II: Chapter 12
PANDITS AS MIGRANTS
peace-loving and patriotic ethno-religious minority of Kashmiri Pandits
has been languishing in humiliating and debasing exile for the last eight
years as a fall-out of terrorist tyranny generated and unleashed by the
armed Muslim secessionists seeking Islamisation of Kashmir and its perpetuation
by annexation with Pakistan. The entire community is faced with a grim
tragedy and has been obliged to battle for survival at each step and end.
The cruel rulers living in sealed ivory towers enjoying carnival of power
and pelf bereft of human empathies have not only politicised the sombre
tragedy but have also taken a resort to dubious formulations justifying
the label that they have tagged onto the victims of terrorism. Attempts
are to drown this community in the intrigues of terrorism, Islamic bigotry
and secessionism and the impression is solidly reinforced and strengthened
by the ruinous neglect and sadistic apathy that have been displayed towards
it. The gnawing concerns, immediate and beyond, of this beleaguered community
in exile have not been addressed. The members of this community as victims
to the storm of communalism and fanaticism are refugees in their own country
suffering pangs of insecurity and deprivation, torments of neglect and
What is astonishing
that Govt. of India despite loud signals from the ground did not mind them
and continued to be sunk in a state of passivity and dismaying as it is
failed in its constitutional obligations of providing security at least
of life and limb to the members of this indigenous community. How is it
that Govt. of India through its insouciance and insensitivity appears to
be on the same wave-length with the secession-seeking fundamentalist Islamic
groups drawn from the local populace in cohorts with the Pan-Islamic forces
to push this hapless community into a state of extinction? The community
which has been a lustrous column of Hindu edifice of culture and civilization
and pulsating model of what is Indian in Kashmir has been dumped like garbage
in tentages, one-room colonies and rented slums and has been losing fast
its stamina, resilience and a whole spectrum of inner resources. For the
effete Govt. of India they are not refugees while Bangladesh intruders
are and that is why they are nomenclatured as "migrants", not even the
displaced persons on the basis of a deceitfully contrived thesis that "The
complainants are appropriately styled as migrants as they have migrated
on their own from areas in the valley to Jammu or other areas of the country.
Their claim to designate them as internally displaced persons is not acceptable
to the government of India on the ground that displacement has been sell:imposed".
The same thesis
has been fairly fed and broadly doled out to the Indian media which was
'unable to conceal the facts to its readership and have tried to minimise
and ideologically cleanse the news by calling the refugees "migrants" by
blaming them for communal friction in Jammu where many of them live in
of the Indian brand given to chicanery and trickstry and more than most
intrigue have not fumed concern about and refused to project the blighted
condition of the Kashmiri Pandit refugees who have been forced at gun-point
to abandon their native homes and hearths. The fact remains that the Kashmiri
Pandits have not crossed international borders and taken refuge in an alien
land and that is supposed to militate against their entitlement to tile
status of refugees under established international law. But what is highly
significant and as such cannot be lost sight of is that this hundred percent
literate community cognised as such all over the world was cruelly thrown
out of its home-land by the armed Muslim fundamentalists when there was
a total collapse of constitutional machinery and the government of the
day perceptibly worked in tandem with the Islamic secessionists allowing
them support and succour and time space to fan out and proliferate their
base and appeal. It smacked of an intrigue on part of the degenerate political
culture in the country to concoct and figment a theory that Kashmiri Pandit
exodus unprecedented in the history of independent India was sponsored
or self-willed thereby effacing out the fundamental cause of fundamentalist
insurgency leading to the cataclysmic event of forced migration and dispersal.
The Kashmiri Pandit compulsion to buzz off their land of genesis leaving
behind their houses and assets assumes clarity if and when the full-scale
background scenario of fundamentalist developments within Kashmir Is not
put under wraps and is given unbiased projection in its broad contours.
The Kashmiri Pandits as a natural sequence of the fundamentalist proliferation
were targeted for killings, rape, torture and destruction thereby generating
a volatile and lethal situation in which it was extremely difficult, nay
impossible, to live a civilised life of honour and dignity. A conspiracy
was hatched in the crucible of mosque to purge Kashmir of infidels and
reclaim the lost land for Islam. What happened on 19/20th January, 1990
was the climax of the whole process which was in actuality commenced and
given a push up by the Sayyids m 14th century and effacingly pursued by
the communal revanchists masquerading as nationalists. The Muslim crowds,
merciless, coarse and savagely cruel, squalling war cries and flitting
about the lanes and bye-lanes of the valley traumatised Kashmiri Pandit
denizens of a concentration camp suffering suffocation, torture and persecution.
