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Banquo’s Ghost Returns to Haunt the Powerful

Shakespeare, the master story teller, in his drama Macbeth has beautifully depicted how overvaulting ambition of a ‘hero’ turns him into a killer and how he meets his retribution. The ‘ghost’ of the man he killed ‘returns’ to haunt him. We are seeing a repeat of the drama unfolding in India currently as the movie The Kashmir Files has revived several ghosts who are suddenly asking uncomfortable questions of powerful people! It is unnerving to note that the ‘liberal brigade’ in the media, the ‘intellectuals’ of civil society, progressive academicia in our universities and self-proclaimed champions of liberty and human rights, particularly, the legal eagles who rush to file PILs in the Supreme Court for defending murderers and killers, that entire clique has maintained a studied silence over the genocide of a minority community in Kashmir for the last three decades! It is as if nothing unusual had happened! Their silence is not only deafening but also rips the masks of ‘skewed secularism’ from their agenda marked faces!

Ever since the lid got blown on 11th March 2022 with release of the movie The Kashmir Files, this brigade has been coming out in defence of the very people responsible for this genocide, creating new narratives. Media is full of ingenious ‘explanations’ being laid out to exonerate the principal characters, of justifications and blame appropriations. Exotic perfumes are being used to hide the stench of blood on the hands of the political class, media and administration but as Shakespear wrote in Macbeth,” 'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” The ghosts are asking for retribution, for explanations and, for identification of those responsible.

The ‘explanatory, justification and whitewash’ theories doing round in media are:

  • Jagmohan Malhotra, Governor of J&K in 1990 for 127 days (January 19 – May 26) encouraged Kashmiri Pandits to migrate from Kashmir, assuring them of a safe return after a few weeks. He was a BJP and RSS agent.
  • Congress (INC) that ruled at the Centre for forty out of 43 years in the era before KP Exodus (1947-1990) and controlled J&K politics through remote control, has impeccable ‘secular’ credentials and has practically no hand in the entire shameful episode.
  • Abdullah Family that ruled J&K for twenty-two years (three Prime/Chief Ministers) are not responsible for what happened. That intemperate clown Farooq has been shuttling from one TV channel to another, from one media house to another, selling his innocence theory to gullible audiences, egged on by ‘ friendly’ and ‘sold out’ media anchors!
  • Kashmiri Pandits sold their properties to Muslim neighbours or to the local toughs ‘of their own accord’, without any coercion.

It would be interesting to examine these theories in the harsh light of facts.

Painting Jagmohan as the villain: This theory was put out by ‘apologists’ as soon as they discovered that Ethnic Cleansing of Kashmir has given the Muslim community a big black eye in international media and was a dark spot on the Azadi slogan! Bare facts first:

