Table of Contents
   Index
   Secessionist Movements
- Article 370
- Interim Government
- The Plebiscite Front
   Muslim Militancy
- The Gathering Storm
- War of Attrition
   Disinformation Compaign
- Political Alienation
- Muslim Precedence
- Economics of Militancy
   Genocide of Hindus
- The Minorities
- Quit Kashmir
- Darkness at Noon
- The Exodus
- Ethnic Cleansing
   Search for Refuge
- Leave Salary
- Scorched Earth
   Book in pdf format  

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Chapter 5
Search for Refuge

SCORCHED EARTH

The exodus of the Hindus from Kashmir was followed by widespread depredations of their places of worship. Almost everywhere in the valley the archaeological remains of the ancient Hindu temples, which stood an eloquent testimony to the Hindu heritage of Kashmir, were subjected to wanton attack. The ancient ruins of the temple, which were destroyed during the Muslim rule, were sacred to the Hindus, who visited the sites as a part of their religious tradition. At many places, the ruins were dug up, to wipe off their last traces. 

Hindu religious, cultural and minority institutions were destroyed with greater zeal. The Hindu religious congregations were prohibited and the places where they were conducted, closed down. The famous shrine of Sharika, situated on the slopes of Hari Parbat hill and commanding a view of the old city, was covered by a pale-grey tarpaulin, for the satisfaction of the Muslims. The other religious places were either burnt down or closed. The buildings, in which the offices of the Hindu social organisations were located, were also burnt down or subjected to bomb attacks. The Hindu educational institutions were either burnt down or taken over by desparadoes supported by the militants. Temples and shrines were destroyed by fire or subjected to bomb blasts. The ancient shrine of Bhawam at Tulamulla in Srinagar, was subjected to rocket attacks, which, however, struck the surrounding structures, causing the shrine little damge. Almost the entire organisation of the Hindu schools and colleges run by the Hindu educational societies, including educational instititions run by the Hindu Educational Society, the Dayanand AngloVedic organisation and the Vishva Bharti Trust were either burnt down or seized by the militant-sponsored Muslim organisations in a swift manoeuver. 

The Minister of State for Home, the Government of India, stated in the Indian Parliament on 12th March, 1993 that 28 temples and Hindu shrines were demolished, damaged and desecrated in Kashmir during the year 1989 to 1991. 
 

Year  Temples demolished
and damaged 
1989  13 
1990 
1991  16 
Total  38 

The actual number of the temples demolished and damaged in Kashmir was much larger and vandalism to which the Hindu shrines were exposed was widespread. Sixty eight temples and shrines located in the remote villages, far more ancient and sacred than the mosques the Moghul imposters had erected, were burnt and demolished or damaged, about which reports were never collected by the State Government. In most of these remote places, there were no Hindus left behind to have lodged complaints with the administration. The State Government, least interested in the safety and protection of these religious shrines, made no efforts to collect any information about the desecration and damage to which these temples were subjected. The data and facts about these temples were collected from the Hindu refiugees in Jammu and the other places in India. 

In the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, traditional Muslim intolerance towards the Hindus, erupted into widespread attack on the Hindu temples and places of worship. Thirty nine temples were demolished burnt, damaged and desecrated by frenzied mobs, who cried death to India and the Hindus. The Congress leaders were hurt by the demolition of the Babri Masjid and gave ample expression to their anger and distress. None of them, however, voiced any protest against the widespread demolition and desecration of tlle Hindu temples in Kashmir. After the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the wanton destruction of the temples in Kashtnir was reported by the press, though reservedly. Angry demonstrations and protests against the desecration of the Hindu temples and their systematic demolition, were held by the Hindu refugees in Jammu and other parts of the country. Neither the lurid tales of how the temples were desecrated nor the protest made by the Hindu refugees evoked any response from the Government of India. 

The Hindu refugees protested strongly against the demolition and desecration of the temples and the shrines left behind by them in Kashmir. Angry demonstrations by the displaced Hindus against the widespread damage caused to the Hindu temples and shrines in Kashmir and the widespread protest voiced by the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, the Bhartiya Janata Parly, the Hindu Shiv Sena, constituting the most powerful the Hindu political opinion, evoked little or no response from the Government of India or the State Government. In order to provide fresh cover to Muslim communalism in Kasnmir, a fresh disinformation campaign was launched to malign the Hindu refugees for their reaction against the destruction and damage to their places of worship. Several people, who professedly after personal investigation, published their own account of the demolition and desecration of the Hindu temples in Kashmir, published stories of the temples which had been damaged and promptly repaired by the State Government and temples which had not been demolished. Most of them sought to link up the demonstration of protest against the temples in Kashmir with the controversy which followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Evidently it was clear that their version of what had been happening in Kashmir was based upon monitored information aimed to dilute the impact of the widespread damage done to Hindu places of worship in Kashmir. The controversy did not last long as the Hindu religious organisations: the Sahatya Samiti the All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference and the local units of the Bhartiya Janata Party made public unassailable evidence of the destruction and damage done to the Hindu temples in Kashmir. 

