Creating Narratives to Suit Agendas

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The recently released movie The Kashmir Files has opened a can of worms. Not only has this movie showcased, for the first time in 32 years, the terrible atrocities committed on the peace-loving Kashmiri Pandit community by Jihadi Islam, forcing them to leave the land of their forefathers but also has sent the people responsible for their plight into a state of denial. A narrative is being built to shield the people responsible for this genocide of a hapless minority. We find a host of self-labelled ‘seculars’ & ‘liberals’, ‘agenda driven leftists’ and plain Muslim communalists coming out with ‘exotic’ excuses and justifications for the tragedy that happened in Kashmir. This write up is to expose the shallowness of the excuses being put forth by the perpetuators of these crimes. Human memory is short and one tends to forget details. Plus, we are living in the age of Twitter – facts and history are limited to 140 words and how many of the agenda driven or ignorant ‘followers’ are ready to accept unspeakable lies in the form of likes!

What are the most commonly propounded lies being thrown about and reverberating in the ‘secular, liberal, left’ echo system?

  • That Farooq Abdullah resigned as Chief Minister on January 18, 1990 and hence what happened on January 19, 1990 is not his responsibility
  • Governor Jagmohan ensured and encouraged the mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits in January 1990.
  • Governor Jagmohan was a BJP/ RSS man, sent to Kashmir on a mission to defame and kill Muslims in Kashmir

These lies and myths need to be rebutted one by one with facts. History teaches us that what happened in Kashmir, did not occur ‘out of the blue’ or suddenly. Even a volcano needs a build-up of minimum seven weeks before it erupts! There is always a gradual build-up that ultimately leads to an eruption or explosion. It is important to look at the four to five decades prior to 1990 to get a fair idea of what eventually led to the unfolding of a tragedy of monumental proportions, leading to Ethnic Cleansing in Kashmir.

Factsheet:
Political power was handed over to an ‘unelected’ Kashmiri Muslim leader in October 1947 by the political elite of India (read Nehru).

1. Deliberate Marginalization of Minorities: Once in power, Shiekh Abdullah and his cohorts shed their ‘secular’ masks (National Conference was originally born as Muslim Conference in 1932) and came out with blatantly communal policies, marginalizing the Hindu Minority of Kashmir. Three major events that can be labelled as milestones in the chequered history of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley, post 1947 are:

a) Snatching Land without Compensation: The Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, 1950, was drawn up to marginalize the land owning KP families. Transferring land without compensation was possible since the provisions of the Indian constitution did not apply in the state (J&K had its own constitution) and such laws were beyond the preview of courts. Had such a law been passed today, courts would have struck it down!

b) Declaring All Muslims Backward: Irrespective of their existing financial and social status, all Muslims in J&K were declared ‘backward’. 80% jobs and promotions were reserved for them. Specific laws were passed that allowed out of turn promotions to Muslims and even courts could do nothing about it. Pandits were posted to Jammu or Ladakh as a matter of policy. The idea obviously was to push Pandits out of the valley.

c) Parmeshwari Handoo Conversion Agitation (1967): The defining moment for Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir: A young KP girl was abducted and later married to a much older Muslim man; the process was full of intrigue and smacked of blatant misuse of political power by Muslims. Eight young Pandit boys lost their lives in the agitation that followed. The Congress role was dubious, to say the least.

2. Political Manipulations: J&K has been a victim of weird and wicked political manipulations ever since 1947.

a) Taking J&K accession case to the UN: Nehru had this insatiable desire to be recognized as a Global Statesman; hence the decision to ‘internationalize’ the issue. Field commanders of the Indian Army are reported to have pleaded with Nehru to allow them just 2-3 days more to clear entire POK since they had the Pakistanis on the run. It is interesting to note that Shiekh Abdullah had no interest in clearing non-Kashmiri speaking areas beyond Baramulla from Pakistani occupation since he had no influence in Muzaffarabad and beyond. This was vote bank politics at its worst! Taking Kashmir accession issue to the UN provided no solutions – it only gave Pakistan a legal toehold in J&K.