The exodus was a miracle worked by Pandits to escape the inferno of violence
echoing medieval and base barbarity to the freedom across the Bannihal
With a view
to putting the whole scenario in a proper perspective it needs be said
that the fundamental cause necessitating the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits
is the Muslim bigotry. The 1989- 90 variety of exodus of Pandits is the
sixth in the series of their exoduses from their land of birth. As revealed
by the telling facts of history the first major exodus dates back to the
barbarous times of Sikander Butshikan (1389-1413) who unleashed a reign
of terror for conversion of Hindu Kashmir to the Islamic religion. The
exodus was so massive in its scale and dimension that only eleven Kashmiri
Pandit families stayed back in their home-land.92 The processes of conversion
continued without a let up at various stages of Muslim rule. The basic
and glaring cause of the exoduses in the past was Muslim bigotry and the
cause has remained unchanged and immutable. Even in secular and democratic
India that is pledged to a constitution with fundamental guarantees for
its citizens the Kashmiri Pandits have been pushed out lock, stock and-barrel
with the patent aim of capturing Kashmir to establish a theo-fascist state
thereby exploding the myth of composite culture and farce of pluralism.
As per the
deceptive formulations of the official class of political elite the Kashmiri
Pandits in absence of a refugee law in the country are migrants, not refugees
or displaced persons. Fitting in the scheme of things as devised by the
said political class the word "migrant" camouflages Muslim revolt communal
and sectarian in content and motivation and carries within its ambit an
element of voluntariness, self-will or self-motivation to the exclusion
of an external force or factor which is none other than Muslim frenzy for
Shad based on bigotry. The violent and impetuous conflict swamping the
length and breadth of the valley brought to a flash-point by the armed
insurgency launched by the bigoted terrorists proved a catalyst in transforming
the whole political scenario in Kashmir. It is only an ostrich-like audacity
to deny the fact that the entire thrust of Muslim insurgency from seminal
stages to its climax was
to be against the patriotic community of Kashmiri Pandits. In fact, the
evil forces of Jehad as in the past so now opened their agenda by rape,
torture and carnage of Kashmiri Pandits who were catapulted to the eye
of a storm by denouncing them as "informers", "fifth column" and "unpaid
agents of India" and such other depreciatory labels.
and conflict and unendurable living conditions are the key factors that
have caused the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from their native land.
The Government of India in its response to the International Commission
of Jurists based in Geneva has acknowledged killings of Kashmiri Pandits
and perpetration of morbid violence on them and also collapse of rule of
law as cardinal factors leading to their mass exodus. This position of
Government of India as shaped by political mandarins governed by the unprincipled
principle of political expediency is not only at variance with but in violent
contradiction to the stance it has taken in the National Human Rights Commission.
The vivid dichotomy between the two positions is not only duplicitous but
open exhibition of fraud played on the hapless refugees who have suffered
enormous losses in terms of life and assets.
reads, "Most of the Kashmiri Hindu Community fled from the valley in early
1990. The assassination of a number of leading Hindus and threats of violence
by the militants were enough to persuade the Hindu Community to flee."
further reads," The targeted killing of members of Hindu Community which
has led to the exodus of 2,50,000 members of the community resulting in
a change in the very demographic profile of the area and blatant religious
also comments, "The instability in the region has led to the displacement
of a large number of Hindus or Kashmiri Pandits. On 1989-90 some 90,000
Pandits left the valley for fear of attacks on their safety. To date 2,50,000
out of 3,00,000 are estimated to have left. A number of these displaced
persons are now in camps in Jammu and Delhi."
The above mentioned
factors of strife and intolerable living conditions are the specific factors
that have led to the refugee movements all over the world. There are authentic
reports to suggest that 15 million refugees are in Diaspora all over the
world and they are properly covered by a legal commission operating under
the aegis of United Nations Organisation. But the internally displaced
persons outnumber the refugees and as of now they are 30 million in actual
numbers and are in Diaspora within their native countries. Their status
and position as internally displaced persons has been by and large recognised
by their respective governments or by the internationally recognised organisations
under various linkages and covenants to which the governments are a party.
But the Government of India despite forced migrations from the Punjab,
Kashmir and North Eastern states has not deliberately framed a refugee
law to tackle with the humanitarian problem of internally displaced persons,
but has chosen to be ruthlessly arbitrary and callous and tackle the problem
on administrative level. And this arbitrartiness determined by extraneous
considerations has settled the nomenclature of the Kashmiri Pandits as
'migrants' in contravention of their status as refugees or internally displaced
Pandits as an exiled community stand deprived of the original territory
that they ancestrally belonged to and called their own in terms of history,
identity and culture. Though a component of the state of Jammu and Kashmir
they as a spill-over effect of ethnic purge and in face of altered ground
realities have been forced for existential reasons to dwell in camps and
rented slums in Jammu and its adjoining districts. It is a matter of gnawing
concern that they have lost the care and protection of their own state
of which they are and continue to be historically, culturally and legally
an inalienable part and component.
word "migrant" is closely akin to and firmly buttresses the state thesis
that in view of their voluntary choice of being in self-exile they do not
for any cogent reason deserve and must, therefore suffer the loss of the
protective umbrella which could serve them in good stead in their state
of indigence and destitution. The enormous amount of hostility and harassment
that they have been subjected to even during the Presidential rule confirms
that they are no longer the citizens covered under constitutional frame-work.