The destruction of the temples and religious institutions was evidently aimed to destroy the Hindu religious tradition and culture and to pave the way for the total Islamisation of Kashmir. The militant organisations followed a systematic policy to uproot the Hindus from Kashmir, economically and socially, and break their resolve to return home. Right from 1989, when the militant violence commenced, the militants followed a scorehed earth policy of demolishing Hindu localities, dispossessing the Hindus of their land, orchards, business establishments, trades, shops and other properties to deprive them of the means of their livelihood and burning of their houses. 

During the months after the exodus of the Hindus, their houses were ransacked and the belongings and household goods and properly, left behind by the fleeing families, looted. Many of the houses were torched and during the last four years about 18,000 houses were either burnt down or destroyed. Many of the houses which were notburnt, were occupied by mercenaries serving the militant organisation. The premises of the business establishments, shops and commercial establishments were also taken over by the Muslim activists who supported the militancy. In the rural areas, agricultural land, orchards and the lands attached with the burnt Hindu houses, were nibbled away by Muslim activists supporting various terrorist orgalusations. The cattle and the livestock, left behind by the Hindus, were sold for slaughter. 

The worst of the disaster that befell the Hindus in Kashmir was the sudden disruption of the education of their children, the exodus caused. The infra-structure to provide teaching to a large number of refugee students in the educational institutions in the Jammu city and Udhumpur district, where the refugees were mainly concentrated, did not simply exist. A fairly sizable number of refugee children were admitted to the public schools in Jammu, run by private bodies. Many of the refugees, however, did not afford to send their children to the public schools. The problem was more acute in the higher-secondary schools and the colleges where space and teaching facilities were hardly adequate to cater to the needs of the local students. In Kashmir where a virtual embargo was placed on the entry of the Hindus in Government colleges and institutions of higher studies, the Hindus found their way into the colleges run by Hindu management trusts. Many of these institutions were run by the Hindu Educational Society, the Dayanand Anglo Vedic organisations, the Vishwa Bharti Trust and the Christian Church Mission Societies. The management and the teachmg staff of the institutions of the Hindu Educational Society sought permission from the State Govermnent to restart teaching classes in Jammu on temporaly basis. The permission was not given and till the end of the year, 1993, the management was still struggling to perusade the Government to grant it permission to start the classes in Jammu. 

The State Governor, Jagmohan promptly issued orders for the establishment of camp schools and camp colleges in Jammu and Udhampur, where teaching cou1d be imparted to the children of the Hindu displaced people. The measure was well intended as there was a large number of Hindu migrant teachers in Jammu, available for teaching in the camp schools and colleges. The camp schools were accomodated in improvised canvass canopies and the migrant teachers were drafted to teach there. The camp colleges were, however, based in the local college buildings where classes for the migrant students were conducted in the second shift which commenced in the afternoon, when the class work of the regular students came to its close. Camp departments for post-graduate students of the Kashmir University were also eastablished in the Jammu University. 

The apathy and the indifference of the State Government towards the plight of the Hindus refugees, had devastating effect on the education of the children of the Hindu refugees. The effect on the camp schools was disasterous. The teaching staff in the camp schools, by far the best and academically better qualified, complained about the lack of accomodatlon, sanitary facilities and teaching aids in the camp schools bringing the abject conditions in which the teaching was conducted by them to the notice of the State Government as well as the leadership of the Hindu refugees. Their demonstrations went in vain. The Sahatya Samiti sent several delegations to meet the officers of the State Government and draw their attention to the severe difficulties the teachers as well as the students faced in the schools. Several delegations of the college teachers waited upon leaders in the Government of India, and the officers of the Union Education Ministry to acquaint them of the rapid disintegration of the whole organisation of the camp schools and colleges, established by the State Government. Their protest too was ignored. 

In due course of time, the camp schools, many of which continued to be accomodated in tents and improvised shelters, where reduced to tattered shacks, where the teachers and the students alike, hid themselves from the scorching heat of the summer sun as well as the monsoon rains. 

The effect of the exodus on the admission of the Hindu migrant children to professional training colleges and institutions of higher education was devastating. They could not claim admissions in the professional and training colleges in the Jammu province or the postgraduates departments in theJammu University, where the admissions were strictly reserved for the people of the Jammu province. They could not seek admission in the professional and training colleges and the University of Kashmir in the Kashmir valley wherefrom they had been driven out at the point of the gun. 

Before the onset of terrorism, Hindus in Kashmir secured an average of 8 percent to 10 percent admissions in the professional and technical colleges and post-graduate teaching departments more or less inproportion to their population in the province. 1.0 percent admissions to the professional and training colleges and post-graduate departments were shared by the other minorities. Eighty eight percent of admissions were monopolised by the Muslims. After the exodus, the least little of the advantage in the admissions to the professional and technical colleges and academic institutions for higher learning was lost the Hindus.         

White Paper on Kashmir

 

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