I: Chapter 27
LOOT and PLUNDER
proponents of the horror drama of 1931 in their brazen attempts to justify
the macabre happenings presented the thesis of "political and economic
oppression of the Muslims by the ruling class and their henchmen". A social
democrat keen to carve out a niche for himself in the communally polluted
politics of Muslims coined the laboured justification "of the struggle
in 1931 being aggressively communal in outward form, but in essence being
the struggle of victimised and enslaved people against the despotic rule".
To camouflage the vicious role of local Muslim rebids, a researcher in
his thesis has shifted the theatre of bigotry and belligerence from Kashmir
to the Punjab tracing the motivations of horror drama to the "communal
influences" emanating from the Punjabi Muslim dispensations pursuing anti-Hindu
pogrom. But the macabre drama that was enacted in Feb. 1986 in the
theatre of Anantnag was shocking and flabbergasting and not only flouted,
but debunked all strained interpretations that were coined and contrived
about July, 1931 communal commotion ignoring the Muslim disposition of
perennial lure to loot, murder and arson.
"political and economic oppression" and "victimised and enslaved people"
as formulaic formulations plucked out from text-books are absolutely lacking
in the potential to delineate the pathological Muslim mind that has been
in hot chase of Hindu victims and finds satiation and satisfaction only
afterperpetrating the atrocities of loot, murder and arson on them. There
was no Hindu Maharaja who could be held accused of oppressing and tyrannising
the Muslims when 1986-loot was wantonly committed on the Pandits. There
were no so-called Hindu landlords who could again be held guilty of blood-sucking
and exploiting the Muslim masses when in the same spree of loot Hindu properties
were pillaged and put to leaping flames. There were no Pandits even at
the lower rungs of government apparatus who could be stigmatised and hatefully
cried foul of as representatives of the dehumanised and oppressive state
machine. The limpid fact of history is that the governments of varied political
formations in the wake of 1947 assiduously devised and pursued the communal
plans of marginalising, eliminating and sealing the fate of Pandits in
their native land and in the calendar year of 1986 Pandits stood pushed
out to the peripheries of political and economic scenario of Kashmir leaving
them high and dry, bereft and beleaguered. And yet an atrocious loot was
inflicted on them.
The loot, pillage
and arson of Feb. 1986 falls into a pattern of several such bouts of loot,
plunder and arson littered over the palimpsest of Kashmir history planned
and executed by Muslim bigots motivated and stuffed with the loaded lessons
of bigotry and prejudice. The loot and arson that was conducted over a
vaster area was vengeful, frightening and awesome, cruel and barbarous,
wild and ferocious, a scene from a macabre drama, bone chilling and blood
curdling. The sweep of the loot was so broad and extensive that the horror
and violence of 1931-variety paled into an inconsequential event. The Pandits
for no fault of theirs were the butts of target, Pandits not confined to
one locality or one habitation, but Pandits inhabiting the entire landscape
of District Anantnag were ruthlessly looted, ravaged and arsoned by the
Muslim hordes in thick cohorts with the state power. The broad purlieux
of the district were converted into a horror chamber of brutal violence,
storm and rage. Like asiatic elephants the Muslims breaking loose from
their tethers, violent and uproarious, marching in waves upon waves carrying
incendiary materials and sharp-edged weapons screaming Jehad cries and
death to Pandits went berserk rampaging and destructing houses and temples,
sheds and shops, fields and crops.
hordes looted and pillaged nearly five hundred Kashmiri Pandit houses and
the booty acquired after vengeful loot was either kept or put to sale in
open bazars. Fifty houses were burnt to cinders leaving hundreds of hapless
Pandit families battered, tattered, shattered and reduced from prosperity to indigence.