The position remains qualitatively unchanged even though popular rule much
bruited about has been resuscitated in the state.
The Governor, K.V. Krishna Rao, as an appointee of President of India, cynically and
superciliously is said to have disowned Kashmiri Pandits by telling a delegation
that had called on him for an inter-face on the formulated demands of the
refugee community that they were not his concern nor were they on his agenda.
Did he have such a constitutional mandate as Governor of the state to disinherit
a segment of the native populace which is "pushed out" by the Muslim marauders
and prima facie stands wronged and more than most cruelly deprived of its
native abode en masse? That the Pandits are not on his agenda is
a frank admission of the connivance and complicity of the state which he
rules with all the executive powers with the Islamic agenda of genocide
of an ethno-religious minority. The animosity of the state with Girish
Saxena as the Governor of the state assumed a shrill stridency and a sharper
edge when the slots in the governing apparatus held by members of the minority
community were fraudulently filled up in their absence in exile thereby
divesting them of their fundamental right of being an integral part of
the governing apparatus.
They are not
considered and factually are rejected as a part of the state is testified
by the blatant denial and sealing of employment opportunities for the minority
both at the state and central levels. The "herded out" employees and the
entire student community harbouring Hindu faith have been victims of crass
discrimination and worst brand of apartheid and Government of India is
a front-rank fighter against apartheid in Africa and elsewhere but perpetuates
it in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The policies of the two governors
with their source in Delhi have contributed their fair share of wisdom
to the Islamisation of the state apparatus which is deemed a stepping stone
to the ultimate goal of secession from the democratic polity of India.
of popular rule has equally belied the hopes of the exiled community for
a fair deal and equalitarian treatment. They are meted out the treatment
of aliens by the state of which they are undeniably and inextricably a
part and parcel. The government of Farooq Abdullah said to be infested
with pro-Pakistan moles and ISI agents has refused to be objective and
non-sectarian too. The utterances of the Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah,
inside and outside the state legislature, have added to the insecurity
and destabilization of the exiled community. There was a mass massacre
of Kashmiri pandits at Sangrampora by the local Muslim killers. The three
brights of the community were selected for brutal slaughter at Gool in
the hills of Jammu and the administration proved so callous as not to feel
morally obliged to share the shock and grief with the bereaved families
deprived of their near and dear ones. Harassment of the displaced employees
continues unabated. None of their pressing problems have been addressed,
much less solved. No tattered tent has been replaced. Sanitary conditions
in camps are the same abject. The few who have found employment on the
recommendations of a Muslimised board operating under a Kashmiri Pandit
renegade do not stand benefited for administrative hurdles in their postings
and other trumped up hassles. The Pandits though very few in numbers drawing
doles from the government agencies are accused of retarding the pace of
farcical development forgetting the terrorist-bureaucratic nexus for siphoning
off and looting the major share of the development funds.
out community which is in a state of traumatic exile and Diaspora has been
forced to inhabit the camps and rented slums in different states of the
country.. If objectivity is a guide, it can be said without fear or favour
that the displaced Kashmiri Pandits are not treated with the same hostility,
contempt and vengefulness that their counter parts are faced with in parts
of their own state. Yet it is no consolation to the Pandits and does not
in any manner compensate the traumatic loss of the home turf and context
that they historically and legally are aligned with but as of now are wallowing
in pangs of exile through the machinations of Muslim revanchists. As bona
fide citizens of their own state they have been coerced to dwell on
the lands of other states in Delhi, Punjab, UP, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh
and depend on the care and protection of those states of which they do
not form a part and parcel in political and legal contexts.
The loss of
ancestral territory and dependence on the hospitality of other states are
the two fundamental factors determining the status of displace refugees.
