New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) With ‘The Kashmir Files’ bringing the spotlight back on the beleaguered Kashmiri Pandit community, some old facts are now coming to the fore.
Surinder Kaul, the founder of the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora, is reminded of the treatment that the government of the day in 1990-1991 meted out to the community.
Kaul said: “After we were forced out of Kashmir, where I was doing house-job in Srinagar Medical College, we organised several protests, dharans and rallies in Delhi. We sat for weeks at Jantar Mantar. V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister then and Mufti Mohammad Sayed was the Home Minister.
“We took out a protest to the PM’s residence and after a long time, a delegation of five of us were allowed in to meet the PM. We were all young students, desperate and terribly anguished. When we finally met him, all he had to say was ï¿½Dekhta hunï¿½ (Let me see)’, and then he started moving away. One of my colleagues was forceful and said ‘he doesn’t even have five minutes to hear our plight…’ The PM was offended by this. It was so visible and he left.
“We were moved out and the moment we got back to the waiting crowd of other students outside the PM’s residence, Delhi Police lathi-charged us, they rained blows on us and we were arrested.
“After some days, we went to meet Home Minister Mufti Sayed and all he had to say was ‘yes, this is not ok’. He had no answers to our questions. We told him, ‘Why the local police and intelligence network had just vanished. Why was no one doing their work? Why was there no security?’ He just kept mum. That day I realised that the state and the central power system of our country had collapsed and no one was there to help us.”
(Deepika Bhan can be contacted at email@example.com)