Genocide of Hindus
After the Independence of India,
the one community in India which suffered for its commitment to patriotism
and Indian unity, was the minority community of the Hindus in the Jammu
and Kashmir State. The Hindus constantly faced the accusation of the Muslims
that they had conspired with the Government of India to secure the accession
of the State to India against the will of the Muslims. They suffered the
charge that in l947, they had, with the help of the Hindu ruler of the
State, Maharaja Hari Singh and in connivance with the leaders of the National
Conference, treacherously sabotaged the Muslim endeavour to achieve the
integration of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir with the Muslim homeland
of Pakistan. They were also indicted for having opposed the Muslim resistance
against the accession of the State to India. They bore the brunt of the
Muslim precedence, the National Conference established in the State and
after the National Conference broke up in 1953, they were proclaimed the
enemies of the Muslim movement, the Plebiscite Front led in the State.
Even after the Plebiscite Front was wound up in 1975, the condemnation
to which the Hindus were subjected, did not end. They continued to be charged
of being the arch enemies of the Muslim nation of Kashmir, a threat to
the Muslim religion and its political solidarity and the motive force behind
all secular processes in the State which obstructed the Muslim struggle
for Pakistan. In fact, they faced the first crucifixion for their loyalty
to their country. The first shots fired by the militants were received
by the Hindus.
Among the accusations piled upon
the Hindus in Kashmir, the following were the prominent:
The accusations were not unfounded.
The Hindus in Kashmir fought for Indian unity and freedom from foreign
rule, shoulder to shoulder with the people in the Indian States. The first
ever held Conference of the Indian States People, convened in 1927, was
presided over by a firebrand Kashmiri Pandit, Shankar Lal Kaul, who had
left Kashmir after having been removed from the State services on the advice
of the British Resident. Kaul demanded the right of the States People to
repudiate the princely order and called for a united struggle of the people
in the Indian States and the British Provinces against the British rule.
A decade after, the All- India States Peoples Conference, in its session
at Ludhiana, reiterated the demand Kaul had made for the repudiation of
the Paramountacy and the end of the princely rule in the Indian States.
that they misled the leadership of the
Muslim Conference in 1939, and ensured the Muslim Conference leaders to
accept secularism as the basis of the Muslim struggle against the Dogra
that they supported the accession of
the State to India and actively worked to consolidate the Indian hold over
the Muslims in the State;
that they subotaged the secessionist
movement aimed to disengage the State from India;
that they supported the merger of the
State in the constitutional organisation of India;
that they were severely opposed to the
Muslim precedence; and
that they did not accept the primacy
of Islam and obstructed the Muslimisation of the society and Government
of the State.
Pandit Dwatika Nath Kachroo, a veteran
Kashmiri Pandit freedom fighter and a close associate of Jawahar Lal Nehru,
served the States Peoples movement, asthe Secretary General of the States
Peoples Conference, during the most formative years of its development.
He was arrested in Kashmir along with Nehru in the 'Quit Kashmir' movement.
Later, Kachru represented the All-India States Peoples Conference in the
historic meeting of the Working Committee ofthe National Conference held
in October 1947, in which the Conference decided unanimously to support
the accession of the State to India.
The Hindus of Kashmir extended their
support to the Indian national movement right from its revolutionary days
and demonstrated their fraternal solidarity with the people of India in
the Civil Disobedience, which followed the Rawlatt legislation in 1919,
the Khilafat Movement in 1921, and the Salt Satyagraha in 1931. Many of
them, including Pandit Kashyap Bandhu, joined the revolutionary underground
in India which actually shook the roots of the British empire.
The Muslims of Kashmir inspired by
Pan-Islamism, which prevaded the Muslim outlook in India till the British
left, adopted an attitude of active opposition to the Indian struggle.
The Muslims in the State never lost sight of the identity of their interests
with the British and spared no efforts to help them to undo the Dogras
and provide them support in their endeavour to smother the liberation movement
in India. They strongly opposed the State-Subject movement led by the Kashmiri
Hindus, which was mainly aimed to forestall any attempt the British made
to acquire land in the State. Infact, the Muslims in their Memorial, submitted
to Maharaja Hari Singh in the aftermath of the Muslim agitation of 1931,
blamed the State Government of having connived with the Hindus in organising
demonstrations in the State in support of the Congress movement, which,
they alleged, went against their loyality to the British empire.
