The plight of Kashmiri Pandits, the world wants to ignore

Kashmiri Pandits.jpgThe world generally knows Kashmir as a place that turned from beautiful to violent; from tourist to a terrorist supporting state. In all these hue and cry, the world, including Govt. authorities in India and majority of Hindus continue to ignore the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. The Kashmiri Pandits (also known as Kashmiri Brahmins) are a Saraswat Brahmin community from the Kashmir Valley. Their existence in Kashmir and India dates back to 5 thousand years. Their ancestors of the present day Kashmiri Pandits have undergone the worst of terror by invading Islamic rulers and looters since 13th century BCE. Gradually, through the barbaric rule of the invading Islamic rulers, as other parts of India, Kashmiri Pandits too had to suffer loot, carnage, rapes and conversion to Islam. Kashmiri Pandits, most of the credit of the goodness that we could see or hear about Kashmir until the Islamic militancy began during the partition of India, were gradually reduced to a minority in the valley. Unfortunately, the militants and their supporters who now are a majority in the valley weren’t satisfied with that. Unfortunate! Isn’t it? It’s very difficult to understand that a community that faces prosecution and ill-treatment from their own governments or leaders from Syria, to many African nations till Pakistan, does not even understand the pain that was inflicted on the Kashmiri Pandits. However, it’s a proud thing for the Hindus and humanity that despite the mistreatment and the ignorance the world showed towards them, not even a single person turned into militancy or resorted to any kind of violence.

Here’s the excerpt from the Wikipedia page that describes the injustice inflicted on them:

They began to leave in much greater numbers in the 1990s during the eruption of militancy, following persecution and threats by radical Islamists and militants. The events of 19 January 1990 were particularly vicious. On that day, mosques issued declarations that the Kashmiri Pandits were Kafirs and that the males had to leave Kashmir, convert to Islam or be killed. Those who chose to the first of these were told to leave their women behind. The Kashmiri Muslims were instructed to identify Pandit homes so they could be systematically targeted for conversion or killing.

I am wondering how a pious place such as Mosque was used to issue threats to humans- Innocent Humans and our Muslim brothers ignored that. I seriously feel they should have done something about it. Kashmiri Pandits were reduced to just 5% of the total population. Why couldn’t they be accepted in the society?

According to a number of authors, approximately 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left the valley during the 1990s. Other authors have suggested a higher figure for the exodus, ranging from the entire population of over 150,000 to 190,000 of a total Pandit population of 200,000, to a number as high as 800,000. The nature of the planned exodus has remain controversial, with the involvement of then Governor Jagmohan in organizing a clandestine exodus been a subject of controversy. Many of the refugee Kashmiri Pandits have been living in abject conditions in refugee camps of Jammu. The government has reported on the terrorist threats to Pandits still living in the Kashmir region.

Some Hindus across India tried to help the Pandits. Shiv Sena leader, Bal Saheb Thackeray from Maharashtra got seats reserved in engineering colleges for the children of these Pandits. He was one of the first persons to help them after which Punjab also followed suit.
In 2009, Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to recognize 14 September 2007, as Martyrs Day to acknowledge ethnic cleansing and campaigns of terror inflicted on non-Muslim minorities of Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists seeking to establish an Islamic state.
Unfortunately, it’s over 30 years now but we have not done enough to ensure the community gets an equally respectful life in the country of their origin. It’s painful that people crying of prosecution by governments resorted to such atrocities towards people who have been historically non-violent. People who now stand for justice for Kashmir should stand for the justice of the people who have been the major, oldest, inclusive and the most non-violent people- Kashmiri Pandits. You would hardly find any content that speaks about the Kashmiri Pandit exodus, except those on Wikipedia. This may have intentionally done, probably, to avoid any public outrage. Here’s one of the very few that I found online.

CNN IBN Report- Video

Al Jazeera Report- Video


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