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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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F u t u r e  o f  K a s h m i r i  P a n d i t s

Alternative Strategies in Present Political Scenario

Kashmir is no more a normal place now. It is facing a number of problems, the most important is that it is a place that lives without a huge part of people – Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus). The valley is in the grip of terrorist trauma engineered by Pakistan. Three regular wars 1947-48, 1965, 1971, Kargil mis-adventure in 1999 and ongoing low cost proxy war, simply to grab Kashmir from India. The martyrs for Kashmir came from every nook and corner of the country from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. There is hardly any place in Kashmir which is not wet with the Indian blood. Terrorist violence in Kashmir has threatened the unity of India and the very survival of Kashmiri Hindu minority. During 1989-90, terrorist killings were accompanied by rape, torture and atrocities unheard of in the annals of human history. 24,000 residential houses and 14430 business houses were destroyed. About 12500 orchards of Hindus were grabbed by Muslims. 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus had to flee to save their lives and honour of womenfolk. They migrated primarily to Jammu and Delhi, during dark hours of night without any of their belongings. Kashmiri Pandits became refugee in their own country!

The exodus of the Hindus from Kashmir was followed by wide-spread depredation of their places of worship. The Minister of State for Home, Govt. of India, stated in the Parliament on 12th March 1993 that 28 temples and Hindu shrines were demolished and desecrated in Kashmir during the year 1989 to 1991, while actual number of the temples demolished and damaged was much larger. 68 temples and Hindu shrines located in remote villages were burnt and demolished or damaged, about which reports were never collected by the State government. In the aftermath of the demolition of Babri structure, erupted into widespread attack on the Hindu temples and places of worship, 77 temples were demolished, burnt or damaged and desecrated. The destruction of the temples and religious institutions was evidently aimed to destroy the Hindu religious traditions and culture, thereby to pave the way for the total Islamisation of Kashmir.

The ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Kashmir, is a part of the game plan by the Muslim fundamentalists to change the demographic composition of Kashmir province and the Muslim majority districts of Jammu province. A small number of Kashmiri Hindus were left behind in the nineties. Those were also threatened from time to time. Cold blood massacres took place, even women, old and children were not spared. In March 1997 Sangrampura (7 persons), January 1998 Wandhama (23 persons), March 2000 Talwani (5 persons), November 2001 Hugam (3 persons) and March 2004 Nandimarg (24 persons) were killed mercilessly. Now, there are hardly 6654 persons living there.

Genocide of the Kashmiri Hindus is the violation of not only the Human Rights, but also our Constitutional Rights. In a report on Kashmir by Amnesty International released in December 1993, it said, “Armed opposition groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been responsible for numerous and grave human rights abuses, including hostage taking, assassination of politicians and their families, deliberate killing of civilians including journalists, torture and rape ..... . It urged all such groups to release all hostages and respect human rights and humanitarian standards.”

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a ruling on the 11th June 1999 stated that, “The Commission is constrained to observe that while acts akin to genocide have occurred with respect to Kashmiri Pandits....” UN Secretary General at the 60th session of the Commission of Human Rights in Geneva on 7th April, 2004 observed, “When civilians are deliberately targeted because they belong to a particular community, we are in the presence of potential, if not actual genocide”. It is a pity, that in spite of our repeated requests, no enquiry commission has been constituted by State or Central government so far to bring culprits to book who are responsible for genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, nor the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has acted so far.

During the last 15 years, terrorism in Kashmir has achieved the following objectives :

1. A complete ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the whole Kashmir province and thus changed the whole demographic profile of the province.

2. De-stablised the Hindus in the Muslim majority districts of Jammu province also.

3. Prepared ground for the international intervention in Kashmir to force India to accept the disengagement of Kashmir province and the Muslim majority districts of Jammu province from India.

4. Prepared ground for the exclusion of the State from the Indian Constitutional jurisdiction under the cover of ‘greater autonomy’ and restoration of 1953 position of the State, as demarcated by the National Conference.

There has been a continuous disinformation campaign about terrorist violence in Kashmir that the Muslims were subjected to economic deprivations which resulted in wide spread poverty among them. The Jammu & Kashmir is a prosperous state which in terms of per capita income is placed third among the Indian states. The per capita growth registered between 1970-71 and 1985-86 was from Rs. 548 to Rs. 2204 at constant price level of 1970-71. The prosperity of Muslims accounted for a greater share in the figure cited above due to more favourable allocation of financial resources for the Kashmir division, varying between 65 to 69 percent as compared to 35 to 31 percent allocated to the two divisions of Jammu and Ladakh. According to an estimate done in 1989-90, central financial assistance to state has been more than Rs. 70,000 Crores (Rs, 700 billion). Again according to National Sample Survey, Kashmir has the lowest poverty ratio as compared to any state in India. Only 3.5 percent of Kashmir’s population was below poverty line in 1999-2000. The national average was as high as 26.1 percent. Maharashtra is the second richest state in India, but its poverty ratio is 25 percent whereas Orrisa has highest poverty ratio at 47.2 percent.