Women were the main butts of target and were subjected to untold cruelties
and the most indecent molestations and assaults and even after the restoration
of apparent peace, they fell victims to ambuscade. The stormy waves of
looters on rampage in every village or hamlet were brutally clamouring
for the loot of young teenage girls. Ten thousand strong horde of Muslims
at Lok Bhawan, all locals, bayed for the blood of a young pretty Kashmiri
Pandit girl interned in the bath-room of her house under strict instructions
from her parents to immolate herself if and when their
house was stormed for loot, rape and assault. Only providence could save
her. Hundreds of shops, big or small, owned by Kashmiri Pandits were plundered
and looted and the owners assaulted and their shoes, turbans and blankets
in the Muhta Khanian fashion removed and looted. All large scale business
ventures and hotels belonging to Pandits were destroyed and portable goods
broken or looted as prized booty. It was an open and unalloyed loot of
down their Islamic image, in fact, adding laurels to it, the Muslim storm-troopers
wielding lathis, shovels, rods and sharp-edged weapons pounced in all fury
on temples and idol-houses and desecrated and ravaged sixty temples and
set ablaze forty temples at one go. Temple stones, pillars, bricks and
planks lying in piles of ruin were conveniently looted for utilisation
in private constructions. Such was the colossal collapse of government
machinery. Idols of Shiva, Vishnu and various gods and goddesses of Hindu
pantheon were broken or dug out from their sanctum
sanctora and hurled out in visceral contempt into ditches, rivers and flowing
streams. Trees intertwined with crimson red threads worshipped with absolute
devotion were cruelly felled to the absolute satisfaction of marauders.
All old or newly built dharamshallas attached with temples for the convenience
of pilgrims were denuded of utensils, gas cylinders, dharies and carpets
and all nitty-gritty and then put to flames.
of the Rajatarangini fame was transformed into a ghastly and grisly scene
when Muslims converged on the site of the temple and vandalised and broke
all the precious idols with axes and iron rods. The complex had three temples
and two dharamshallas which were burnt and pitilessly
razed to the ground. After capturing the site the
entire horde of vandalisers said Namaz within the temple precincts and
in all exhilaration and exuberance went out parading the village paths
and roads, abusing and cursing the Pandits, lapidating their houses and
breaking windows, and window-panes and to the astonishment of goddess of
sanity screaming and shouting in one chorus for the loot of Kashmiri Pandit
As an expression
of extreme hatred fresh cut head of a bull dripping blood was placed on
the Shiva Linga of a temple in Bijbehera. It did not shock the secularists
anywhere. Though it was reported through all channels of media.
fact, were replicating the mix-deeds and frenzied acts of Muslim vandals
of historical ignominy and each Pandit sunk in his colossal tragedy witnessing
the devilish drama of death and destruction from the open fields where
they had taken refuge and cover could not but think that they had not left
them so savage when they were coerced to join the ranks of neo-converts
and the journey from the temple to the mosque has been shockingly devastating
and incredibly brutalising.
The demon of
Muslim bigotry and hatred ruling with absoluteness over one stretch of
land was battened to an enormous size by spontaneous responses all over
the vale of Kashmir. Revengeful acts of loot, molestation and arson were
inflicted on the Pandits wherever they had been. Temples and idol-houses
were torched and Pandit houses stoned and broken into, looted and plundered.
Women folk were reviled and humiliated. All the horror happenings had the
same contours and the same operation. Sopore as the vestibule and cesspit
of Muslim bigotry and vengeflness was in the lead-role of extirpating infidelity
from the land of Kashmir.
was sponsored and monitored by Muslims manning levers of power. The Chief
Minister, G.M. Shah and the members of his family were directly involved
in the loot and plunder of Kashmiri Pandits. The Jammaat-i-Islami pockets
that had found nurture and sustenance from unexpected quarters were abuzz
with tremendous activity in organising and planning the parameters of loot.
