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The Victims - The Kashmiri Hindus

by Pt. Dwarkanath Munshi
President, All India Kashmiri Samaj, New Delhi

Now, over two years have passed since the Kashmiri Hindus were tortured out of their homes in the Kashmir Valley, without a fault. They-- women, men, and children--were butchered, raped, looted, and devastated in the most inhuman ways. And they have since been living their days and nights far away from home, in unfamiliar surroundings, out in the open or in hovels with several families huddled together without having even a modicum of sanitation, hygiene or privacy. All their worldly possessions are left behind or lost. So also their spiritual heritage and their places of worship, in this darkest day of their history.

Numbering nearly 300,000, they have been variously called "migrants", "displaced persons", "refugees" in their own country. They are none of these, but only cruelly abandoned, forgotten children of the motherland.

Caught in the crossfire of Islamic fundamentalist and Pakistani guns trained on India, they have not received even the minimum of the consideration which any civilized and responsible government would provide to its citizens in such straits. The scourge has been ceaseless and of the proportion of a holocaust for the helpless victims. The picture of their tragedy and trauma has, however, remained clouded and greatly blurred because of:

1. The blinding disinformation and propaganda blasts of Pakistan, aided and funded by the inexhaustible resources of international Islamic fundamentalist forces.

2. The local Muslim-majority Kashmir State government's open discrimination against them, and later its own total collapse before the onslaught of the terrorist fundamentalists set on creating chaos which has further degenerated into a modern-day Inquisition and unchallenged banditry.

3. The successive Indian Government's political and electoral calculations and compulsions, often more imagined than real, which made them look the other way till the situation went out of control, and now engage only in dilatory, diversionary and misconceived half-moves.

4. The "freedom-loving", "democratic societies" exclusive emphasis on "human rights" vis-a-vis governmental "violations", measured obsessively by the letter of the Universal Declaration. The horrifying violations persistently committed by a tyrannical and fanatical religious majority against a weak and vulnerable minority, so obvious in the case of Kashmir's Hindus, has no place in such a reckoning. Some of the activists' campaigns are bizarre, implying their pleading for the "rights" of the terrorists and marauders to carry on their business un-hindered.

The Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) Community are traditionally highly educated, cultured, peace loving, thriving on their sincere, efficient hard work. They are fiercely patriotic.

Pakistan and the Islamic fundamentalists terrorists are bent on seizing the flourishing and beautiful Kashmir Valley to serve as yet another outpost of fundamentalism. For them the Hindu minority symbolized India's presence in the Valley which had to be eliminated from the path to their objective. Thus, the all-out assault culminating in their becoming homeless and destitute.

The present tribulations of the Kashmir Pandits bear awful implications far into the future Today--as this twentieth Century of human advancement at lightening speed is on the bend to yield to a more promising 21st -- a whole new generation of the children and youth of this highly civilized and talented community is surrounded by many evil and regressive influences. Unless protected and helped now, they run the risk of growing into fractured, savage people losing their roots of a spectacular ancestry, identity, ethos and the widely tested and recognized splendid capabilities and achievements.

No solution of Kashmir catastrophe is complete or acceptable unless Kashmiri Pandits are able to return to the valley to lead a full fledged life of loyal citizens of Bharat enjoying the full guarantees of its secular and democratic constitution.

Source: Miltsar, May 1992, Kashmiri Overseas Association

Kashmir History and Politics

 

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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference, 1993
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