Tightening of the Noose
by Ajay Chrungoo on 07 May 2010 17 Comments

[On May 4, BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay astonished Kashmiri Hindus by arriving in Srinagar and stating that the anger of the Kashmiri [read Muslim] youth needs to be channelised into employment avenues, and that the time had come for a ‘New Kashmir’ led by the youth to lead the state into an era of peace, prosperity and progress. Bringing a message of goodwill from party president Nitin Gadkari, he praised the peace loving common Kashmiris and lauded Kashmiri [Muslim] women for keeping their children away from the path of violence!


This at a time when the ruling National Conference is opposing the professional stone-pelting mobs that have taken lives and caused much public damage to property. Undaunted by the reality, the BJP spokesman claimed that in several incidents local Muslims courageously stood with their Kashmiri Hindu brethren, and want Hindus to come back. There was no mention about the armed forces personnel being daily martyred fighting terrorists; nothing about the daily harassments faced by the few Hindus who remain in the Valley; still less about the privations of those languishing in migrant camps in Jammu; and even less about those struggling outside the camps. The article below seeks to give a true picture of the daily life in modern India’s most blighted state – Editor]


The evil guiding the government policy on internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus has to be fathomed and faced in its stark nakedness. On January 21, 2010, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Service Selection Board, brought out the Advertisement Notice for 81 posts, supposed to be filled as a part of the employment package for 3000 ‘Kashmiri Migrants’ declared by the Prime Minister of India.


The Notice published in the local news papers also included the proforma of the ‘Agreement’ to be signed by the applicant Kashmiri ‘migrant’ in order to be appointed after getting selected for the particular post. The format of this agreement is revealing:


“...The executioner has been appointed on probation as …… in the…… Department …… subject to execution of this Agreement and inter-alia on the explicit condition that this appointment as such shall subsist only so long as he serves in the Kashmir Valley; and


Whereas, that the appointee shall be considered for regularization on the basis of performance and satisfactory completion of period of probation in accordance with afore mentioned rules and


Whereas, that the appointee agrees to serve in Kashmir Valley and will at no stage opt or seek for transfer outside Kashmir Valley; and


Whereas, that the appointee agrees that in case he migrates again from Kashmir Valley at any stage for any reasons whatsoever, he will stand automatically terminated from the services and shall have no claim against any post under the State; and


Whereas, if the appointee willfully neglects or refuses to perform duty in Kashmir Valley the appointing authority shall immediately terminate the service; and


Whereas, the appointee will at no stage seek to opt for transfer outside the Kashmir Valley.


Now, therefore I accept the said terms and conditions of appointment...”


For any Kashmir Hindu, what is being said in this agreement, brazenly and between the words and lines, should not be difficult to understand. But there are some willing amongst the Kashmiri Hindus to give such an undertaking only to get the job.


Studies conducted on the behaviour of victims of genocidal processes clearly tell us that victims of genocide cultivate a fatal wishful thinking. They always want to believe that the worst is already over. Or that what has already happened is the climax and the world in which they are living and the government which is at the helm will not allow worse to happen. The victims have a suicidal naïveté of reading each step taken by the perpetrators to tighten the genocidal noose around them as a concession.


A small sample of contemporary empirical evidence reproduced below will help us to measure the depth of the evil enshrined in the text of the ‘Agreement’ reproduced above. The Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, an organization of Kashmiri Hindus still living in Kashmir Valley, sent an open letter to the Prime Minister of India on November 16, 2009 as well as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, as also to the various Muslim leaders of the Valley. The letter states,


“On 15th November, 2009, two of our members went to Bhairav Ghat, Chattabal, at Srinagar, to take some pictures of the temple ruins so that its fate could be settled with the concerned authorities. But the members of the Majority Community who had encroached the temple land abstained them from taking pictures and used unparliamentary language against the Kashmiri Pandits and their religious places. They started the slogans like ‘Jis tarah humne tumhare mandiroan ko jalaya hai vaise hi tum logon ko jalayenge, aur kisi ko pata bhi nahi chalega’. The way we have burnt your temples, in the same way we will burn you and no one will know about you. ‘Yahan sirf Islam chalega’. Only Islam will prevail here. "India ko lagta hai ki tum logon ko vapas layega, jo bi aaye ga mara jayega, hum log phir se gun uthayenge’. India thinks that they can bring Kashmiri Pandits back to Valley, whosoever comes will die, we will again raise arms against you. The mob there even manhandled the members of KPSS and they had to leave the place. Even they could not file an FIR against the mob due to the life threat given by these hooligans belonging to a particular community...


