Panun Kashmir be carved

he Kashmiri Pandit exodus in 1989-1990 has been widely discussed and elaborated with official statistical evidence. Being one of the victims myself, the stories of massacres and brutal rape and inhuman torture of women and children purely on religious grounds have often been retold to the world by those of us fortunate to be alive. It is Pakistan that blatantly sponsored the terrorism in the Valley. The then governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Jagmohan, wrote a detailed letter to the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, on the alarming signals, but to no avail. The barbarous murder of thousands of Hindus in Kashmir marked their seventh agonizing mass exodus from the Valley. It also marked the final knock down of ethnic ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Hindus reducing their population from 10% in 1947 to fewer than 5% in 1989 and to less than 1% today.

It is not only unfortunate but deliberate and reckless on the part of several governments and the media to neglect the plight of our brethren who continue to spend their lives in extreme deprivation in refugee camps. What is worse, the “Kashmiri cause” has been associated with the plight of the Kashmiri Muslim youth. Unfortunately our own Government has fallen into the trap of Pakistan’s claim that for lasting peace and stability in the region, Kashmir issue should be resolved according to aspirations of Kashmiri people. And when they talk about Kashmiri people they only talk about Kashmiri Muslims living in the valley from district Anantnag in South to Districts Kupwara and Baramula in the North. Our own government is perhaps deliberately ignoring the aspirations of Kashmiri Hindus in Jammu & Kashmir State. Let us not forget the fact that there is a religious element involved in the equation. Why should Kashmiri Hindus be forced to be subservient to the wishes of the majority community who were responsible for their forced exodus in the first place?

The Supreme Court of India has been compelled to as the J&K government as to what it has done for the alienated Kashmiri Pandit. No one will deny that the Kashmiri Pandits are living in deplorable conditions in the refugee camps. The most wretched feeling of indignation due to joblessness could get diluted if one at least enjoyed the surroundings of one’s home. But thousands of properties that lawfully belonged to the law-abiding Kashmiri Hindus have been illegally occupied, or sold. In this situation, it is only fair that interlocutors must highlight to the government and media channels that the “Kashmiri Pandit cause” is an equally critical portion of the “Kashmiri cause”.

In view of the long-standing neglect by the J&K government and inertia by the Central Governments, it is our recommendation that Kashmir valley must be geographically bifurcated where the territories demanded by Panun Kashmir must be carved out for Kashmiri Hindus. Notions of justice require that the Kashmiri Hindus be given back their homes and surroundings. And this can only happen if a separate territory is earmarked for them out of the valley which could be governed by self-government. Panun Kashmir must be a vital part of any steps recommended by the interlocutors. Let the words translate into action.
*Engineer by training and an entrepreneur by profession, Deepak Ganju is the Managing Editor of the Monthly on-line Shehjar magazine, a leading publication reaching over ten thousand members. This now-very-popular magazine covers the entire spectrum of Kashmir--its politics, history, religion and culture. One of the past Presidents of KOA, Deepak is the founding member of Kashmir Hindu Foundation, Inc and International Kashmir Federation. Being forced to leave his home and hearth in the wake of terrorist onslaught from across the border, Deepak has undergone the traumatic experience of being a refugee from Kashmir. His focus has always been to highlight the plight of Kashmiri Hindu refugees through the medium of documentary movies, rallies, interviews and magazines.
Lost Paradise” “India;s 59-hour Infamy” and ”Our Lost Home” are some of the videos produced by him to acquaint the world at large with what the Hindus of Kashmir have gone through.
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