b) 1953 ‘dethroning’ drama: Shiekh Abdullah always had plans of creating an ‘independent ‘shiekhdom’ in Kashmir, egged on by the British and Americans; unfortunately, PM Nehru, was ‘blinded’ by his ‘special relationship’ with Abdullah till he was shown ‘proof’ of Abdullah’s shenanigans with Pakistan. Shiekh was unceremoniously dismissed as Prime Minister on August 8, 1953 and replaced by his deputy GM Bakshi. This naturally caused unrest in Kashmir valley though his removal was celebrated in Jammu Division.

c) Forcing Bakshi to resign under Kamraj Plan: PM Bakshi was forced to resign under Kamraj Plan because political powers in Delhi felt he was getting too popular (and strong) in J&K. This opened the flood gates of secessionism in Kashmir valley.

d) Moye Muqqadas Controversy (1963-64): This was a politically stage-managed drama that shook Kashmir valley on religious lines, roused religious sentiments of common Muslims who thought their religion was under attack. Till date, nobody knows what actually happened but it took political toll of Khwaja Shamsuddin, then Prime Minister.

e) Resurrecting Shiekh Abdullah (1975): Indira Gandhi resurrected a near defunct Shiekh Abdullah and made him Chief Minister out of the blue. By 1975, Shiekh had become politically irrelevant in Kashmir politics. This helped breathe life into all old secessionists like Afzal Beg of the Plebiscite Front.

f) Sham Elections: In Sept-October 1951, the first ‘free and fair’ elections based on ‘adult franchise by secret ballot’ were held in J&K to elect a 75 member ‘Constituent Assembly’. The process of elections was highly irregular, to say the least! Shiekh Abdullah’s National Conference won all the 75 seats to the Constituent Assembly because all nominations of all rival candidates were summarily rejected. This set the template for all future elections in J&K – be it 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1983 and, the worst, 1987. Almost every election in the state was rigged by the ruling Kashmiri elite in cahoots with the ruling elite in Delhi (read Congress). This obviously shattered the faith and trust of common people in the election process, particularly amongst minorities. I recall my late father telling me once that he would take a round of the polling booth but would be turned back by the local toughs with the words,” Pandit ji, don’t bother, we have already cast your vote,”!

Game of Musical Chairs (1982-1989):
Following the death of Shiekh Abdullah in 1982, his son Farooq sat on the throne of J&K till a political intrigue, led by his sister’s husband Mr GM Shah and fanned by Congress (Mufti Saeed) led to his dethroning in July 1984. What followed was a classic Orwellian situation – National Conference, Congress, Moulvi Farooq (Awami Action Committee), Qazi Nisar (MUF), Mufti Saeed of Congress (later PDP)– all played power games, in tandem with the Govt at Delhi, ideology be dammed! One never knew who was supporting or opposing whom. Such palace intrigues caused loss of respect for political animals in the minds of common people, minorities in particular! The years 1982-1989 obviously were the worst for people of Kashmir, especially minorities because atmosphere became charged with religious sentiments. Due to the political shenanigans, atmosphere in Kashmir valley became so anti-India that the Indian cricket team was hooted at during their match in October 1983; Mrs Indira Gandhi had to face obscene gestures from a section of the public during her November 1983 election campaign in the valley.

A Look at the role of principal actors:
1. Mufti Saeed: Originally from Democratic National Conference (a splinter group of NC), he became a Congress leader once the two parties merged during GM Sadiq’s rule in 1965. Mufti felt his political ambitions short charged by Rajiv Gandhi’s fondness and camaraderie with his childhood friend, Farooq Abdullah. It appears, Rajiv went out of his way to trust and accommodate Abdullah. In revenge, Mufti propped up Qazi Nisar, then Mir Waiz of South Kashmir (Religious Muslim Leader) in his home district Anantnag – a move reminiscent of propping up of Bhindranwale in Punjab by Congress. Both ultimately turned renegades, causing bloodshed and misery. In 1986, he caused communal rioting in Anantnag, his political backyard, damaging several Hindu temples and properties of Kashmiri Pandits. Praveen Donthi, a journalist from Caravan Magazine has done several interviews, (published in 2016) (http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/the-collaborator-mufti-mohammedsayeed). Quoting Yusuf Jameel, a senior Kashmiri journalist, and Gulam Hassan Mir (one of 1984 defectors and later a co-founder of PDP, Mufti’s political outfit), Donthi says ‘Congress was behind the anti-Pandit riots because they had problems with GM Shah and wanted to get rid of him. An atmosphere of insecurity was created against Kashmiri Pandits. Mufti was behind it, ”!. Rajiv Gandhi tried to satiate Mufti’s political ambitions by making him a Union Minister in 1986 but Mufti left Congress in 1987 to join the VP Singh’s outfit Jan Morcha; he became Home Minister of India in December 1989. It was under his charge of this vital ministry that:

