Pandits face spectre of ethnic cleansing
Pandits, who foolishly continue to remain in Kashmir
valley have again been caught in the fire of ethnic-cleansing, resorted to by
the Muslim fundamentalists. Close on the heels of Telwani massacre, on Feb 5,
when three Pandits were killed, the separatists attacked a Pandit family at
renewed campaign of ethnic-cleansing, the separatists had asked through posters
and threatening calls, all the non-Muslim minorities to leave Kashmir by March
28. As the sequence of events indicates the separatists had chosen Brari
Angan-Achbal belt for this renewed campaign.
holy festival of Shivratri a group of twelve terrorists appeared at the houe of
Brij Nath at Brari Angan, Achabal and kidnapped him. He was taken to a temple
and killed there. Another version said he was done to death in a nearby jungle.
Brij Nath’s family had trusted his neighbours and b did not migrate in 1990. He
was an employee of the State Irrigation deprtment.
night, the militants attacked a police post, guarding 6 Pandit families at
Pethbugh, near Dyalgam in Anantag. Unidentified gunmen fired indiscriminately
upon the houses of Pandits. Lalitashorie, wife of TN Raina was killed, while her
husband was injured critically. Gunmen, as usual escaped.
three attacks and the latest massacre of Sikhs at Chatti Singhpora have shaked
remnant Pandits out of complacency. Since then there has been a steady trickle
of these people to
First to arrive were Pandit families from Telwani and Chandrigam in the first
week of February. On February 22, four Pandit families from village Fatehpura
reached Jammu. One, Bansi Lal told mediamen that they have been forced to
migrate after receiving threatening calls from militants. He said, "we were
feeling insecure and helpless due to inadequate security arrangements made by
the government in the matter". The families said Telvani massacre jolted them
and they left their places to preserve dignity and honour. Bansi Lal claimed,
"we were harassed and lived in fear. We were surrounded by fear and life was
full of agony".
group of Pandits, 4 families with 14 members, including 9 women from Akoora
(where three families have stayed back) boarded Jammu-bound vehicles under
tight-police protection, after receiving threatening calls. They reached Jammu
on March 12.
families from Noorpora, Traal fled in wee hours of March 10. Santosh Raina told
the media that recent killings of Kashmiri Pandits had made them feel insecure.
"We loaded our belongings in the truck a night before and asked the driver to
wait at Awantipora on the national highway. Next morning, we pretended as if we
were going to
Santosh’s husband ran a grocery shop in the village, while her two daughters
taught at a local private school. Her brother-in-law Triloki Nath, who had
migrated to Jammu in 1991 had been imploring them to come but they stayed back.
About not informing her neighbours, Santosh said, "It was not safe to confide in
anybody. The killing of four Pandits in Telwani village was a warning".
Santosh’s sister-in-law belongs to village Pethbugh, where Lalitashorie was
killed, insecurity grew stronger. She said though they were all the time feling
insecure, her father-in-law Ramchander Raina was adamant not to leave the place
of his ancestors. He died about six months back. Presently there are twelve
houses of Kashmiri Pandits in Noorpora but most of them are posted in Srinagar,
with majority of their family members in
Pandit families said that the militants had issued a deadline for all the
minorities to leave the Valley by March 29 or face consequences. Infact, posters
had appeared in some villages and even in Anantnag town. Pethbug incident made
them believe that the warning could not be taken non-seriously. The families
which migrated from Akoora included those of TN Raina (3 membrs), Bihari Lal
Raina (5 members), Kanya Lal Dhar (3 members) Ramesh Kumar Raina (2 members), TN
Raina (4 members), Surinder Kumar Bhat (4 members), Moti Lal Koul (5 members).
Avtar Krishan Dhar, a government teacher, alongwith his brother’s family
migrated to Jammu on March 14. He had to abandon his house in Pethbug village on
March 5, when terrorists killed Lalitashorie.
Lalitashorie’s husband and two children have also left their native village. TN
Raina’s younger brothers and mother had migrated earlier. Rueing his decison to
stay back, TN Raina said "All of them have been pressing me hard to come to
Jammu. But the difficulty my brother, Maharaj Krishan had to face in getting
himself registered as a migrant in 1993, discouraged me from leaving Kashmir
the massacre at Chatti-Singhpora, three Pandit families of Prem Nath Bhat,
Vishnath Bhat and Rattan Lal Bhat migrated from Nowgam, Acchabal on April 2.
Meanwhile, Armymen foiled an attempt of separatists to target four Pandit
families at Wusan, Ganderbal. They after intercepting a message, asked the
families to move to their camp for protection.
5, scores of Pandit Accountant General office employees had a narrow escape,
when the terrorists hurled a grenade on vehicle carrying them when it was on way
to office. At Budshah Chowk at 10:00 AM, a grenade missed the target and
exploded on road side causing injuries to two civilians. This is the second
attack on AG employees during the decade-long terrorist violence in the Valley.
employees have threatened to force closure of office in case authorities failed
to provide adequate security to them. They blamed their management for
callousness in not prevailing upon the security authorities for ensuring proper
security. For the past two months the AG employees have been receiving
threatening calls. Despite warnings by the security officials, their bus was not
permitted to move via high-security Gupkar zone.
attacks on the last outposts of minorities continue leading to the exodus of
remnant Pandits, both the state and Central government have been making
‘Proforma’ statements about the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus
(see Box0. In the state Assembly, upper house, the BJP leader, Daya Krishan
Kotwal embarrassed the government by asking how many Kashmir migrant families
had been sent back so far after the NC government came to power. He also
demanded setting up of a committee to look after the safety of the Kashmiri