A Web of Lies to Discredit the Kashmir Story

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It happens but rarely that a creative work of art or a work of fiction fires the imagination of an entire nation. I recall in 1987-88, entire India got hooked to the TV Serial Ramayan, creating unprecedented viewership records. Story of the serial was known to most Indians and yet, the TV serial caught the imagination of ALL age groups and the whole country was talking about it! On March 11, 2022 a similar miracle unfolded in Indian cinema with the launch of a movie – The Kashmir Files. This movie appears to have caught the imagination of a very large segment of population in India (and abroad) because of its content – a depiction of atrocities committed on a minority community in the name of Islam that ultimately led to the uprooting of almost half a million Kashmiri Pandits from the land of their origin. Students of the art and craft of cinema may find hundreds of technical faults in the movie yet its success can be attributed to just one strength – it is based on true events, on harsh, dark reality. People, on watching the movie felt shocked, rattled and even unnerved. There was disbelief on faces when people came out of the theatres, with wet faces and swollen eyes. In moments reminiscent of what happened in Germany in 1945 after details about the horrors of Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau (and others) became known - the German public at large had just one refrain -,” We did not know”! Similar sounds emanated from a majority of Indians – “the tragedy of genocide of Kashmiri Hindus was kept under wraps for 32 years and we were unaware”! Media, the supposed watchdog in a civil, democratic, society just ignored the story and even portrayed a counter narrative funded by vested interests. Pandits were too miniscule in numbers to be of any political (read vote bank) importance. They did not have powerful financial and political support like the Jews had in the twentieth century!

Now that one person has blown the lid off the rot (by making this film), exposing the raw underbelly, the hyenas responsible for the misery have started running for cover, gnashing their teeth in impotent anger, in despair, disdain and disarray, trying to spin a web of fake narratives to discredit the movie and its content. It is interesting to note that the makers of the movie have repeatedly announced that they are willing to show the original video interviews with victims and their families, threatening letters received by them, posters pasted on their doors and walls and advertisements placed in local vernacular newspapers as proof of authenticity. Mr Agnihotri has openly challenged media critics in BBC, Al Jazeera, Time, Economist etc to point out one half-truth or falsification shown in the movie. However, it is difficult for the agenda driven peddlers of half truths and slanted versions of events in the media to recant and start worshipping truth – as disciples of Lucifer they would rather go with Goebbels and Momus.

Factsheet: The principal characters responsible for today’s mess in Kashmir Valley are:

  • Shiekh Abdullah and his progeny that gave J&K 3 Chief Ministers since 1947. In particular Farooq Abdullah though his father and his cohorts had laid the foundation well.
  • Mufti Saeed, the Machiavellian political animal who created communal unrest in 1986, destabilized National Conference Govts while in Congress and mishandled the political mess he helped create since 1983. His daughter Mehbooba is now openly supporting secessionist propaganda.
  • Four generations of Nehru-Gandhi Family that ‘managed’ J&K politics from Delhi for decades, made appeasement of Kashmiri leaders their declared policy and fostered hatred for India through their short-sighted policies.

I have dealt with the follies of each of these principal characters at length in two separate write ups. Here I wish to put to debunk some of the frequently raised objections to the Kashmiri Pandit genocide theory.

  • More Muslims have died in Kashmir violence since 1990 than Kashmiri Pandits
  • Muslim families also migrated from Kashmir in 1990s
  • Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley in 1990s of their own accord
  • Kashmiri Pandits were rich and had monopolized jobs in the valley

Let us view each of these theories through the prism of facts:

  • More Muslims have died in Kashmir violence since 1990 than Kashmiri Pandits: This, of course, is a fact, as per data. Govt figures reveal that between 217 – 228 Kashmiri Pandits were killed in the aftermath of an armed socio-political insurgency in Kashmir valley between 1988 and 1991. In comparison, about 1600 people of ‘other faiths’, mostly Muslim too were killed over the last three decades. This is an Orwellian statement, manufactured by devious mindsets. What the data does not say is:
    • The death numbers include only people where an official FIR was lodged by police. It does not include people kidnapped and killed by Muslim terrorists for which no FIR was registered.