Barbara-Harrel-Bond as an expert on refugees is forth-right in her views
in nomenclaturing those persons as refugees who "have lost the protection
of their own state and must rely!
on the willingness
of others to observe humanitarian norms." Prior to their forced exodus
the Kashmiri Pandits were rooted, had their own dwellings, small or big,
lived a normal life of civilised individuals with grace and aplomb and
procreated and bred their families for a decent and productive societal
role. But in sharp contrast to it they now in tents and slums are a waste
material, bereft of opportunities, prone to diseases and afflictions and
reduced to energy-sapping indigent conditions of life and living. More
than most, they live in conditions which can be termed as "refugee- like"
and prowl about in conditions which again are "refugee like". The plight
of the Kashmiri Pandits in the camps, one - room tenements and rented slums
resembles and is qualitatively the same as that of the refugees who have
crossed international borders for refuge and protection.
of India has played the Hindu refugees from Kashmir foul. It has failed
to evolve a comprehensive and organic policy with respect to them. The
community of Pandits despite its steeling through the oppressive rule of
Muslims has come to a crisis and a breaking-point wherefrom it might
be unable to re-coup and recover. The powers that be in Delhi have never
felt concerned about the fate of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandit
refugees languishing in poverty, squalor and debasing degradation in the
refugee camps. They have been hybernating in exile for the last eight years
sundered apart from mainstream. The stamping out of Pandits was mapped
by the local Islamic fundamentalists with a specific purpose and it followed
a well laid- out plan and strategy.
coined appellation of "Migrant" defining the nature of Kashmiri Pandit
exodus from the valley might be concealing an effort or a tendency to accord
a formal recognition, say under severe pressure, to the Muslim character
of the state as is being expounded by the foreign intriguers and their
local proxies. The Kashmiri Pandits as aboriginals from the valley are
deemed a problem who normally under international covenants and laws cannot
be deprived of their inherent right to inhabit the valley. With a view
their claims in such an eventuality what is needed is to rebuff the hapless
refugees that they had migrated on their own and had chosen to be in self-exile.
Islamisation of the state as pursued by the wily secessionists without
check or restraint from the Government of India has purged the ethno-religious
minority members from their native abodes to transform Kashmir into a Muslim
haven. The Tibetan and Sinkiangese Muslims way back in Nehru's time were
accepted on the soil of Kashmir on the basis of their Islamic colour and
coming in hordes from West Bengal, UP, Bihar et al getting married
to the local Muslim girls are reported to be fast gaining the status of
State subjects in contravention of laws on the Statute Book. But the genuine
refugees, Hindus and Sikhs, from West Pakistan are denied state-hood lest
it should tilt the population profile of the state. That is a conspiracy
afoot to purge the Pandits even from the Jammu soil. Bogeys are created
to build walls of dissensions between them and the local Hindu population.
Farooq Abdullah's incitement to the people of Jammu meets the same end.
If ideological and constitutional foundations of the Indian state are to
be kept in place, what is needed is the resolution of the political and
ideological situation emerging from the forced expulsion of Kashmiri Pandits.
In concrete terms be it put that the crux of the problem is that the only
Muslim majority state in India has refused outright to co-exist with a
minuscule Hindu minority.
Pandits in exile have not been burdened with the label of refugees or displaced
persons perhaps for the fact that the Government of India refuses to own
and is in no way committed to the responsibility of re-settling the displaced
persons or refugees in their native abodes with political and economic
rights and guarantees that they were bereft of even prior to their brutal
externment. It is pithily suggested by the Kashmiri Pandit watchers that
the word "migrant" allows an escape route to legitimise the vicious developments
on Kashmir front by a weak, emaciated, fractured and lack-lustre government
For the Goverornent
of India which failed to protect the pro-India minorities in Kashmir Kashmiri
Pandits on home front are migrants as they are perceived to have voluntarily
and therefore have lost the rights and privileges of
statehood but for international consumption the same human cattle dumped
in camps and slums are 'displaced persons' as they were targetted for killings
and put to severe threats. It is not only dichotomous but sounds scandalous
and exposes the inhuman face of the Government of India cursed with double-speak.
of Kashmiri Pandit refugees wasting like worms in drains is delineated
for the general readers.
Camp, Talab Tillo, Jammu
This was the
first camp that was set up by the government in the wake of massive exodus
of Kashmiri Pandits from their natural habitat. The camp is inhabited by
six hundred Pandits hailing from various areas in the valley. It is a model
of inhuman and shameless treatment meted out to a cultured community reduced
to the abominable status of refugees by the rulers who have battened on
the marrow of the poor and bereft and inhabit posh houses glittering with
stuffed ill-gotten wealth. The refugees have been dumped in the camp and
left to their care. No person of any consequence has visited the camp so
that he could get a feel of the camp conditions and move in the direction
of suggesting measures for their improvement. The tents are torn to shreds
and their replacement is out of question for the fact that it is a farm
house for the human cattle. The sun and rains are great tormentors for
the inhabitants. The proposals to shift the camp to Mishriwalla could not
fructify for long as the government deep sunk in paralysis must enjoy and
draw vicarious pleasure from the blighted condition of the Pandits who
have "injured the psyche of Muslims." The camp is worse than a slum. Heaps
of dirt and garbage are seen strewn around. It is the foul and stinking
smell that reigns supreme over the environs. The latrines are abominably
dirty and over-flowing and there are no arrangements to clean them on a
regular basis. In some tents more than one family could be seen huddled
together. If a family chooses to move out of the tent to a rented accommodation,
the Relief Agencies score it off their registers and stop their meagre
dole on which most of them eke out an existence.
