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Are the Kashmiri Pundits abandoned Dregs & Derelicts?
|by V. Sundaram|
During the last 15 years, as indeed not very different from our tragic national history ever since the Arab conquest of Sind in the 8th century, innocent and unarmed Hindus are being mercilessly murdered by the Mujahedins of compassionate Islam in Jammu and Kashmir. The eminent journalist K. Easwaran Nambudiri has rightly observed: 'Desecrated temples, decapitated idols, obscene graffiti on temple walls; bulldozed houses and destroyed locality of minority Hindus; burnt pages from sacred Vedic texts; couples being dragged to death after being tied to a jeep and appeals by 'non-communal' Muslims to surgically remove the 'cancer' called Hindus'.
I am not quoting from a work of fiction written by Easwaran Nambudiri. He has written these heart-rending words about an exhibition titled 'Sakshatkar: An encounter with truth', the photo exhibition recently organized by Panun Kashmir at the Open Palm Court Gallery at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi which graphically depicted the various facets of religious ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus in the Kashmir Valley. The exhibits clearly brought out the grim but real pictures from Kashmir. The treacherous and calamitous events that led to the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits from Jammu & Kashmir, their struggle to survive in make-shift refugee camps and to recreate a dignified life for themselves in exile were laid bare in the exhibition.
On display at the exhibition were the painful and heart-rending photographs of a Hindu couple from Herman in Pulwama who were tied behind a jeep and dragged till death with perhaps pseudo-secular concern and compassion from the mighty Government of India deeply devoted to the peace-process with Islamic terrorism.
What was their only crime against the unstated unspecified and unwritten provisions of the pseudo-secular Indian Penal Code? Their only avoidable unfortunate crime was: They were Hindus.
I am using the adjective 'avoidable' deliberately in this context because if only they had resorted to the pseudo-secular expedient of converting themselves to compassionate Islam, they would have been congratulated by the Union Minister for Home Affairs. The Union Minister for Minorities A R Antulay would have gone by a special Air Force Plane to Jammu & Kashmir and presided over the conversion function with these magical inaugural words: 'I am very grateful to Allah, the Magnificent and the Ever-compassionate, for giving this unique opportunity of presiding over a function where ignorant infidels "kafirs" have voluntarily come forward to embrace the tenets of Islam. Do you know that by one simple act of spontaneously embracing Islam,, you have become automatically eligible to live in Jammu & Kashmir? Is this not a glorious moment in the long and chequered history of India and indeed mankind?'
At the exhibition on atrocities against the Hindus and all things Hindu in Jammu & Kashmir, there were also photographs of the Shivalingam of the destroyed Basantbagh temple in Srinagar, the decapitated idol of Adi Shankara at Khojbagh in Baramulla, the desecrated Shiva idol outside the Raghunath temple at Fatehkadal in Srinagar, the desecrated and destroyed idols of Shiva temple at Hoonpura in Srinagar, the bulldozed three-storey magnificent Guptganga temple in Baramulla and a leaf from the sacred text in the burnt library of Tarbuni temple in Navakadal.
Many of my friends who are good historians told me that all the photographs in the Exhibition were reminiscent of the brutalities of Aurangzeb, Nadir Shah and Taimur. All the credit for organizing this Photo Exhibition in New Delhi should go to Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman of the Panun Kashmir. He and his men have presented this exhibition after conducting a detailed field survey in all the six districts of the Valley in order to bring out the brutal facts relating to calculated Islamic terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
What is amazing is the fact that all these photographs were not taken by professionals but by the victims themselves who could barely manage to get hold of a rudimentary camera to document their tragedy to the outside world, and posterity.
And for those pseudo-secularists in the mafia of mass media in India and more particularly the English Press, who wax eloquently about the peace-loving and fraternal feelings of the ordinary Kashmiri Muslims towards their Kashmir Pundit brethren, there was a letter from one Mir Niaz Ahmed of Zaina Kadal, Srinagar which appeared in the local Daily Alsafa. 'I claim to be a rational and non-communal Muslim but at the same time, I sincerely feel that we Kashmiri Muslims should try our best to thwart any attempt by Pundits to return to the Valley. Pundits have been a cancer and once this cancer is removed, it should not be allowed to re-appear', he says.
After the recent inhuman killings of 34 unarmed innocent Hindus in Doda district in Jammu, our National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan declared with solemn and sanctimonious bumptiousness: 'Despite these killings, the peace process with the Mujahedins of Pakistan would continue'. Against this background, we can never be in doubt about the mindset that guides the separatist movement in Jammu & Kashmir. The objective behind the expulsion of the Hindus from Kashmir is to create a religious monolith at a place which has nurtured and nourished pluralism and co-existence through the Ages.
At the venue of the Sakshatkar exhibition, a brochure was distributed. The following words from that brochure clinch the issue for all mankind:
FACT, the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism – thanks to the efforts of Sunil Bakshi, Director of the Indo-European Kashmir Forum – organized an exhibition and screened a film on the plight of Kashmiri Hindus called 'Terrorism Unleased' at one of the most prestigious venues in London, the Commonwealth Club, Northumberland Avenue, just off Trafalgar Square in June 2004. Pyara S Khabra, a British MP, inaugurated the exhibition. He highlighted the forced exile of Kashmiri Hindus from their homeland due to the continued threat of terrorism and said the Indian government must create a safe haven in Kashmir for the return of Kashmiri Hindus. Pledging his support to Kashmiri Hindus, he assured all present that he would highlight the plight of Kashmiri Hindus in the House of Commons, the British parliament.
What Francois Gautier has noted about the attitude of Amnesty International in London in this context should be a matter of shock and concern for all of us. He has said: 'We also witnessed first hand the basic hostility of Amnesty International to the plight of Kashmiri Pundits. Sunil Bakshi had repeatedly sent invitations to them three weeks before the exhibition. I personally called the head of Kashmir at Amnesty International several times as well as Ingrid Massage, the director, Asia & Pacific Program of Amnesty. First she told us they only reported on first hand facts. I replied these were photographs and statistics which nobody could dispute. Finally, after ten phone calls, she said she had too many files on her desk and that she had no time to come, although the exhibition was a few blocks from her office. So much for Amnesty's sense of justice'.
Two months after the London Exhibition, the same exhibition under the caption 'Exhibition on Kashmir Killings' was conducted in Houston, USA in August, 2004. Heart-breaking pictures depicting the tragic plight of Kashmiri Pundits, their selective killings, mass cremations, exodus and refugee life since 1990 due to terrorism in Kashmir drew thousands of people at this exhibition. This only shows that America, despite Bush's fundamentalism, is a land of democracy and humanism. In sad contrast, London is still steeped in hypocrisy, barbarism and colonialism. The callous attitude of pontificating Amnesty International in London only shows that they are only continuing the age-old policy of Divide and Rule of Raj Days in Jammu and Kashmir.
We should view this exhibition not only as a depiction of the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pundits but also as a depiction of the destruction of a civilization and culture. It is indeed an assault on Hindu civilization and 'Sanathana Dharma' in the Kashmir Valley.
To conclude in the beautiful and most inspiring words of non-communal (!) and non-saffron (!!) Francois Gautier:
The irony is that those in the UPA Government in New Delhi dressed in brief authority are in a state of coma ?voluntary death ? watching the macabre killings of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India with a detached pseudo-secular poise and calm, if not glee!
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