Case Study: The Kashmiri Pandits’ ethnic cleansing!

India | Kashmiri | Pandit | 14th October 2021 | Virtual Wire


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There were disturbingly outrageous incidents of killing innocent civilians in Kashmir last week. Each and every victim was selected on the basis of their religion and was then shot dead openly and it is not just a conjecture as a militant group called The Resistance Front released a statement.

The teachers, Supinder Kaur and Deepak Chand had been killed by the group’s “Shaheed Gazi Squad”, it said. According to their given statement, they had been shot because they had “harassed and warned the parents with dire consequences” if students did not attend school functions on August 15.

Nothing new

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History has been a witness to what a Hindu or any non-Muslim citizen has to go through in order to live in Kashmir. As the whole country is trying to be progressive in becoming secular and avoiding racism regarding religion, on the other hand, numerous families paid a horrific price for just belonging to a certain religion or say paid price for not belonging to a certain religion. The incidents of killing based on religion has always been residing in Kashmir since 1989 when the radical Islamic group forced Hindus out of Kashmir and caused a massacre of people who didn’t agree to leave or accept Islam. Since then there have been nearly 37,000 deaths in the name of religion.

The beginning

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The root of the incident which is shamelessly termed as “the Kashmiri Pandits’ ethnic cleansing” began on September 14, 1989, with a Kashmiri Pandit and political activist, Tika Lal Taploo, who was shot dead outside his residence. On November 4, 1989, high court judge Neelkanth Ganjoo was killed.

On January 4, 1990, a local Urdu newspaper, Aftab, published a press release issued by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, asking all the Pandits to leave the Valley immediately. Al-Safa, another local daily, repeated the warning. On January 9, these warnings were followed by Kalashnikov-wielding masked jihadis carrying out militarized marches and openly threatening and killing the Kashmiri Pandits who objected.

As the darkness descended, the beleaguered Pandit community became panic-stricken. A host of highly provocative, communal and threatening slogans, interspersed with martial songs, incited the Muslims to come out on the streets and break the chains of “slavery”. These slogans were mixed with precise and unambiguous threats to Pandits. They were presented with three choices — ralive, tsaliv ya galive (convert to Islam, leave the place or be ready to perish). Bomb explosions and indiscriminate firing by the militants became a daily occurrence.

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Between 1989 and 1991, over 95 per cent of the Valley’s indigenous Hindu population was forced out through a targeted campaign. Since then, about 63,000 families of displaced Pandits, Sikhs and some Muslims have been living in camps in Jammu or the NCR area, as well as throughout other Indian states in India and abroad.

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