As the camp
is a death-hole, the dwellers afflicted with varied diseases and ailments
as a result of foul surroundings have been falling fast into it.. Many
young men and women kissed death prematurely and could not be saved for
want of proper medical treatment. Some have fallen prey to sun-strokes
while many more died from snake bites.
As a humanitarian
act, the government after a long persuasion set up a dispensary. But dismaying
as it is no medicines were made available to it. The camp dwellers have
fallen to physical and psychological diseases and for treatment they are
forced to depend on private doctors. The dispensary is of no use to them.
The camp is dwelt by 230 scholars who are at various levels of educational
career. How can there be a school for them? Long back Mubta Khan blazed
the trail of denying schools to the Kashmiri Pandits. The government under
the tight leash of Muslims has taken a vow to follow the blazed trail.
There are schools run by government in the area but under the impact of
racist policies the Kashmiri Pandit scholars are not allowed admission
in such schools. Despite this apartheid Pandit scholars manage their education
by traversing long distances despite inconvenience and discomfort.
young men and women have been denied jobs both in the Central and State
services. The Kashmiri Pandits were declared a creamy layer right in 1947
when Mandal was in oblivion. So the employables are in agony and distress
as there is no glittering future for them. The retired people whose numbers
are increasing are facing economic indigence. They Eve on their meagre
pensions and the government based on ostentatious Nehru-Gandhi model has
not come to their aid. Those still in service are victims to apartheid.
They have not been adjusted and therefore are vegetating & atrophying.
Their promotion avenues are blocked. Even if the crafty government promotes
them, they are fiated to join their posts in Kashmir where they were declared
enemies of Islam and theocratic state of Pakistan.
Nagar Camp, Jammu
The camp is
so sunk in filth and foul smell that it mirrors the government apathy,
indifference and intransigence unto the hapless refugees. Representations
were shot and pleas made to the concerned authorities about the unlivable
conditions in the camp but they have not stirred a throbbing heart. The
camp situate on the outskirts of Jammu city is as old as exodus itself.
There are 125 families living in the camp consisting of a building with
There are no
arrangements for water supply except that the pitiless government headed
by a callous Governor has harnessed a tanker that supplies water to the
entire population in the camp once in a day. With the loud noise of the
horn women rush down from all the storeys to collect water and exigency
has taught them to form queues otherwise the driver of the tanker will
shower a ridiculous taunt on them which they detest. For women inhabiting
the fourth storey of the house it has been a great hazard and some of them
lost their lives as a result of excessive strain on their hearts.
There is a
spacious hall in each floor of the building where twenty-five families
have been huddled together. Their great predicament is loss of privacy.
Heaps of dirt
and garbage emitting out foul smell lie scattered over the stairs of the
building. There are no arrangements for clearance of the dirt to keep the
environs clean and healthy. The surrounding ambience is stinking disseminating
infections and diseases. Premature deaths are on an increase. As many as
fifteen persons died unexpectedly and could not be saved because of serious
infections they had caught. Latrines present a filthy spectacle and are
a source of dirt and infection.
as an eye wash has opened a dispensary in the camp. But it is a farce.
There are no medicines available as could have saved the ill and aged from
expenditure on them out of their meagre doles. There are no arrangements
for shifting the patients to the city hospitals at odd hours. The inmates
genuinely complain of government apathy.
There is no
school for the scholars in the camp. There are no fewer than 160 learners
at various stages of their educational career. There is no primary school
for the scholars who are at a preparatory stage. But education is the most
valued article of a Pandit. The scholars despite the scorching sun walk
distances to the schools at Satwari and Shastri Nagar. The condition of
the schools for the "migrants" is distressing and hateful.
