KASHMIRI HINDUS NO ONE ABANDONED



KASHMIRI HINDUS NO ONE ABANDONED
Ravi Munshi
ecent events have shown intense activity by way of India-bashing by separatists inimical to harmony in the Valley. The Indian and foreign media have joined the fray with their thrust now shifted to the alleged human rights violations of Muslims in Kashmir. While eyes of the media are fixated on Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley, with their mouths wide open Kashmiri Muslims are incessantly crying wolf, and this is music to the ears of the media.

Regrettably, not a word is being written or spoken for the thousands of Kashmiri Hindus who continue to suffer from the violation of their human rights that culminated in forced exodus from the land of their ancestors. Emboldened by media attention, their Muslim tormentors are getting impatient, eager to be disruptive even on the slightest pretext. In comparison, without so much as a whimper about the deplorable conditions in which they live, the Kashmiri Hindu community continues to hurt in silence.

The Government: Congress owns a bank that is flush with the Muslim vote. While it manages the vast deposits in the vote bank, the patrons are handsomely rewarded with lavish interest paid in kind - heeding to even the most outrageous of their demands. The guiding principle of the bank ensures that their appeasement trumps all else, even India’s national security interests.

When Geelani threatens armed struggle against even the most valid of the government initiatives - rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Hindus in safe zones, his treasonous proclamation gets rewarded with more interviews, a priceless opportunity for him to broadcast his toxic message farther and wider to the vulnerable masses. Geelani and his ilk have mastered the art of making use of free publicity to their fullest advantage. Media becomes an accessory and the government an uninterested spectator because the operative word is appeasement.

And, when Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary comes to India on an official visit and has the nerve to invite separatist leaders from the Valley for a private session, presumably to discuss how to more effectively lend moral and material support to their cause, the government maintains complete silence because appeasement is their guiding principle.

When call for the implementation of a strict dress code that follows Islamic traditions is left unopposed; when renaming of the Kashmiri Hindu places of worship and of significance with an express intent to give them an Islamic flavor is overlooked; when Sharia law is allowed to rear its head in the land that prides itself as being the shining example of democratic governance; when madrassas have gained implied sanction to teach doctored history; and when instead of expressing outrage the government maintains an eerie silence at all of the above, we are assured appeasement is hard at work.

Interlocutors: Apart from the irreparable loss of life, the Kashmiri Hindu community also suffered immeasurable loss of dignity and self-confidence. During the early phase of forced exodus, our youth suffered from lack of opportunities in education and other vocational skills, thus pushing many in to a life of indolence.

Interlocutors’ report was awaited with much anticipation to help set the clock back where the Kashmiri Hindus could get a respite from decades of nomadic existence. A mere acknowledgement in the report, let alone suggestion of a reasonable solution following the model professed by Panun Kashmir, or assimilation of the community with the mainstream with adequate measures to ensure their safety and security, would have been a reason to rejoice. That too was denied.

Working for the masters in Delhi, and reflecting their flair for ambiguity, Interlocutors made sure all contentious issues remained just that.

Religious Stooges:
Reports of cordial meetings between a high priest and separatist leaders that are sworn to break away from the Union didn’t come as a surprise. The disappointment stems from how little, if at all, did the swami know about the extent to which the very people he met were steeped in Kashmiri Hindu blood. Engaging in diplomacy with an adversary isn’t evil, but clearly the swami was at the receiving end.

Photo-ops are part of the ritual to pay obeisance. But why go overboard with invitations to disseminate venom at the upcoming event where the world’s largest human gathering is about to occur? That’s an assault on the sentiments of our distressed community.

Our Associations:
All India Kashmiri Samaj and Panun Kashmir are the two leading organizations in India that are the face of Kashmiri Hindus’ struggle for their return journey to the land of their ancestors, in safety and with dignity.

Whereas these organizations should have renounced petty differences a long time ago, and come together to subscribe to a common agenda and a clear vision for the greater good of the community, they have disappointingly preferred to remain committed to competing goals. With inconsistent stand on vital issues and in the absence of a unified voice that truly represents the aspirations of the entire community, wittingly or unwittingly, they have stood in their own way.

The government, interlocutors, religious stooges and yes, even our own associations have, in some measure, abandoned the Kashmiri Hindu community. And, finally the media, without who the plight of Kashmiri Hindus will remain consigned to eternal anonymity.

The Media: There appears to be a deliberate attempt to black out the plight of Kashmiri Hindus in the media. A national disgrace for any country that cares about its people, the despicable condition in which the community merely survives is the direct result of the violations of its human rights perpetrated by the very people, Kashmiri Muslims, who are now the heroes grabbing all the media attention.

Media is either in cahoots with the enemies of the country or it’s clueless. Either way, its silence over the far more sinister saga of unbridled sectarian violence against the thousands of innocent Kashmiri Hindus is tragic. Their violation by local Muslims with tacit support from Pakistan has a long history of two decades and more. Ironically, many in the media today were toddlers when it all started, some weren’t even born.

It is shameful as it is wicked for media to turn its back on the human tragedy that has been playing out in plain sight for close to a quarter century. What will it take to draw world’s attention to the despair of Kashmiri Hindus already on the brink of dissolution; extinction?
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Comments
It was a pleasure to read Mr. Ravi Munshi's brilliant and incisive write-up on the villainous role of the media in regard to the latest goings-on in Kashmir, vis-a-vis the distraught Kashmiri Pandits.I am reminded of how in the nineties his revered father, late Pandit Dwarkanath Munshi, would familiarize the outside world with the trauma Kashmiri Pandits were going through by profusely writing in Koshur Samachar Keep it up, Mr. Ravi!
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