Hindus in Kashmir, who formed the main support base of India in Kashmir and who were ceaselessly working for the consolidation of pro-India forces in the State, became enemies of Muslim fundamentalists of Kashmir. Within the broad framework of the special status envisaged by article 370, which isolated the State from rest of India, it was easy for the secessionist elements to infiltrate into administrative cadres of the State government. The Muslimisation of the various political and economical processes had begun earlier and the minorities in Kashmir were at the receiving end. State government changed the names of 684 villages, which had Hindu names by a Government Order No. REV.S.340 of 1981 dated 14.120.1981.

There was almost total employment blockade of Kashmiri Hindus. Also their lands were taken away. For economical survival, a slow and steady migration of Kashmiri Hindus started.

At present, Muslims are ruling elite in Kashmir. They dominate the entire economic organisation and enjoy communal precedence in social forums. Islam is virtually the official religion of the State; they have three-fourth share in legislative bodies, administrative organisations and all the local government institutions. In the Kashmir province, Hindus have no elected representation in the local bodies. They constitute las than 5 % of the administrative services of the State and have less than 1 % share in higher cadres of the State administration. Muslim monopolise 94 percent of the State services in Kashmir. More than 90 percent of the admissions to professional, technical and other educational institutions are reserved for Muslims in one form or the other. In financial sphere, the Muslims own 96 percent of agricultural lands, orchards and other urban landed estates. They enjoy monopoly over the entire industrial organizations, trade and commerce, financial resources and exports of the province of Kashmir.

Jammu & Kashmir State has three divisions – Hindu majority Jammu, Buddhist dominated Ladakh and predominantly Muslim populated Kashmir valley. Hindu minority has been uprooted from Kashmir. The following census figures for Kashmir Valley speak volumes:

Year  Muslims  Hindus  Others
1941  83% 15% 2%
1981  92% 5% 3%
1991  97% 0.1% 2.9%

Kashmir valley has a majority of Muslims, but does not mean that they alone have a right to live there. But Muslims can live in India where not the majority but practically the entire 86 percent population comprises of Hindus. No wonder, we have as many as ten million alien Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh living in secular India.

The future of the Hindus of Kashmir, their return to the homes, the physical security, political security and economic security in terms of ground realities prevailing in the State has not improved as claimed by few Kashmiri Pandits. They are welcome to Kashmir as tourists only, nothing beyond that. There is no doubt about the desire of the community of Hindus to return to Kashmir to which they actually belong, where roots and temples are and where is the mother of their culture and their history. At present the gun-culture, which has over-whelmed Kashmir for more than 15 years, has made no big changes. The political class is making use of this culture to make its point, reasonable or otherwise. This is true for elected government in the State as also the Hurriyat Conference. Once the gun-culture is cracked without any hesitation, the political class of Kashmir will see the light at the end of the tunnel and function accordingly. Peace will return to Kashmir only after terrorist guns are silenced. At our end, we have to develop a cohesive approach towards our political and economic rehabilitation. We need our representatives in Parliament and Legislative Assembly for our political survival. We have been sidelined by political parties, as we do not constitute a vote bank. In a democratic set up, vote-bank politics has become a compulsion for political parties. We must voluntarily seek mass enrolment in voter’s list of Jammu & Kashmir and seek photo-identity cards from Election Commission. Secondly, we must get State Subject Certificate, so that we do not lose our identity.

We need economic development and a package for displaced community. We need share in the Central government aid of Rs. 24000 crores given to the State. Healing touch policy should be for victims of terrorism and not for terrorists.

Nothing has been done to improve the living conditions of the camps in the last so many years, resulting in high death rate and low birth rate of displaced community. Kashmiri Pandits have become forgotten people now. Their basic constitutional rights have been ignored. They need to be heard :

1. No decision or return of Kashmiri Pandits including employees to Valley should be taken with out its deliberations with KP leadership.

2. Involvement and consultation of Kashmiri Pandits in all Peace processes and discussion on Kashmir.

3. Declaration of Kashmiri Pandits in exile as refugees.

Let us join hands to improve quality of life of our community members. Let us co-ordinate and raise our voice and speak truth about Kashmir.

God willing, we will be heard……

Kashmiri Writers Chaman Lal Gadoo
  

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