The total ambience
of Nagrota camp accommodating five thousand Kashmiri Pandit men, women
and children is pathetic and awful and this camp in reality symbolises
the contempt and apathy of the powers that be unto the community punished
for its undiluted patriotism and unflinching faith in the unity and integrity
of India. What the condition of inmates m the camp is exposes to the last
shreds the trumpeted claims of the government authorities that the uprooted
refugees have been comfortably placed and their problems mitigated to a
in the camp, frustrated and anguished, have been relentless in their pleadings
with the authorities for improvement of the camp conditions, but have been
dismayed at the persistent government apathy and negligence. Nothing concrete
has been done to provide relief to the inmates who fire now sullen and
cynical and have lost faith in the government that can make tall promises
but never fulfills them.
following the precedent c f other camps has established a dispensary in
the camp but has never bothered to equip it in terms of medicine and necessary
equipment. It is an eye-wash only to show in papers that a dispensary has
been set up in the camp and caters to the health needs of nine hundred
refugees. As the camp is a good distance away from the city proper, there
should have been an ambulance at the beck and call of the camp dwellers
who are ill and afflicted because of hard and penurious life they have
been living at a stretch of land which is desert-like and turns into an
inferno in the blazing sun. The inhabitants of the camp are so poor and
bereft that they hate lost their ailing kith and kin for want of medicines.
The meagre dole of Rs.1800/- for a family of five members cannot suffice
their basic necessities. The families comprising ten members are practically
famished and starving. Who listens to their woes? They are the Hindu refugees
and must suffer for their refusal to accept the Islamic faith.
There are no
arrangements for water supply to the helpless refugees. The hand-pumps
that have been installed are not working and need repairs. Petitions were
made for their repair so that they serve a utility but nothing solid was
done at least for full ten months. Some of the handpumps which as good
luck would have it were working but failed to meet the demands of five
thousand people who have to bathe, drink, cook and do other chores. Long
queues of women around the working, hand seen wearing frustration and anger.
lacking even in low level common sense have set up these pumps close to
the latrines with the result the water that is drawn out is infectious
and polluted and causes and disseminates diseases. Nearly thirty people
have fallen prey to various infectious ailments.
Mounds of garbage
can be seen littered over the camp premises. Foul and stinking smell reigns
supreme. There are no well organised efforts to keep the camp free from
the foul smell of rotting waste materials with the result germs breed at
a faster rate and spread diseases.
The camp has
a population of 2800 school going scholars who have no arrangements for
schooling within the camp premises. At the prodding of parents they foot
long distances to attend schools close to the city or in the nearby areas.
The new budding scholars are at a disadvantage as there are no schools
to admit them and they are not expected to walk over long distances to
join a school whatever its quality is.
has shifted some camp dwellers to one room tenements which despite fanfare
are virtual hovels and hell-holes. The construction of these hovels is
flimsy. They turn leaky in rains. The members of the families living in
them feel cramped, dull and miserable as they are huddled together like
cattle and lack privacy. The camp dwellers have named them as pigeon-holes
constructed by the government that vies with socialism and equality for
Most of the
employables are graduates and post-graduates. The two Governors have been
relentless in the onerous task of Muslim appeasement and as per government
policy Pandits could not be given jobs for the fact that they left the
valley on their own and had lost state protection. How absured it is! The
jobless youth yell that jobs are given to the Muslim killers who have destroyed
Kashmir and patriots are left bereft and beleaguered.
camp inhabited by uprooted Pandits was originally set up in May 1990. If
any person keen to learn what refugee life is like must pay a visit to
this camp where stinking and foul smell rules the roost. The Pandits for
their cardinal sin of being patriots were pushed out by the Muslim marauders
who earned government protection then and continue to earn it nova and
were dumped in a camp like the one at polytechnic campus. Thirty-seven
families are living here and could not be accommodated at some other camp
where some amenities were available. There is a capacious hall measuring
22x11 feet which is accommodating no fewer than twenty-six families. They
are huddled like cattle in the hall and at a glance one can feel the tragedy
and pathos of their lives. The other eleven families are left to fend for
themselves. They have lived and slept in the open for years together and
as a result of self-efforts have built kennels for themselves with gunny
sheets and rags. The sun when it blazes maximum has rendered them half-dead,
merely wailing and panting. The cold and chilly winds in winters numb their
bones. But the government has not bothered a jot to provide them some relief
from the wretched life they have been forced to live.
Commissioner who was contacted on many occasions did not care a hoot as
he is instructed to create as many hurdles as he can and impose as much
suffering as he can. He is the model of what his government is and the
Government of India is mute and cannot open its mouth for a relief to a
segment of population which is Hindu and if it dares do it, it will get
scarred with the stain of anti-secular. Bereft of a thing like conscience
he had not even the courtesy to depute some officer who could at least
console these hapless Hindus.
heaps of dirt and garbage at the very entrance of the cattle-farm is nauseating
and stands testimony to the sadistic treatment meted out to the refugees
who were forced to quit by the cruel Islamists. No Government authority
feels interested in providing the dwellers the bare minimum level of sanitation
so that they do not fall prey to the agonies of disease and ill health.
