An Indian view on history, current affairs and politics

July 17, 2018

I see hope in Narendra Modi

Holocaust Day

[This article has been submitted by Praveen Koul, a Kashmiri Pandit. Born in
Budgam, his family moved to a refugee camp in Jammu, he grew up listening to stories of his home in Budgam and the atrocities that forced his family to
flee. He hopes of going back to his ancestral home one day]

Today, twenty four years after the day mass exodus of Kashmiri pandits began in valley, a delegation of Pandits met Narendra Modi with memorandum. It said,“Challenge to the idea of Indian Nation state continues in Kashmir in one or the other form. Extirpation of entire Kashmiri Hindu religious minority is one of its worst manifestations. This religious identity has suffered ignobility and tragedy of exodus in the past as well, but the mass exodus of 1990 is one of the worst scars as it happened in ‘Secular, Democratic and Free India’.” Mr Modi said, “No words will ever explain the extent of suffering Kashmiri Pandits experienced. Justice towards the community remains our firm commitment,” His words reaffirm my hope the he remains the only hope for the community.

I still remember the stories of horror i used to hear as a child. The
refugee camp of Jammu was seeing fresh faces each week. Their eyes swollen from grief betrayed the outward calmness. We were lucky to have escaped the selective killings when we migrated in mid 90s. We lost all we had and somehow i feel glad that my family ignored the government assurances of valley being safe for Pandits. Those who stayed were murdered in cold blood. Pandits were selectively called out and shot with no mercy shown to women, children, old or weak. The government response remained meek to the genocide by murderous Islamists. Most of us thought the government was complicit by inaction. Pandits were being eliminated in massacres every day. There was no hue and cry in media, no candle marches for us. Killings of pandits was reduced to a small story somewhere in the newspaper.

A survivor of Nandimarg massacre narrated the chilling events to a
representative of Panun Kashmir that i remember to this day. A day after the
massacre, it was a terrible scene in the village. Blood and body parts were
littered everywhere. At the carnage site, shoes, blankets and lantern were
scattered. A correspondent of a leading English daily wrote, “once a
prosperous village, Nadimarg today presented a look of war ravaged hamlet.
The difference was that instead of helmets of soldiers, the boots and the
caps of the innocent civilians were scattered everywhere. The killers had
dumped the bodies on the spot as if they wanted vultures to eat them. It was
a scene that could even send a cold-hearted person to a virtual shock. A
large row of bodies, wrapped in a shroud, with blood making its way out of
the thin white coffin”.

The cremation was delayed by the administration for the arrival of the chief
minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. But no politician or official of the
administration stayed back for cremation. As the bodies were being lined up
for funeral, an old Pandit who could not walk, wept bitterly at the verandah
of his house and said, “I have not lost just my family. I feel my roots have
ditched me. I will never belong to Kashmir again”.

The then Deputy Prime Minister, LK Advani visited the massacre site. Pandits
were inconsolable and accused Mufti government for not providing security
despite requests made to government. The people shouted slogans against Mr Advani and Mr Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and attacked ‘healing touch policy’. The chief minister had to face serious embarrassment, when Pandits shouted, “we want migration, J&K Police Hai Hai. Healing Touch Hai Hai”. DGP and senior police officials were hooted down. A lone survivor of a family, wiped out in the carnage, shouted at Mr Advani and Mufti Sayeed that he too must “be shot dead”. He asked them, “what for I have to live now, kill me, please, kill me”. He asked Mr Advani what they had given to the Pandit community except for “death and destruction”. When the Pandits demanded dismissal of Mufti government, he told them the NDA government would use Article 356 only in extreme cases.

I never believed Mr. Advani would be able to do much for us. A lot of
massacres in Kashmir took place when NDA govt. was in power. Mr. Advani was Deputy PM and the Home Minister. Despite being a refugee himself, he could not do enough to ensure saftey of Pandits in Valley. Though his government had asked pandits to come back to valley but If government could not protect eight thousand Pandits left in the Valley, how could it talk of return of more than two lakh displaced members of the community. Despite our pain, and the Kargil war Mr. Advani chose to go to Pakistan to declare Jinna a secular. It was hint of shifting ideology. Pandits were once again victim of the hunt for secular votes

I sometimes wonder why, those who refuse to let 2002 go very conveniently
forget us. When a riot is called pogrom but targeted killings of Pandits is
not called a genocide. The champions of human rights see the pain of
minorities in Gujarat but ignore the minorities of Kashmir. Somehow talking about Pandits has become communal and politically incorrect. The commissions and interlocutors who go to Kashmir mostly ignore Kashmiri Pandits. Ethnic cleansing that began in 80′s seem complete but for handful of Pandits who are determined to take back what is rightfully theirs. I see hope in Modi because he talks of Justice for all and appeasement to none. I have the hope that one day he will help us go back to our land, where we belong.