The hordes of Muslim rabids parading in waves upon waves belonged to the
villages and hamlets where Jammaat-i-Islami cadres drenched in communal
venom were in tremendous strength and wielded unrestrained sway. The Congress-I
and National Conference cadres as votaries of the same brand of religious
fanaticism fell in line and were as wild and ferocious as the Jammaat-i-Islami
cadres could be. As was corroborated from realities on ground three villages
were completely ravaged, plundered and destroyed and twenty-four villageswere
partially effected and the broad impact of officially sponsored and generated
loot and plunder was sensed in 764 villages and hamlets throughout the
valley. Except Lok Bhawan and Fatehpur crowds on a looting and destroying
spree came from outside The Muslim rebids hailing from Kaimoh, Khudwani
and Arwani villages as the key centres of Jammaat-i-Islami with tremendous
support from all politicals owing allegiance to secular parties were discenibly
seen in lead-role to wreak havoc on Kashmiri Pandits, who were psychologically
devastated and realised that fear of death was deadlier than actual death.
frenzy was generated and mobilised by setting afloat an apochrypal and
malicious rumour that the Haj pilgrims and Muslims in Jammu were put to
a wholesale massacre by the Hindus. That there was a well organised effort
invested to oil the rumour mill got established by the fact that every
nook and cranny of the valley was abuzz with and echoed the same malicious
rumour. In reality, the loot and arson was organised and executed through
phone-calls to the quarters that mattered especially the law-enforcing
agencies. The administration not only harboured but appeared to harbour
absolute sympathies with the Muslim looters and arsonists. The violent
incidents of far-reaching political import pregnant with the potential
to rupture peace and public order were not as a common Police practice
reported at all. No appraisals were made. No concern was shown. No responses
were built and organised to meet the devastating challenges from the hydra-headed
monster of Muslim communalism signalling that peace and amity was a nine
days' wonder. The Divisional officers disappeared from the scene in a jiffy
as a deliberate act of connivance and collaboration with the looters on
rampage. None would be seen visiting the affected villages with a view
to re-assuring the hapless victims to the Muslim orgy of loot and arson.
much before the horrendous loot had emerged as a flash-point when the rabid
Muslims operating under government patronage profferred their untenable
and malicious claims to the areas of land belonging to the shrine since
ages. To maintain peace and order and prevent any attempt to further widen
the gulf between the contending communities, heavy deployment was made
after careful appraisal and assessment of the dimensions of the entire
scenario by the top Police brass. But, strangely, the armed deployment
on the trouble-spot was suddenly withdrawn at the behest of the Muslim
collaborators in key positions thus granting a free rope to the marauders
for perpetration of loot and destruction on the disinherited Kashmiri Pandits.
Some lathi-wielding policemen practically ineffective and of no consequence
to meet the highly volatile situation were seen on the spot where new records
were being added to the despicable book of Muslim bigotry and garrulousness
How was it
that the villages which were directly responsible for inflicting loot on
the Pandits had full flow of electric supply and the villages put to the
bouts of gruesome loot and arson were steeped in darkness? Akura was steeped
in total darkness. So were Fatehpur and other villages that were marauded.
When a brilliant Hindu officer pointed out the design behind it, lies were
fabricated, alibis coined and falsehoods dished out. It was sensed as a
deliberate act of preplanning on part of divisional officers to provide
cover to the vengeful ghosts and apparitions to batter their way into the
Hindu habitations for loot and arson. Writes Koul, "The formidable Muslim
combine forgetting their political persuasions and sinking their differences
started on a looting and burning spree ravaging village after village.
Political affiliations did not divide their ranks and what held them together
as a solid mass for a unified action was the faith of Islam sanctioning
their war on infidels (Kafirs). The Kashmirian Hindus as hapless and terrorised
victims to loot, plunder and arson rang up police stations but there was
no response. The entire drama of destruction and loot was stage-managed
by the Muslimised bureaucracy with police as its vital cog. As a matter
of design, the state authority disappeared from the scene in a jiffy and
law-enforcing agencies proved a party to the loot and plunder of the Hindus.