  • Terrorists came to surface in Kashmir valley, openly displaying guns
  • A kidnapping of his daughter Rubaiya Saeed was stage-managed (December 8, 1989) to free 5 big-time terrorists
  • Mass exodus of minority Pandit community took place in January 1990. By March 1990, over 32 KPs were gunned down to send a chilling message to the minority community – ‘Ralyv, Chaliv ya Galiyv’, loosly translated to ‘Convert to Islam or run away or get ready to be killed’! Most chose to flee.
  • Mr Jagmohan was brought back as Governor of J&K. Today Mufti’s daughter and her cohorts are shouting from rooftops that Jagmohan was a BJP and RSS man and he ensured KPs migrated en-mass from Kashmir.

Mufti has been an opportunistic politician. He re-joined Congress once VP Singh lost power but left again in 1999 to set up Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was CM of J&K twice for a period of 4 yrs and did much to facilitate and fan the Muslim separatist sentiment in Kashmir. He obviously did NOTHING to mitigate problems of the displaced KP migrants from Kashmir valley. In the words of, Kashmir’s successionist Frankenstein Syed Ali Geelani,” Mufti is a master in sugar coating poison and offering it as a remedy.”

2. Farooq Abdullah, the flamboyant Disco King of Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah has been a major player in J&K ever since he was anointed as heir apparent by his father, in August 1981. His only qualification, obviously, was that he was the son of Sheikh Abdullah. After his father's death in 1982, Farooq Abdullah became the chief minister. His cavalier approach towards his responsibilities is said to have alarmed Mrs Gandhi and she sent Mr Jagmohan Malhotra, IAS, a strong administrator known to her personally, as Governor in April 1984 to advise Farooq and to keep a check on his behaviour – a move he did not appreciate. Since 1983, Farooq has had a strange love-hate relationship with Congress; he wore the mantle of Chief Minister several times (total tenure of over 10 years), often with help of Congress. He also served as a member of Indian Parliament and as Minister at the Centre several times. While a list of his administrative failures is long, in the present context, his major faults are:

  • Massive rigging of Elections in 1987: Every political commentator has enumerated the fraudulent elections of 1987 as the turning point in Kashmir politics. Both Congress and Farooq were equally responsible. The fraud forced people involved in electoral process to revolt. The MUF candidate from Amira Kadal, Mohammad Yousuf Shah, was not only falsely implicated in the allegedly rigged elections, but was also imprisoned, which led to his transformation as Syed Salahuddin, the chief of the dreaded Hizb-ul-Mujahedin, based in POK. His Election Agent, Yasin Malik and other associates -Abdul Hamid Shaikh, Ashfaq Majid Wani, Javed Ahmed Mir formed the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and went to Pakistan for training and arms. No matter what Farooq Abdullah says now, he just can’t absolve himself of the responsibility of manipulating the election results – he was the CM before, during and after the elections!
  • Abdicating Responsibility when things got tough: Farooq has to bear the cross of abject administrative failure in the 1986-1990 period. His administration was responsible for the emergence of home-grown terrorists in Kashmir and ensuring their writ became larger than law. Besides the targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandit leaders (September 1989 onwards), the stage-managed drama of Rubaiya Saeed’s alleged kidnapping happened right under his nose. Notices/ advertisements appeared in local newspapers asking KPs to leave; notices were pasted on public places and doors of KP houses to leave or face death but his administration was blind to these facts. The moment he learnt that Jagmohan was returning as Governor, he abdicated his responsibilities, left his state on fire and bolted to the safe environments of UK.
  • Failure to make amends: Farooq again ruled J&K for 6 yrs, post 1990 trauma – 1996 to 2002. His son Omar ruled J&K as CM for another 6 years (2009-2015). For 12 years, NOTHING was done to the criminals responsible for genocide of hapless KP community - no cases were registered, no investigations done; they just feathered their nests and fanned anti-India rhetoric in the valley.
  • Flamboyance and Irresponsible for Ever: That, of course, is so typical of the man. At ‘Bisco School’, Srinagar, he was thrown out of his class by Pt Sat Lal Razdan, his teacher, even while his father was the Prime Minister of J&K! He could not clear his 5-year medical degree exam at Jaipur for 8 years and had to be passed on ‘political grounds’, after a specific intervention by Nehru. Farooq travelled to England after getting his medical degree where he married a British Nurse! He showed little interest in Kashmir politics till his father convinced him to return to J&K politics in 1977. Farooq only liked good things in life, particularly the perks of office without the associated responsibilities of public life. He has always been a ‘glamour boy’ treated with kid gloves by Govt of India, particularly Congress and our so called ‘free, secular and liberal’ media.