KPSS strongly condemns the act and appeals to the separatist leadership to look into the matter and reply back within a stipulated time so that when at one hand they recommend the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley then why on the other hand their men are thirsty for KP blood... KPSS requests the State and Central administration to re-think about their proposal to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, instead register the fresh lot of migrants who will leave the Valley in coming days if the situation is not taken care of in due course of time... KPSS also appeals to the international community to take the matter seriously and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to safeguard the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.”


This appeal by an organisation of the Hindus still living in Valley is revealing given the fact that it involves grave risks.


-        The state government recently gave the numbers of Kashmiri Hindus living in the Valley on the floor of the Assembly. It put the number of Kashmiri Hindus living in Valley just above 800 families, and the actual number of persons below 4000. The figures given by the State Government are much higher than the figures which various surveys conducted by Kashmiri Hindus living in Valley have underlined. These independent surveys have put the number of total Hindus living in Valley presently well below 3000.


-        In 1996 when the elected government took over after a prolonged stint of Governor’s rule in the State, the number of Kashmiri Hindus given by the government from time to time was always between 10,000 to 15,000. For political reasons of undermining the gravity of the situation in the Valley, governments at the helm of affairs have always indulged in exaggerating the number of Hindus living in Kashmir.


-        But if we take the government figures as true, even then, retrospectively the deterioration of   the situation cannot be hidden or fudged. The number of Kashmiri Hindus living in the Valley, compared to the government figures of 1996, when the democratic process started, has fallen by more than 60 percent. The number of small entrepreneurs who chose to stay put in the Valley even after the events of 1990 has almost evaporated.


The appeal by the Hindu organisation of the Valley to the Prime Minister reveals a dark reality of a continuing genocide.


-        The state police approached Panun Kashmir office recently to help them in persuading the survivors of Nadimarg massacre to come forward to give witness against the arrested terrorists involved in the massacre. Nadimarg survivors outrightly refused to come forward to give witness. They had very pertinent reasons relating to total lack of faith in the sincerity of the state government and their own security. The reasons they gave are revealing. They said that immediately after the massacre in which 22 Kashmiri Hindus were killed, Shri L.K. Advani visited the place but to their utmost dismay, insisted his security personnel not allow any of the victims to come close to him. One of the victims broke the security cordon and shouted what security assurances can the state government offer when all the policemen living just in the adjacent house refused to come to their rescue while terrorists were making their way into the houses eventually killing 22 persons. They revealed that one of the eyewitnesses was approached by the government officials themselves to withdraw his witness. They said the state government willfully revealed to the public the names of those who had offered themselves as eye witnesses of the massacre, when the same should have been kept strictly confidential. They said when Dr. Farooq Abdullah publicly said that the judge who pronounced the judgment for Afzal Guru needed security, it sent shivers down their spine and they decided against offering any witness. They also asked the reasons for the reluctance of the State government to transfer the case to Jammu or any other part of India. They said they had already paid enough price for staying put in Valley and were no longer ready to pay more price.


-        Two Hindus from the same Nadimarg village were appointed as laboratory assistants in the migrant teachers cell in Jammu. Subsequently they were promoted as teachers and transferred to Shopian in Kashmir Valley. They joined their new posting in January. After joining they experienced intense harassment at their new place of posting. They approached their officer in charge, who was not only dismissive but also insulting in his behaviour. Feeling totally insecure, the two teachers abandoned the place of their posting and approached the government to adjust them at their previous place of posting in Jammu. They also gave a written consent to retrospectively forego their promotion and the benefits thereof.


-        A Hindu unmarried girl (name kept secret) was appointed on compassionate grounds under SRO 43 in a government department at Ganderbal after her father, who was working in the Relief Commissioner’s office, passed away. She had to abandon her job after experiencing intense harassment and is now back in Jammu.