It was a rehearsal of one act of the drama of death and destruction conceived
and scripted by the demon of Muslim bigotry presiding over the Muslim psyche.
government pooh-poohed the developments. The Minister for Internal Security
who belonged to the Nehru dynasty had his own contributions to make to
the destruction and dehumanization of Pandits. The appraisal report submitted
to him by L.K. Advani and Kedar Nath Sahni about the prognosis of the malicious
communal developments in Kashmir with their looming threat to the security
of India could not serve as his guide-lines with the result that the Kashmiri
Pandits are on the cross-roads of history waiting for extinction. What
was ominous that the secular parties especially Congress-I made a common
cause with rabid Muslims for the loot, plunder and arson of the molecular
minority of Kashmiri Pandits. Cases against the looters and arsonists were
not registered under the prevalent laws. Nor were they tried and punished.
Law was allowed to rust on the Statute Book and it has been so in Kashmir
since 1947. The Congress provincial Chief, Mufti Mohammad Sayyid, who was
openly involved in the macabre events, was not arraigned before a tribunal.
He was neither arrested nor tried for punishment. Jameel Ahmad Andrabi
who played a rabid role in the loot of 1986-variety was not hooked and
tried under provisions of law.
aggression on the Kashmiri Pandit ethno-religious minority proved of serious
dimensions. It was not only a prelude to its ethnic cleansing but paved
the way for the Pandit exodus to various parts of the country. A Jammu
official then posted in Anantnag made it amply clear to the Union Home
Minister that it was a sinister conspiracy to push out Pandits from the
valley as they were deemed as obstacles in the Islamisation process that
had begun in 1947. The loot and arson of Pandit properties was the boiling
point of hate -Pandit campaign built up and directed by the secessionist
forces drawing sustenance and unmitigated support from all brands of Muslim
politicals. The Hindustan Times date-lined July 8th, 1985 reported:
was a mass exodus of the members of minority community from the state of
Jammu and Kashmir to other parts of the country. This was a dangerous trend
which should be stopped. There was indeed a sinister conspiracy to throw
out the non-Muslims from the valley so that the designs of complete Islamisation
issued out to the press by the Anantnag Prabandhak Committee in the wake
of the whole-sale loot of Kashmiri Pandits reads as under :
This Maha Shivratri
has come to us with a train of sufferings, setbacks and a sad story of
hundreds of our Hindu brethren rendered homeless in Vanpoh, Dhanove Bogund,
Luk Bhavan and many other places, with at least twenty of our sacred temples
burnt, damaged and desecrated. The sanctity of our homes in the listed
towns and villages have been defiled by ruthless stoning and illegal trespass.
This organised communal violence was aimed at annihilating this tiny community
from the surface of our birth-place, Kashmir. The indifference and laxity
of Administration was apparent. The manner in which this military-like
operation was carried out speaks to indicate that preparations for this
exercise were made in advance and then executed. The intelligence agencies
reportedly had warned the government both Central and State about the Plan
of the militant, anti-national and communal organisations bent on destabilizing
the communal amity of the state to further their design of secession. Reportedly
the Governor had informed the Central Govt. of the dangers. It is unfortunate
that New Delhi kept sleeping over the matter and the inordinate delay on
their part to act in time has resulted in this holocaust. To further our
doubts identification of some police and civil officials who let the situation
get out of hand and even helped the plunderous has been reportedly
established by the Press and the Government. The indifference and apathy
of other sections of the people and their attitude of passive spectators
and the deep slumber of our national leaders has placed this peace-loving
community on the cross-roads of history where their very Survival is at
stake. The number of secular and nationalist elements in major political
parties has thinned to such a low percentage that it has become an exception.
However, the minority community cannot forget the protection nationalist
and secular role of some of our Muslim brothers who plunged themselves
headlong to save their Hindu brother's life and property. These true Muslims
shall be remembered as the torch bearer's of amity and peace. The shocking
incidents the details of which follow have proved beyond doubt that the
minority community in Kashmir cannot take the pledges and promises of their
safety and welfare for granted.