    • The numbers do not include hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits who died of heat stroke in their tents in refugee camps of Jammu during the summer of 1990. I am an unfortunate witness to death of 24 senior citizens in one single day, June 24, 1990 in the Emergency Ward of SMGS Hospital, Jammu, all due to heat stroke. I was amongst volunteers bringing these unfortunate victims to the hospital and remember shouting at Mr Parvez Divan, then District Commissioner of Jammu, when he visited the Emergency Ward; later, huge slabs of ice were brought and fans arranged so that patients with body temperatures between 106-112 degrees could get some relief. These deaths, obviously, are not counted, nor are the deaths due to snake and scorpion bites – the tents were pitched in the outskirts of Jammu City, in rough, fallow land. The summer of 1990 exposed KPs to the harsh summer of Jammu with temperatures going up to 42-45 degrees C. For people born and brought up in the salubrious climate of Kashmir, this was an experience akin to hell as they were living in tents, without any electricity.

    • These numbers do not include people who died of stress of migration, stress of having been reduced to penury, deaths due to lack of medical facilities, deaths due to high incidence of BP, diabetes and depression in migrant population. There are at least 23 Research Papers published in well-known Medical Research journals that have established the impact of migration on a high percentage of adult population amongst Kashmiri Pandit population living in Refugee Camps of Jammu. These papers talk about high incidence of dementia and psychiatric morbidity, enhanced incidence of High Blood Pressure, Diabetes Mellitus, gynaecological disorders etc amongst KP migrants.

    • One very important fact the numbers do not reveal is that NOT ONE MUSLIM DIED DUE TO RIOTING BY KASHMIRI PANDITS or in gunfire by Kashmiri Pandits. Muslims have died while participating in acts of violence and arson (Gawkadal firing, for example), violating curfew orders, acts of stone throwing on security forces, in cross firing between Security Forces and terrorists, in bomb blasts and grenade attacks by terrorists. In fact, one of the blames being laid on KPs is that they never rose in protest or revolted! That they were peaceful, peace loving citizens with full faith in law is being held against them!

  • Muslims too migrated from Kashmir: Very true, but how many and for how long? A miniscule minority of Muslims from the valley left Kashmir temporarily due to the atmosphere of violence in 1990s. Those who could afford to, did it; those who were on the hit list of terrorists, did; those who were fed up with violence, did it. Most of them, however, have returned to their homes over the last 30 years. In fact, several of them have established businesses in other cities as well - places as far away as Goa, Bangalore and Cochin among other cities. Jammu city has hundreds of shops owned and operated by Kashmiri Muslims, selling Kashmiri shawls, handicrafts and other Kashmiri wares. Most of the affluent families sent their children to cities like Delhi, Pune, Bangalore etc ostensibly for better education but in reality to keep them away from getting sucked into the quagmire of terrorism. Kashmiri Pandits tried to return several times, particularly in rural areas but every single attempt was ruthlessly crushed by Islamic merchants of death (Sangrampora- 1997, Wandhama -1998, Chattisingpora-2000, Nandimarg- 2002 massacres, to name a few). It is important to note that targeted killing of minority Hindus sends a chilling message to the entire community. Sarpanch Ajay Bharti was killed in Lukbhavan (Anantnag) on June 8, 2020, BJP leader Rakesh Pandita was killed in Tral (June 21), Mr ML Bindroo, a noted Chemist was killed in October 21. Bal Kishen Bhatt was shot at in Chotigam, Shopian on April 4, 2022. As his brother Anil Bhat told an interviewer,” No one wants Hindus to live in Kashmir. People just want to grab our property.” Anil said that people have not even left our cremation grounds – they have made houses on those too!
     

  • Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir of their own accord: Apologists and secularists, both in Kashmir and in mainstream Indian media have tried to create this narrative to hide the misdeeds of Islamist terrorists. Enough evidence exists as to how KPs were coerced to leave Kashmir through:

    • Targeted killings of important leaders to send a chilling message to entire community began from September 1989. Pt Tikalal Taploo, Justice NK Ganjoo, Pt Prem Nath Bhat of Anantnag, Satish Tickoo, Pt Lassa Kaul (Director Doordarshan), Pt Sarvanand Premi, noted poet were among many killed.

    • On 4 January 1990, Srinagar-based newspaper Aftab contained a message, threatening all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately, sourcing it to the militant organization Hizbul Mujahideen. These are on record.

    • Another Srinagar based newspaper named Al-safa republished the same warning. The newspapers did not claim ownership of the statement and subsequently issued a clarification but the damage was done.

    • Walls were pasted with posters with threatening messages to all Kashmiris to strictly follow Islamic rules] which included abidance by the Islamic dress code, a prohibition on alcohol, cinemas, and strict restrictions on women.

    • Unknown masked men with Kalashnikovs forced people to reset their time to Pakistan Standard Time.

    • Offices buildings, shops, and establishments were coloured green as a sign of Islamic rule.

    • Shops, factories, temples and homes of Kashmiri Hindus were burned or destroyed. Threatening posters were put on doors of Hindus asking them to leave Kashmir immediately. Individual letters too were sent.

    • During the middle of the night of 18 and 19 January, a blackout took place in the Kashmir Valley where electricity was cut except in mosques which broadcast divisive and inflammatory messages, asking for a purge of Kashmiri Hindus. The slogan,” Raliv, Chaliyv ya Galiv” was repeatedly broadcast throughout the fateful night.

image
Images of letters received by Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 shared by Mr Agnihotri on internet
 

  • That Kashmiri Pandits were rich and had monopolized jobs: This is, of course, the vilest of prepositions, invented by the foul mind of an agenda driven ‘journalist’ Barkha Dutt. She no doubt was mouthing what was fed to her, besides wazwan’, by her Muslim benefactors (she married two of them at different times, though she tries to keep that ‘off the record’). She propounded a vile narrative about Kashmiri Pandits in a report,” “Today hapless victims, they were once privileged elites of the valley. They may have been a minority but at that time, they had monopolised government jobs, plum postings, and other such social benefits…In fact, the sharp economic disparity between the Pandits and the poor Muslim majority was one of the earliest reasons for popular discontent in the state,”. When confronted with facts, her laconic response was,” I was a ‘cub-reporter’ then”. Of course, she never apologised for her factually wrong report! Nobody pointed out to her that:
    • 80% jobs in J&K were officially reserved for Muslims

    • Out of turn promotions for Muslims were legalized by Shiekh Abdullah in 1950s

    • The relative economic affluence of the Hindu community was mostly because they had invested in education, thus ending up with good jobs even in private sector.

The Kashmir Files has caused a catharsis for the Kashmiri Pandit community. Old wounds have been re-opened. But the movie has certainly created a churn in our society. It has placed a mirror before our so called ‘independent’ media, the self-styled liberals in academicia, before the administration that proved spineless in 1990, before our Police force that had to face the bullet but were controlled by Janus-faced politicians. It has put a big question mark on the ‘loyalty towards’ index for India of some of the big-time political animals like Farooq Abdullah. It has brought into discussion lack of political foresight and basic administrative failures of people who adorned important positions in India – be it be Rajiv Gandhi or VP Singh or IK Gujral, not to speak of Mufti Saeed who once was the Home Minister of India! Above all, it has created an alert for all Indians – India has always been defeated by its own sons, be it Raja Ambi of Taxila or King Jaichand of Kannauj. Ahmad Shah Abdali was able to attack India because he had the support of three Indian allies - the Rohillas, Afghans of the Doab region, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. Had Punjab not remained quiet under the British, the First War of Independence might have produced a very different result! Rest is history. As George Santayana, the Spanish -American philosopher is reported to have said,” “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Satyamev Jayate!

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    • Suniel Kumar Dhar

      Nice blog by Mr Sanjeev Munshi ! As always Mr. Munshi has opened his heart and written a very interesting and informative article, elaborating the true facts relating to ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits 

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