which the complaints have already been made of the violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people, have not brought about any peace in Kashmir; instead the pattern of militancy has changed. The United States has taken tough measures to deal with the menace of international terrorism. The Indian nation-state shall also be called upon to deal sternly with terrorists to ensure the full enjoyment of the human rights by the citizens. 

 The countries from where the terrorists receive support and material and moral back-up should be put on notice, that if they do not stop arming, training and supporting the trans-border terrorism and bring the perpetrators of human rights violatios to book, such country shall be declared as a 'Terrorist State' by the international community and severe sanctions and censures shall be applied, then only the menace of terrorism can be effectively eliminated and perpetrators of massive and gross violations of human rights can be punished. 

Table V: Destruction of Property by Militants

Year

Total Incidents

Govt. Bldg.

Educational Institutions

Hospitals

Private Houses

Bridges

Shops

1988

128

4

4

-

19

1

-

1989

294

191

172

-

427

16

-

1990

646

501

129

-

1242

172

202

1991

391

45

24

-

819

24

83

1992

564

65

57

-

2312

28

200

1993

662

98

46

-

1110

34

400

1994

606

172

119

4

666

46

162

1995

688

127

133

2

1814

16

402

1996

482

52

68

3

602

2

161

1997

259

13

11

1

437

5

67

1998 (June)

164

9

7

-

112

-

31

Total

4858

1277

770

10

9560

344

1708

Table VI: Recovery of Weapons from Militants

Weapons/Explosives

1988-93

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998 (June)

Total Incidents

Rocket Launchers

550

31

36

43

81

94

835

Machine Guns

640

141

81

96

76

26

1060

AK Series Rifles

10275

2196

2055

2150

1725

590

18991

Sniper Rifles

77

41

38

49

60

26

292

Pistols/Revolvers

3413

940

965

1052

1024

313

7655

Ammunition (Assorted)
(thousands)

1390

446

342

343

270

147

2903

Grenandes

12846

2603

2870

3949

5124

2361

29753

Rockets

1140

395

170

378

479

277

2839

Rocket Boosters

602

66

24

119

208

72

1091

Mines

2391

1049

634

552

408

404

5579

Guns

285

223

370

303

191

61

1433

Explosives (Kg.) 

6265

1342

1484

2382

6448

1352

18173

Bombs

1384

56

126

31

204

80

1881

Grenade Launchers

11

56

27

21

98

30

243

Mortar

12

7

12

3

3

51

88

WT Sets

298

211

246

413

302

233

1703

Human Rights Violations of KPs

In India, Parliament enacted an Act to provide for constitution of a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commissions in the states and Human Rights Courts for better protection of human rights and for all matters  connected therewith and incidental thereto, in 1993, which is called; the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. This Act applies to whole of India. The Kashmiri Pandits have brought their massive violations of human rights to the notice of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) way back in 1995-1996, through a detailed petition/ memorandum filed by Panun Kashmir and Kashmiri     Samiti Delhi and others, the representative organizations of Kashmiri Pandits. 

 The NHRC has heard the petitioners in person and through their lawyers, issued notices to the Union of India and J&K Government. 

 The hearings have reached advance stages. Full quorum of NHRC visited J&K State in November 1998 and interacted with wider sections of people and the Kashmiri Pandits. 

 A team headed by Director-General Investigations of the NHRC went to the State in February 1998 to probe into the causes of killing of 26 innocent Kashmiri Pandits, including 9 women, 6 children and 2 infants, besides investigating the other violations of the human rights. Interim measures to provide security and compensation to the remaining Kashmiri Pandits was instantly taken by the NHRC. The lone survivor, a young boy, was provided with necessary wherewithal for his upbringing, including his education, till he grows up. The NHRC is presently looking into the problem of and causes for distress sales of immovable properties by the Kashmiri Pandits, left behind in Kashmir. The J&K Govt. has been called upon by the NHRC to prepare details and inventories of the properties left behind at district levels, and submit the same to it. 

Alarming Security Situation on Border

The security situation along the Indo-Pak border continues to be very alarming. The tensions and killings in various parts of the State are a continuing phenomenon. The State and Central governments are primary engaged in combating the security-related problems. Kashmiri Pandit problems have, however, received no serious considerations, except that the Home Minister, Shri L.K. Advani, made statements that their (Kashmir) Pandits) problem is a priority item on the Central Govt.'s policy agenda. 

 Today Kashmiri society is on historical cross-roads. Its peaceful ethos, its liberal Islam, its culture of Sufi saints, its Kashmiriyat and its image as a strong citadel of co-existence and pluralistic society lay shattered and devastated by the decade-old violence by terrorists and mercenaries. The threat of foisting an alien way of life on Kashmiris by pan-Islamic fanatics is very grave. The Kashmiri society, which is predominantly Muslim, has to make the choice between the Taliban-type pan-Islamic fanatic way of life and/or the pluralistic, peaceful democratic and modern way of life. Kashmiris have to decide for themselves. They have to seriously introspect the happenings and violence of the past one decade and decide about the future socio-political dispensation under which they have to live. 

 The ethno-religious minority of Kashmiri Pandits which has the original indigenous roots in history linked with Kashmir, have inalienable right of life in that land. Nobody can wish away their rights in the land. If the democratic way of life has to exist and function genuinely in Kashmir, all the violence and terrorism has to end. The violence perpetrated from across the border by Pakistan, ISI operators and other groups has to come to an end. There is a need to enlarge the political space in Kashmir to encompass the views which have not yet been heard, or have not yet participated, for setting up the trend towards a greater tolerant and pluralistic process. Kashmiris are today longing for deciding their matters through peaceful and democratic process - we all must nurture and develop such processes which can put an overall end to the death and destruction phenomenon unleashed by violence in the beautiful vale of Kashmir. 

 Any new dispensation for lasting solutions in whichever form is incomplete without the presence, participation and physical involvement of the Kashmiri Pandit community as a whole in the overall length and breadth of the Valley. 

 We humbly appeal to the United Kingdom's public and official opinion to emphatically urge Pakistan to stop trans-border terrorism on the peaceful people of Kashmir and allow us to pick up once again the peaceful, pluralistic and democratic way of life. Enough is enough. In Kashmir, much blood has been shed by now, please allow us to reknit, reweave and revive the ethos of Kashmir once again for the full enjoyment of human development. 

 All the measures that reduce tensions and build confidence must be pursued by India and Pakistan bilaterally and the international community, including Great Britain, must sincerely strengthen such processes, to live up to the ideals of universal peace and for upholding the human rights of all and one. 

Source: Koshur Samachar

Atrocities in Kashmir

 

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