By DR AMJAD AYUB MIRZA
Two dates are interconnected: January 19 and February 5. Thursday, January 19, marks the 33rd anniversary of the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits that was orchestrated between 1988 and 1990. It was an attempt to ‘purify’ the Valley by ridding it of non-Muslims.
Pakistan-sponsored jihadi organisations and political parties were at the forefront of this vile campaign, while the Muslim majority living in the Kashmir valley were silenced through intimidation and fear, therefore no one came to the rescue of the Kashmiri Pandits.
A feature film by the name of ‘The Kashmir Files’ has been screened all around the world depicting the horrors of the day.
However, no such thing as a truth and reconciliation commission has been set up to investigate the crimes committed against the oldest indigenous community of Kashmir.
Here is what conspired:
In July 1988, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) began separatist insurgency in Kashmir. (Let me make this absolutely clear that JKLF was on the pay role of the ISI which has been confessed by its founder Amman Ulla Kahn in his book).
JKLF targeted a prominent advocate, Tika Lal Taploo, on September 14, 1989 and gunned him down in Srinagar. On November 4, 1989, a judge, Neelkanth Ganjoo, was shot and killed near the Srinagar High Court. In December, members of JKLF kidnapped the daughter of then Union Minister Mufti Mohammed Saeed (a Muslim himself). Today, new evidence is emerging that this kidnapping was orchestrated with the collaboration of the Union minster himself in order to help JKLF secure the release of its terrorist, who were subsequently released!
On January 4, 1990, a Srinagar based newspaper by the name of ‘Aftab’ (The Sun) released a message of a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisation, Hizbul Mujahedeen, which asked all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately.
On April 14, 1990 another Srinagar based Urdu newspaper Al-Safa reproduced the same warning. Meanwhile, posterswere pasted all over Srinagar threatening Kashmiri Hindus to convert to Islam. Armed goons were forcing people on the streets to set their time to Pakistan’s standard time.
Office buildings, shops, and government buildings were painted green to highlight Islamic rule. This was followed by a systematic burning down of Hindu temples, shops and factories. Posters were pasted on the doors of the houses which belonged to Hindus demanding that they leave Kashmir immediately.
As the fear and uncertainty set in, a defenseless Kashmir Hindu community who also happen to be a minority among 94% Muslim majority, the shadows of darkness and death loomed over the valley.
On the night of January 18 and 19,1990, Srinagar fell into complete darkness as power was cut by the Jihadist. However, all mosques were receiving uninterrupted supply of electricitywhich were using loudspeakers to broadcast inflammatoryhate speeches against the Kashmir Hindu population asking Muslims to purge and kill infidels.
This led to a panic exodus of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley on January 19, 1990 who escaped to Jammu and Delhi. This exodus is remembered and the Genocide of Kashmiri Pandits.
On January 25 1990, at Rawalpura four Indian Air Forces personnel were gunned down at a bus stop while waiting for their bus. The leader of the JKLF Yassin Malik himself was identified by witnesses to be one of the gunmen.
Incidents of individual murder and targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley continues to this day.
This murderous episode of Kashmiri Pandits in the Vale of Kashmir was scripted by the ISI and executed collectively by the Jamat e Islami, elements of Syed Gilani’s Huriyat Conference, Hizbul Mujahedeen, the JKLF and other Pakistan sponsored organisation as well as by the imams of various mosques in Kashmir valley.
In 1990 the Jamat e Islami wing of Pakistan announced to commemorate the genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits as Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 of each year. It was adopted as an official day of solidarity with Kashmiri Muslims by the government of Prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
February 5 is in actuality celebrated as a victory of the Pakistan military establishment and its proxies in driving out Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. It is a fascist event that is used to keep the anti-Hindu sentiment boiling in the mindset of each and every Pakistani as well as those living in Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) and occupied Gilgit-Baltistan.
Over a long period of time, thanks to social media, more and more people, especially youth, are becoming aware of the human atrocities committed by Pakistan against their Kashmir breathen and are waking up to a new kind of realisation that Pakistan and not India is their real enemy.
The two dates that are mentioned in the title of this article are interconnected and should be seen in the light of the above mentioned historical truth.
January 19 and February 5 are interrelated through action and in meaning. As the unrest and economic austerity continues to grow in PoJK and PoGB the time for Pakistan to pay for its crimes against humanity and peace in our region seems to be approaching fast.
(DR AMJAD AYUB MIRZA is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK. The views expressed are personal)
Kashmiri Pandit’s genocide and February 5
By DR AMJAD AYUB MIRZA