Anantnag - 150 houses heavily stoned and damaged. Property of one house
completely looted. One hotel ransacked and damaged. One Eye clinic looted.
One Medical shop looted. Main temple Devibal and Naibasti temple damaged.
Cremation shed demolished.
One main temple - cum-Dharamshala completely burnt. Old Dharamshala damaged.
Pujari seriously injured.
- Pelting of stones on houses.
4. Akura- Shivalla
Temple ransacked. Whole Property looted. Idols looted and broken. One cow-shed
burnt. One shop looted.
5. Nanil -
Two Medical shops looted.
- One house burnt.
- One Cowshed burnt.
- One Medical shop looted.
- The idols desecrated. The details cannot be printed.
10. Nowgam (Kuthar) - Temple completely burnt. Houses stoned.
- Temple burnt.
- Six shops looted. One house completely ransacked. Carpet centre looted.
- One temple completely burnt. One shop looted.
14. Sagam -
Twenty five houses stoned and one temple stoned. One person seriously injured.
15. Batapora (Dialgam)-One temple damaged and one house burnt.
- One temple burnt. Walling and gate ransacked and one house looted.
Kareva - Two sheds burnt.
- Idols desecrated.
- Idols broken and desecrated.
- Two main temples burnt. One samadhi damaged. Four shops burnt and looted.
One house burnt. Two rice mills damaged. Twenty -six houses completely
21. Danav Bogund
- Seven houses completely burnt along with their house - hold effects.
Two temples burnt. One Dharmshala and Library completely damaged. All the
other houses but one completely looted.
One temple looted.
23. Luk Bhavan
- Three temples completely burnt and mercilessly razed to the ground. Two
Dharamshalas completely burnt. One shop completely looted. One house completely
burnt. Murties and precious ancient idols broken into pieces.
Idols of one temple in the main parikrama of spring Nilnag damaged and
Pajjan - Temple damaged and houses stoned.
- Main temple in Sallar along with ancient precious Murties destroyed.
Geeta Bhawan destroyed.
- One temple burnt.
- All the three temples looted. Idols and ancient and precious Murties
broken and thrown into river. Houses stoned.
29. Gund Jaffar
- One temple damaged.
Tral -1 Kali Temple burnt
- 1 Temple burnt.
Baramulla - 2 temples stoned
33. Seer -
1 Temple attacked.
- 2 Temples stoned.
- 1 Temple attacked
- 2 Temples ransacked, mud thrown on idols and pictures in the temple torn.
Jawahar Nagar - Property of the temple burnt.
38. Karan Nagar
-Temple ransackedand burnt. Some shops of Hindus were burnt in the Chotta Bazar, Karan Nagar area.
- Temple stoned and the wall of the temple demolished.
Akhara Budshah Chowk (Srinagar) -Small temple burnt, seat of Mehantji gutted
in fire. Dharamshala and transport godown burnt to ashes.
- Property of the temple burnt.
- Temple stoned.
Mandir - stoned.
44. Nawgam (Badgam) - 1 Temple looted, 4 houses stoned.
45. Mazbome (Badgam) 1 House ransacked and burnt.
46. Gulgam (Kupwara ) - 1 Temple burnt.
of Badgam, Kupwara and Pulwama not yet Surveyed Fully.
The total loss
of Anantnag district which is running into crores of rupees is being assessed
properly. The details of loss of other districts are coming.
has struck the hour when we have to come together to devise a plan of our
survival with dignity and honour. Kashmir has ceased to be a land of peace
and amity. This community has to think about their collective survival
in the context of indignity and out-rage perpetrated on our members in
different towns and villages. The only solution that can sustain our community
seems to point towards migration from this valley. Thus mass exodus of
Kashmiri Hindus appears to be the only way of preserving our life and culture.
This land has ceased to provide safety to our life and property and our
continued living in this part of the country is fraught with the prospect
of our total extinction.