  1. Jagmohan was an Administrative Services officer (IAS), considered close to Mrs Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter and Congress boss. He was first brought to J&K as Governor in 1984 by Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi after reports about Farooq Abdullah’s lack of seriousness towards his position reached her.
  2. Such was the impact of Jagmohan’s handling of administration in J&K during the Governor’s rule in 1986 that the dandy Farookh Abdullah, on November 7, 1986, at the time of his swearing-in-ceremony, in a public speech for which the records exist, said: “Governor Sahib, we shall need you very badly. It is, indeed, amazing that such remarkable work could be done by you in a short time through an imbecile and faction-ridden bureaucracy. If today three ballot boxes are kept – one for the National Conference, one for the Congress and one for you, your ballot box would be full while the other two ballot boxes would be empty”. It is this person Jagmohan who is being blamed for plight of Kashmir and painted as Halaku by Farooq.
  3. Jagmohan was brought in as Governor in 1990 by Home Minister Mufti Saeed, one of the principal actors responsible for political mess in Kashmir. Jagmohan was brought in for his administrative acumen and knowledge of Kashmir affairs, given his almost 6 years of previous experience as Governor.
  4. He was brought in after the administrative failures of Farooq Abdullah govt got exposed; targeted killing of minority KP leaders started from September 1989, Home Minister Mufti’s daughter Rubaiya Saeed was kidnapped on December 8, 1989 and 5 big-time terrorists were released by Farooq Govt in exchange for Ms Saeed.
  5. Seventy Kashmiri terrorists from the first batch of Pakistan ISI Trained Kashmiri terror-mongers, arrested by J&K Police, were released by the Farooq Govt in 1989. Dr S. P. Vaid (DGP of J&K Police from December 2016 to Sept 2018) has recently mentioned details, including names of released terrorists! Jagmohan wrote to Rajiv Gandhi about this in April 1990!
  6. Jagmohan reached Jammu on the evening of January 19, 1990. He could reach Srinagar only on January 21, 1990. Whatever happened in Kashmir valley between January 18 and January 22, 1990 just can’t be attributed to Jagmohan.
  7. In a very revealing interview (1997) mentioned in Omkar Razdan’s book “The Trauma of Kashmir-The Untold Reality” (published 1999), seasoned journalist Ghulam Mohammad Sofi, the famous Editor of Srinagar Times (leading Urdu Newspaper of Kashmir), has revealed that blaming Jagmohan for encouraging KP migration is a lie. It is a part of systematic propaganda. The Pandit flight from the Valley was the sequel to a plan hatched well in advance from the state. It had nothing to do with Jagmohan. Sofi adds,” The situation was too bad for Jagmohan when he assumed office (1990). Mr Rajiv Gandhi (not prime minister then) came for an overnight visit. Both I and Jagmohan were present in the Centaur Hotel (Srinagar). Rajiv Gandhi said, “Kashmir is slipping away from us”. Such was the situation for Jagmohan. Even Mr M.L. Fotedar and the then Dy. Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal, were accompanying Rajiv Gandhi when he said so”.
  8. Mr Sofi told the interviewer, “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. Nearly 32,000 Kashmiri Pandits’ houses have been burnt since 1991. Is there Jagmohan’s hand in this too? People like you (interviewer, a Kashmiri Pandit), even in 1997, need the courage to come to the Valley. Otherwise, it is still not safe here. Look what happened in Sangrampura in March 1997 when seven Pandits were mercilessly gunned down”.
  9. Mr Jagmohan has documented his travails in his book,’ My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir’; all facts about his tenure as Governor are documented therein. Neither Congress, nor Abdullahs or the Mufti Family have dared to challenge Mr Jagmohan’s version of facts till date in a court of law, public utterances notwithstanding.
  10. Mr Jagmohan’s detailed open letter addressed to Mr Rajiv Gandhi dt April 21, 1990 has enumerated all the facts about the repeated stabs an imbecile Farooq inflicted on the body of India. In an interview/ statement published in The Times of India of February 7, 1991, Farooq Abdullah openly admitted, “I directed my partymen to lie low, go across the border, get training in arms handling; do anything but not get caught by Jagmohan?”

History shall one day recognize the role Mr Jagmohan played in defeating the plans of Pakistan and their well-wishers in India to snatch Kashmir from India through an armed insurgency.

Sins of Congress – 1947 till date: History of the sins committed by Congress in Kashmir starts well before political independence was granted to India by the British in 1947. Nehru’s ancestor Raj Narayan Kaul is believed to have migrated from Kashmir valley in 1716 AD to Delhi though they later settled down at Allahabad (Prayag). Nehru was somehow taken in by the Muslim Conference Leader from Kashmir, Shiekh Abdullah when they met for the first time in 1937. Under the influence of Nehru, Shiekh is said to have renamed his party to National Conference in 1939, to give it a more ‘secular’ façade! The bonhomie between Nehru and Shiekh Abdullah continued life long – their families remained closely connected! In 1946, when Abdullah was arrested for launching Quit Kashmir movement against Maharaja, Nehru tried to enter the Kingdom of J&K through the Kohala (Muzaffarabad) on July 20, 1946, defying orders prohibiting his entry into the state. His car tyre was punctured by the police –an enraged Nehru is said to have tried to physically assault the sentry. He was arrested and kept in a government guest house at Domel. Nehru never forgave the Maharaja for this insult and went out of his way to humiliate Maharaja Hari Singh, particularly at the time of signing of the Document of Accession in October 1947. Maharaja Hari Singh had merged the state with India without any condition — none could have been attached as conditional accession was not warranted by the 1947 Act of Independence passed by the British Parliament. The Nehru-led government in Delhi, probably under the influence of Governor General Lord Mountbatten or Abdullah, did not accept the accession in full measure — it was accepted on the condition that the final accession would be decided by the people of Jammu & Kashmir by plebiscite. At the behest of Abdullah, Maharaja was banished from his state on June 20, 1949. 