image

This 1974 picture shows Farooq enjoying ‘wazwan’ with JKLF Patron, Maqbool Bhat and Amanullah Khan, founder of JKLF at Mirpur (POK). He had no ‘official’ position but preferred to hobnob with anti-India forces. During his stint as CM of J&K, he was known for his ‘escapades’ with Bollywood starlets, including carrying Shabana Azmi to Gulmarg on his bike! Like his father, he is perfectly capable of saying one thing in Delhi and exactly its opposite in Srinagar! As reported by the India Today Magazine in 1986, “Farooq's reputation as chief minister was not the best. As one government insider put it: "He was like a little boy with a toy." He made impetuous decisions, left in the middle of sensitive cabinet meetings for private business”.

3. Jagmohan Malhotra: Today, Muslim apologists and ‘liberal, secular’ press are throwing the blame of KP migration on Mr Jagmohan Malhotra, then Governor of the J&K state. Nothing could be farther from truth. It is conveniently forgotten that:

  • As Governor, Mr Jagmohan served TWO stints in J&K: 1984 to 1989 (+ 5 yrs) and for 127 days in 1990.
  • In 1984 he was specifically brought in as Governor of J&K by Mrs Indira Gandhi to keep an eye on the wayward Farooq Abdullah whose poor control on administration was causing her concern. Jagmohan had the reputation of being a tough administrator and a ‘no-nonsense’ person. So good was his impact on administration that Farooq Abdullah himself acknowledged in a public rally in 1986 that given a choice, people, including his own family members would vote for Jagmohan rather than for him or Rajiv Gandhi. A report published in India Today Magazine in 1986 says,” The political uncertainty in Jammu & Kashmir is at a crucial stage. Negotiations between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah still continue, and the power blocs are getting restive. And Governor Jagmohan's popularity makes him a tough act to follow’. So much for the anti-Kashmiri taint being thrown at Mr Jagmohan!
  • In 1990, he was brought in as Governor by Mufti Saeed, then Home Minister of India. He reached Srinagar AFTER the tumultuous events of night of January 19, 1990. Veteran Kashmiri journalist Mr GM Sofi has recorded in an interview that, “One has to appreciate the January 1990 situation in the Valley. Jagmohan stayed in Jammu for one night and arrived in Srinagar Raj Bhavan the next day. He offered a cup of tea to me but there was nobody to bring one. I saw him go towards the kitchen three times; presumably, he made the tea himself. There was no administration worth the name anywhere in the state, I mean in the Valley. The police stations all over the Valley were centres of operation for the militants. Jagmohan could not have done anything”.

History shall judge Mufti and Farooq very harshly as people, who, for personal power and pelf, turned Kashmir Valley into hell, particularly for the Kashmiri Pandits! The movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ has blown the lid off the gutter – exposing the rot, the carefully cultivated images of political powers, the dirty role of media in hiding a tragedy of this magnitude. Satyamev Jayete!

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    • Suniel Kumar Dhar

      The article written by Mr.Sanjeev Munshi is an eye opener for those who always negate the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus ! The writer through his analytical writing has delt with all aspects which triggered the killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley and culminated in mass exodus of Kashmiri  Hindus in1990. The Genocide of Kashmiri Pandits/ Hindus is a reality and this truth can not be overshadowed by the ideology of those leftists and radicalised forces.

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