Table of Contents
  Index
  About the Author
  About the Book
  Preface
  Foreword
PART I
  Laying the Scene
  Sayyid Sharafu'D-Din
  Mir Ali Hamadani's role ...
  P.N. Bazaz and P.N.Bamzai ...
  Laleshwari - A Shining...
  Trika Paved the Way for Islam
  Kashmir - Not A Tabula Rasa
  Willing and Peaceful ...
  Extra-ideological Methods
  Compromise as Tactics
  Shihab-ud-Din's anti-Hindu ..
  'Sufi-face of Islam' thesis ...
  Sultan Sikandar -  a Cruel ..
  Mir Ali Hamdani's Advice ...
  Return of Sanity
  Na Bhatto Aham -  A Cry ...
  Crusade Re-launched
  Nirmal Kanth - A Pillar ...
  Inter-face Between Hinduism..
  Regeneration of Kashmir ...
  Mughal Annexation at ...
  Learning Not Enough, ...
  Muslims Invite Afghans
  Birbal Dhar and Sikhs
  Loot of 1931
  Loot of Landed Properties
  Loot of a Kashmiri Pandit ...
  Loot and Plunder of 1986
PART II 
  Nehru's Advice to ...
  Pan-Islamic Design
  Sponsored Terrorism
  Kashmiri Pandits -  soft ...
  JKLF - An Outfit of Killers
  Jammaat-i-lslami - ...
  Afghans Again Invited ...
  Massacre of Kashmiri Pandits
- Part 1 of 3
- Part 2 of 3
- Part 3 of 3
  Loot, Grab and Arson ...
  Destruction and Desecration ...
  Loot and Burning of Books
  Kashmiri Pandits As Migrants
  Conversions as Muslim ...
  Kashmiri Pandits and ...
  Homeland Demand Raised
  Sangrampora Massacre
  References and Notes
  List of Illustrations
  Appendix
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Part II: Chapter 12

KASHMIRI PANDITS AS MIGRANTS

The 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 insensitivity.

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 refugee camps'.

The politicals 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 tunnel.

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

and continues 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.

Violent strife 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.

The response 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."

The response 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 cleansing."

The response 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 persons.

The Kashmiri 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.

The dubious 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.

The installation 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.

The hounded 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.

The Government 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.

The craftily 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 to diluting 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.

The complete 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 religion.

The Muslims 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.

The Kashmiri 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 in power.

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 marched out 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.

The misery of Kashmiri Pandit refugees wasting like worms in drains is delineated for the general readers.

Gole Pulli 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.

The educated 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.

Transport 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 four storeys.

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.

The government 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.

Nagrota camp, Jammu

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 larger extent.

The dwellers 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.

The government 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.

The authorities 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.

The government 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 all.

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.

Polytechnic Camp, Jammu

The Polytechnic 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.

The Relief 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.

Proliferating 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.

That there 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 rain.

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.

Purkhoo Camp, Jammu

The Purkhoo 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 indigence.

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 infested.

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.

The one-room 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!

A Report on Camps

"' Kashmiri 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."

These words 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:

"Even accepting 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 thinned out.

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 callous.

On a visit to a family in the camp a KS reporter puts:

"Back home 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."

 

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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
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