-        Another Hindu girl (name kept secret) was appointed some time back in a government department in Anantnag district. The very first day in office, a Class-4th employee made obscene overtures towards her. She appealed to an elderly employee of the same department for intervention. His behaviour was more obscene and insulting. While the other employees of the department looked helplessly, a clerk of the same department advised her to have ‘nikah’ with him to escape humiliation and harassment. The young lady returned to Jammu and approached a Pandit leader, who has been in recent times canvassing for the return of Kashmiri Hindus to the Valley, to help her. The leader told her that for escaping from such humiliation she will have to give up her job or otherwise she will have to put up with this situation.


Two more recent tales are of value in the context of our current discussion.


-        A Kashmiri Hindu of Kupwara district went to his native place to offer condolences to the family of a Muslim friend who had passed away. The late friend had helped the Kashmiri Hindu during his exile in Jammu. He went to the graveyard where his friend was buried to lay flowers on his grave. Local Muslims accompanying him also offered ‘Nimaz-e-Fatiha’ at the grave of the departed soul. Returning, just outside the graveyard he found children playing marbles (Saz-u-Guti). The boy hitting one marble with the other would say, ‘Kafir Haa Moodh, I have killed the infidel’, whenever he succeeded in hitting the marble on the ground with the marble in his hand. Proceeding now towards the house of his departed friend, the Kashmiri Hindu found children playing hide and seek in the compound. The group seeking the hidden ones was reciting, “Bata Kot, Bata Kot Ratitoaney, Honyi Hund Doad Chyavnavitaney’ (catch, catch the Pandit boy, and make him drink the milk of a bitch). Seeing the discourse communalised to the extent that even children’s play was filled with communal hatred, he returned to Jammu crestfallen.


-        A Kashmiri Hindu living in the Valley all these years came to attend the marriage of his relative. His relatives were shocked when the minor daughter of the man from Kashmir said in all innocence, ‘Daidiya, Daidiya, Yeti Kyazi Chi Lokchi Naatu, Kasheeri Hai Chi Asi Asaan Baji Naatu’ - ‘Why do we have small mutton pieces here, in Kashmir we have big pieces’ (Pieces of mutton from a lamb are always smaller than pieces of beef!).


These very recent tales are revealing. They should make anyone, particularly a Hindu, see the ‘Evil’ deep inside the core. The ‘Agreement’ which Kashmiri Hindu youth have to sign in case they are employed means that they have to accept the social order existing in the Valley, radicalised, communalised and criminalised beyond description, in toto and unconditionally.


The agreement, whatever its legal validity, is a proforma of consent for total capitulation. It is also a declaration of voluntarily abandoning all rights and immunities which the constitution offers to any citizen. To have the job, a Kashmiri Hindu has to persevere and put up with any situation in the Valley. The irony of the situation is that all the jobs for which Hindus have to sign the type of ‘Agreement’ shown above, will be financed by the Central Government.


The message is clear: any concession to Kashmiri Hindus from the Government of India entails a submission to the social and political order in the state which unleashed the genocide on Kashmiri Hindus and also persisted with its perpetuation. We are witnessing the denial of the genocide as well as its abetment by both the State and Central governments. The ‘Agreement’ by implication alludes that the internal displacement of Hindus was not a necessity and the relief which Hindus have been receiving is basically a burden.


Successive State Governments have followed a dictum in their handling of the colossal tragedy of internal displacement of Kashmiri Hindus and that is, “We will do nothing for the migrants which will be an incentive not to return.” This dictum has made the government and the political class block any help to Kashmiri Hindus and pushed the government to enforce and perpetuate destitution amongst Kashmiri Hindus, particularly the youth.


We are witnessing a process of making victims of genocide capitulate totally in front of the perpetrator. Internationally reputed scholars and imminent citizens came out with a strong joint statement in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The statement said, “Denial murders the dignity of the survivors and seeks to destroy remembrance of the crime”.


The ‘Agreement’ which displaced Kashmiri Hindus have to sign to get a job for survival destroys their dignity and also any process of remembrance of the crimes which were committed on them, and which are being committed on them, and which will be committed against them in the future.


Last word: When the Government of India chose to declare a relief and employment package to displaced Kashmiri Hindus, linking it to their return, it was only a declaration of their abandonment. And when Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said that Kashmiri Pandits were forced out by Jagmohan, and BJP leader Arun Jaitley told his activists in Jammu not to use the word ‘genocide’ for the tragedy which had befallen Kashmiri Hindus, it only signified that the noose of genocidal attrition of Kashmiri Hindus is tightening further.


The author is chairman, Panun Kashmir

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