Once Shiekh Abdullah became the absolute head of the state, his autocratic tendencies came to the fore. In the Sept-October 1951 elections for the Constituent Assembly of J&K, his true face as a ‘democrat’ was revealed - National Conference won all the 75 seats because nominations of all rival candidates were summarily rejected. PM Nehru was ‘blinded’ by his ‘special relationship’ with Abdullah till he was shown ‘proof’ of Abdullah’s shenanigans with Pakistan, US and the British. Shiekh was unceremoniously dismissed as Prime Minister on August 8, 1953 and replaced by his deputy GM Bakshi. The 1951 elections 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). J&K saw several political changes in the 1953-1975 period – Congress became the dominant political force in J&K under GM Sadiq and continued to rule till suddenly Mrs Gandhi decided to revive Shiekh Abdullah in 1975! He was again anointed CM. The 1975-1986 period saw a game of cat and mouse played between the Gandhis’ and the Abdullahs. Congress used Mufti Saeed as the cat’s paw to destabilize National Conference govts, cause communal riots and encourage religious polarization. Narendra Sehgal, in his book Converted Kashmir – Memorial of Mistakes (1994, Utpal Publications) has chronicled events in detail. Governor Jagmohan’s Magnum Opus My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir (1991) has full details about how the events unfolded, the betrayals and administrative failures of Central & State Govts, about how religion was encouraged to overpower constitution. Rajiv Gandhi in particular comes across as a weak, whimsical politician who allowed Farooq to arm twist him – both were childhood buddies after all! Rajiv is said to have offered Lok Sabha seat to Jagmohan in 1989 after he resigned and later, to satisfy Abdullah, labelled Jagmohan as Anti-Muslim. Jagmohan has listed the state of affairs under Abdullah in J&K as follows:

  1. 1600 violent incidents, including 351 bomb blasts had taken place in eleven months of 1989.
  2. Between January 1 and January 19, 1990, there were as many as 319 violent acts – 21 armed attacks, 114 bomb blasts, 112 arsons, and 72 incidents of mob violence.
  3. Srinagar Deputy Commissioner flatly refused to sign the warrant of detention for Shabir Ahmed Shah in September 1989, even when IB reports were produced
  4. Anantnag Deputy Commissioner adopted the same attitude.
  5. The Advocate-General did not appear before the Court to represent the state case. He tried to pass on the responsibility to the Additional Advocate General and the Government council. They, too, did not appear.
  6. The notorious self-admitted killer of over 20 Kashmiri Pandits, Bitta Karate got bail in 2006 because the prosecution was not interested in pursuing the case, as mentioned by the Judge, ND Wani on the bail order. Mr Gulam Nabi Azad of Congress was the CM of J&K and Congress was in power at the Centre as well (Chidambaram was Law Minister). No attempt was made to oppose the release in a higher court. So much for the sins of Congress.

That Kashmiri Pandits willingly sold their properties to Muslims: As attempts to nullify deeds of properties sold in distress by migrant KPs have started, this narrative is being built. It has to be understood that:

  1. Post exodus, people were reduced to penury. They needed money to restart businesses. My father agreed to sell our ancestral house in Budhgir, Alikadal for a pittance because one of the cousins, a stakeholder, wanted money to restart his business, having left his ransacked shop in Rainawari, Srinagar in 1990.
  2. A close relative had to sell his palatial house in upmarket Jawahar Nagar because he needed money to sustain. He was contractor but could not get ANY WORK for two years.
  3. People had to meet social obligations like marrying off children or educating children.
  4. People saw no hope of return to the valley in near future. Naturally, they wanted to get whatever price was offered. And their neighbours came in for the kill, offering a fraction of the normal market value.

As the lid has been blown off the story kept under wraps for 32 years, people have started coming out with stories.

  1. Victims have started speaking and narrating their side of the story.
  2. Disgruntled dissidents have started revealing inside stories of intrigues, of betrayals, of selling their souls to the devil. An ex-militant, Saifullah Farooq on camera, has named politicians as well as militants like Yasin Malik etc for their horrible double cross games.


It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words! Here we find, Farooq Abdullah patting Yasin Malik, Chairman of the JKLF (the dreaded terrorist organization), on August27, 2006. Yasin Malik has admitted on camera (interview to BBC) that he was personally responsible for killing of several innocent Kashmiri Pandits and four Indian Airforce Officers in January 1990! He has never been tried in a court of law for last 32 years, of course!

I believe Time shall deal with these double crossers, these wolves masquerading as innocent sheep in a befitting manner. Yes, two generations of our community passed away in the last 32 years. We have lost much, including our habitat. We have, however not lost hope. The post 1990 generation shall keep the flag high. 2022 is proof of our resurgence and revival!


    • Suniel Kumar Dhar

      Comprehensive and interesting article relating to the reasons perpetuating terrorism in Kashmir and genocide of Kashmiri Pandit Community from the Valley by Mr.Sanjeev Munshi !


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