  • Sunil pandita

    We have submitted memorandums and applications and forms and pleas to look into the gross injustice and human right violation done to Kashmiri Hindus — to the UN General Assembly, to the Central Government, to the Intelligence (which failed in 89-till date including Kargil). We still perish but are surviving! NaMo has the support of the whole Kashmiri Hindu Community, and we will do whatsoever to bring him in power !!

  • varsha#HDL

    For the last sixty five years , this is the same Congress Party that has made numerous statements in the international forums about the rights of Palestinians , this is the same congress party that made too much noise about the rights of Africans under colonial and apartheid rule, this is the same congress party that makes too much noise about the rights of Tibetans and yet it has done nothing for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits. The congress party does not care at all for the Kashmiri Pandits because the people of India including the minorities ( who are always demanding equal rights) have failed to demand a fair deal for their own countrymen who have been turned into refugees into their own country. The fault also lies with the media. They have failed to press the government and create a public outcry. I was watching one programmed. I think it was newshour debate. When Dr. Subramaniam Swami raised the issue of Kashmiri Pandits the Anchor ( I think it was MR Goswami) immediately branded it communal.This anchor should have realized that this is not a communal issue. It is a issue concerning 500,000 Indians.

  • vijay

    Our secular brigade does ignore them, forgets them and sometimes even blame them for their own plight.

  • srini

    he is the only leader to voice Kashmiri Pandit’s concern…..where r so called secular parties of India?? they only talk abt muslims and the rest is all forgotten….hypocrites !

  • Ratnamo

    Lets bring all Brahmans and pundits on one platform and ask to forget what others have done so far. Lets get into benefit of out own community and see what these so called secular forces do to stop us. We have to get united , in order to get things done for us, we Hindus are more than 50% of the population of India and these few minority groups are ruling the political games of vote bank by just polling unanimously on the command of their religious leader. Lets show these political leaders , strength of our community. Lets ask for 50% reservation for Hindus and leave other 50% for other community. Lets stop cows killing , People willing to organised iftar party but I haven’t heard of any other party for Hindu community. Tax exemption for slaughter houses but no tax exemption to the middle class tax payers.Free/ concessed support for haj travelers but no to any Hindu places. No support for Hindus who are the victim of religious clashes but lots and lots of support are there in the name of minorities.

    Our so called PM mauni baba manmohan singh doesn’t have guts to speak of his parties achievements but have the courage to speak against Modi , as he mentioned it will be disastrous to have Modi as PM. I have to ask a question to mr. Manmohan singh, what disaster is left by you which Mr. MOdi will do. You have made enough of the blunders ever a primeminister of any country have done. Your silence over the killing of Indian nationals by Bangladeshi is really appreciable, your silence over indian soldiers killing on borders is remarkable . You yourself is a good economist and you are unable to control the disastrously crashing economics of India. And you are commenting on what is good and bad for India. Our choice to let Congress govern this country was disastrous . Yourself becoming prime minister was disastrous to India.

    Mr. Vajpayee government has already planned for the bans and sanction on India from US and other country ,it empowered India to become nuclear capable country. How come you were unable to protect your own representative in US from getting arrested. How will you protect your other country. Many indians are still facing racism in Australia and US , what are your plans for them. India is a country of millions and billions ,India is a great market for all other countries, if we stop purchasing other nationals product they will start starving. If we ask US to pay gold [Indian curreny is based on gold ] inplace of oil contract.[US doller is a legal tender] US doller will fall and we will be on top.

    We have strength, we have capability but lack in leadeship has made us so weak to beg from other countries.

    Thanks to PM Manmohan Singh [Who is not of course a man] for this disastrous economy and political culture. Vowing to madam jee and rahul jee.

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