In truth, it was the Hindu community
in Kashmir which by its exhibition of tolerance and forebearance and a
long campaign of education in secular values, laid the foundations of a
secular, non-partisan and non- communal movement in the State. The declaration
of the National Demand, which was issued by Hmdus and Muslim leaders of
Kashmir in 1938, and which in the later days, formed the basic groundwork
of the movement for self-government in the State, uas drafted by the Kashmiri,
Hindu leaders. The Decleration of National Demand became the basis of the
emergence of the National Conference in 1939.
The Muslim Conference, which spearheaded
the Muslim agitation against the Dogra rule in the State, was converted
into a secular organisation,the National Conference in l939,with active
collaboration and support of the Hindus in Kashmir. The Hindus joined the
ranks of the National Conference on the terms which the Muslim leaders
laid down. The Muslim leaders who did not join the National Conference
broke away to continue their struggle for the Muslims and aligned themselves
with the Muslim League movement for Pakistan. They accused the Hindus of
Kashmir, particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, of having divided the Muslims
of the State on the instigation of the Congress and other Hindu leaders
of India. This accusation was never washed away. The ideologues of the
Muslim terrorism repeated the indictment.
The Hindus allowed the escheat of
their landed estates, the confiscation of their properly, and their exclusion
from the administration of the State and accepted political change which
sought its legitimacy in the primacy of Islam, to provide the Government
of India support in the United Nations, where the Indian representatives
were seeking hard to prove more Muslim than the Muslim nation of Pakistan
to justify the accession of the State to India. The Kashmiri Pandits went
as far as to applaud the long harrangues delivered by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
in the Security Council, which in substance, embodied the Muslim claims
to the nationhood of Kashmir on the basis of the Muslim religious injunction.
The Hindus bore the first impact
of the upheaval which followed the dismissal of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
in 1953, and in fact, they took to the streets in support of the second
Interim Government, demonstrating their solidarity with the Government
of India. For twenty-two years, they fought with dogged resolution, the
movement for plebiscite, which Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and the Plebiscite
Front led. After the Accord in 1975, they found themselves arraigned against
the Pan-Islamic fundamentalism which assumed the leadership of the secessionist
movement in the State after the Plebiscite Front was dissolved.
The secessionist forces charged them
of obstructing the liberation of the Muslims in the State and the State
Government charged them of acting on the behest of the Indian Government,
to spread Hindu communalism in the State. The National Conference leaders
charged the Kashmiri Hindus of acting as the agents of India. The Muslim
wrath fell upon them, when widespread anti-Hindu riots broke out all over
the south of Kashmir in 1986.
The Kashmiri Hindus earned the heaviest
Muslim censure for their avowed opposition to the exclusion of the State
from the constitutional organisation of India. They were openly branded
the enemies of the Muslim identity of the State. Indeed, the Hindus all
over the State, including the Sikhs and the Buddhists, did not approve
of the exclusion of the State from the constitutional organisation of India.
They implored with Nehru and the other Indian leaders not to allow the
isolation of the State from the mainstream of the Indian political life.
While a widespread agitation against the exclusion of the State from the
constitutional organisation of India was launched by the Hindus in Jammu,
the Hindus in Kashmir sent several communications to the Government of
India, pointing out the dangers in excluding the State from the Indian
political organisation and the damage that would be done to the evolution
of integrated and secular political institutions in the State. The National
Conference, the Plebiscite Front and the other Muslim organisations denounced
the Hindus as the fifth column of Hindu communalists of India, who sought
to end the Muslim identity of the State.
In the province of Jammu, the Muslim
leaders of the National Conference cracked under the pressure of the dominant
Hindu majority and frightened by the Hindu backlash offered to separate
the Hindu majority districts of the province from the rest of the State.
The Hindus of Jammu rejected the dismemberment of the State on communal
lines and re-emphasised their demand for the integration of the State in
the secular political organisation of India. In Kashmir, however, they
reduced the Hindus, particularly the Kashmiri Pandits, to a subject population,
outcaste and branded them enemies of the cause of the Muslims and their
Impoverished by their exclusion from
the economic organisation of the State and their elimination from all the
political processes, the Hindus lost their initiative and became the hostages
to what was later called "the Muslim identity of Jammu and Kashmir". They
were subject to religious persecution, their temples were desecrated; many
of their temples disappeared completely, among them the famous temple of
Vishnu located in the flank of Jama Masjid in Srinagar. As the secessionist
forces gained the upper hand, pressure was mounted upon them and thousands
of them abandoned their homes. No wonder that during the last four decades
about two lakh of Kashmiri Hindus quietly migrated to the other pans of
the country. The blitzkrieg assault, the terrorists delivered upon the
Hindus in the Valley in JanuaIy 1990, was the last blow, dealt out to them
to uproot them completely and put an end to the last measure of resistance
they still offered to Muslim communalism.