Latrines have not been cleaned even once during the last five years. They
are overflowing and are seminaries of all sorts of disease germs. What
is worst the latrines during rains start flowing out dirt into the self-made
kennels causing extreme misery and pain. The stinking seminaries of dirt
and filth emit out foul smell that has caused numberless diseases especially
chest and throat ailments so chronic that they refuse to be suppressed
even by costly life-saving drugs.
There are no
medical facilities available for the cattle of this farm-house. Despite
pleadings, the government without a conscience has not just cared. A dispensary
even as an eye-wash has not been set up.
There are not
facilities of water supply to the worms in the camp. They are not humans.
So they have not to wash, eat, drink and bathe. A syntax tank with low
capacity was installed in the camp as a matter of great humanitarian act
and that too is not serviceable. The women-folk as the worst sufferers
of exile have to bear the agony of fetching water from a public post.
is no relief counter for disbursement of relief is another hassle that
the camp dwellers are faced with. For the petty dole all and sundry in
the camp including the ill and the aged have to go to the exhibition grounds
and have to wait there for hours on end in scorching sun and drenching
The camp situated
in the campus of the Polytechnic is in the neighbourhood of the hostel
for boys. As adolescents they misbehave with the young and budding girls
in the camp. It is something intolerable for the Kashmiri Pandit respectables.
There have been so many quarrels, but the menace has not ended.
camp is situated on the Jammu-Poonch national highway accommodating four
thousand human cattle in tents and another bunch of two hundred cattle
in oneroom pigeon-holes, a visible stain on the Indian rulers, blunt and
shameless. The tents do not speak but these tents do speak and vociferously
convey the litany of miseries and sorrows that the human cattle have been
suffering inside their cramped spaces. The tents as every on-looker can
discernibly see are weather-beaten and have outlived their utility and
therefore are incapable of sheltering the human animals from the rigours
of the sun and chill cold
of winter months.
The tents, tattered and battered, arc overflowing to capacity and house
eight persons instead of its normal capacity for four. In summer they heat
up and torment the dwellers who are ducks of the lake and in rains they
leak to the limit that inmates within them are little distinguishable from
the pools of mud and slush in which they wallow. The one-room tenements
are suffocating ovens in summer months and turn leaky in rains. The structures
have fractured prematurely and are about to collapse and the government
claims that it has incurred 37,000 in each of these flimsy structures.
And refugees can roll out real figures about the constructions and corruption
involved in them.
Most of the
employables who are a staggering figure of thirteen hundred with degrees
upto post-graduation have been made to waste away and vegetate. There have
been special employment drives for the Muslims who have taken to guns for
a fundamentalist agenda but there have been no drives for the Kashmiri
Pandit patriots who have stood the fury of Muslim hurricane. The state
government has well-known antipathy unto all shades of Hindus and is out
to quench them out. What is surprising that the Central government if it
can be called a government has also fallen in line at the persistent prodding
of the Kashmiri Muslim politicians with anti-Pandit venom brimming their
fangs. In absence of Jobs and other employment avenues the young men and
women are frustrated and depressed and live a life of absolute penury and
The camp dwellers
have not only to weather the horrors of weather vagaries but have also
fallen prey to sun-strokes and snake-bites. Dozens have lost lives due
to heat strokes as the camp dwellers living a starkly penurious life cannot
afford gadgets to beat the heat and its baneful effects. Dozens have fallen
a victim to the snake-bites. With few exceptions most of the victims lost
their lives for want of quick treatment and timely assistance. As the victims
to Muslim holocaust the camp dwellers are so poor and bereft that they
cannot afford beds and sleep on ground and that is why they fall prey to
the snake-bites and the entire area where the camp has come up is snake
The camp in
its totality is a living spectacle of dirt, filth and insanitary conditions.
There are no latrines. There are no bath-rooms. The authorities view the
humans as two-footed animals and hence have dumped them in the animal farm-house
which the camp in substance is. The authorities never felt the necessity
for a drainage system. The refugees are forced to depend on the canal which
flows by. They drink its water, bathe in its water and do other chores
with the canal water. The canal has smothered the lives of many and its
unclean water has caused many a disease resulting in numerous serious ailments.
The camp does
not have any medical facility available. A medical team some time back
was deputed to the camp site but it could not become functional for want
of accommodation. There are no facilities available for shifting the seriously
ailing persons to the city hospitals and for the purpose there should have
been an ambulance available at least during odd hours. "But the human bipeds
do not need medicate" argue men in corridors of power.
The camp dwellers
have maintained the top record of 100% literacy level. There is a school
that has been set up by the government at the persistent demand of Pandits
to meet the educational needs of their learners. But the school
is in a deplorable state and does not look like a school. It is without
a chalk and without a black-board. The school has a regular attendance
of twelve hundred learners who are to be accommodated in five tents supplied
by the government. In all weathers, fair or foul, they have to receive
their lessons in the open. There are no fans made available to the school.
The scholars do not have a fully equipped laboratory for experiments. There
is no library with a view to expanding the mental horizons of learners.
The worst is that there is no arrangement for drinking water. The scholars
have to depend on the infectious and unclean water of the canal. There
is a tank that could be seen broken and the educational authorities pushing
the operation black-board have not thought it wise to equip the school
for the progeny of human bipeds.
tenements are not worthy of habitation. The room is so cramped and small
that one cannot sleep in it with one's legs stretched out. There is no
ventilation. Materials used in the structures are sub-standard. The camp
dwellers authentically believe that two thousand is the maximum amount
invested in such flimsy and shaky structures.
Pran Nath Bhat,
a refugee in the camp, hapless and poor was not provided a tent or a pigeon-hole
to eke out his existence. It was for a full period of twenty days that
the human animal was forced to live in the open under the blue canopy.
No authorities were moved and paid any heed. Ultimately the Kashmir Times
published Pran Nath's tale of woe and neglect buttressing it with a photograph.
The Relief Commissioner along with his staff who is said to have battened
at the distress of the refugees ultimately moved in the direction of providing
him a leaky tent. It is not the case of Pran Nath only. Every refugee is
a Pran Nath, a human biped, who has been harassed, humiliated and insulted
at every step and end and the country is going to celebrate the 50 years
of independence. Hip-hip hurrah for the morbid Indian rulers!
migrants' camps are a shanty township of pucca houses, tin sheds and tattered
tents which house impoverished Kashmiri Pandit families. That it mocks
at the plight of these families with a large number of women and children
does not seem to revolt the senses of any one in authority."
are from Mahendra Ved who paid a visit to the camps at Mishriwalla, Muthi
and other locations and felt moved at the pitiable condition of Kashmiri
Pandit refugees. He records:
that trying to make 27,000 families comfortable away from their homes and
hearths in the sylvan valley is a thankless job, the state administration
has fallen far short of even the minimum standards. A peep into some of
the camps showed that they are no more than organised slums. The future
holds no hope for them, if reports of their house-holds being sold with
the help of fake documents and a conniving bureaucracy at the lower level
are any indication … at Purkhoo camp near here 200 have died since the
camp was set up …. Refugees say there is no relief, no compensation for
their houses lost or burnt down by the terrorists way back in 1990. They
say their service records have been mutilated or destroyed. The government
should supply them with duplicate so that they could make their claims
He (Chief Secretary) admits that pucca houses built four years ago have
leaking roofs but adds new lot of houses are better than the first ones.
"We had thought
it was a short term problem but unfortunately it has stretched so long,"
he says. An embarrassing minister remarks, "It was wrong to have assumed
that this would be a short term problem…… By all means give Rs.15 crore
to our butchers in Char-e-sharief. We too grieve at the burning down of
the shrine of our Nand Rishi. But how much is being spent to restore the
temples that have been burnt down? Are not all communities to be treated
equally under the constitution?"
The tents sheltering
thousands of Kashmiri Pandit refugees reveal a saga of untold woe and misery.
Their tops have given way under the lashing rains, gusty winds and scorching
rays of the blazing sun. They have gaping holes through which rain and
wind directly enter the tents causing extreme pain and agony to the human
animals living in them. The flaps of the tents are worn-out and shredded
and the canvas that they are made of is weather-beaten, torn loose and
A report in
the Kashmir Sentinel mentions, "They (tents) tell the tale of the woes
of their inmates whose hopes and dreams are in shreds too. These homeless
inmates from the land of chinars, ice-cool waters and golden meadows are
a wronged people, forced to live at wrong places. Living in arid, rocky
and depressed surroundings, they are not only at the mercy of the generally
unfriendly weather, but still more unfriendly government, which is outrightly
On a visit
to a family in the camp a KS reporter puts:
they had a cosy and comfortable home in a South Kashmir village where the
music of gurgling waters of a stream, flowing by the side of the house
lulled them to sleep at night and lilted them to wakefulness at dawn. The
old lady presided over a Joint family that owned paddly lands a small orchard
and a small business in the village. The girl now rubbing the kickenware
that has outlived the utility was a blithesome little lassie studying in
the local school. It was indeed a life of comfort and contentment. Today
the family, like hundreds of other displaced Kashmiri Pandit families,
lives in the arid surroundings of a dreary tented camp on the outskirts
of Jammu. It ekes out its existence on a pitiable government dole and some
small time jobs that the male members manage to get now and then. The education
of the children has been badly hit by this life of homelessness, want and
penury ..... Pain is writ large on their faces, their expressions, their
actions, their behaviour, in fact their entire existence."