What About Kashmiri Pandits?


Written by Sulaiman Razvi

Killing of any human is despicable whether it may be Kashmiri Pandit or Kashmiri Muslim. Although the heading of this article is Kashmiri Pandits but it has little to do with Pandits. Much has been said about persecution of Kashmiri Pandits but persecution of Kashmiri Muslims is never discussed. Condemning the killing of Kashmiri Pandits has become a criteria to condemn other communal attacks. If you talk about any ongoing communal incident by Hindu extremists then Hindutvadis online will quickly ask you “What about genocide of Kashmiri Pandits?” But did you see this whatabouttery when two Sadhus were lynched by Adivasis? Why no Hindu ask “What about Kashmiri Pandits” then? Because this whatabouttery is used only to cover up and justify persecution of Muslims in India. It doesn’t just stop there, number of Kashmiri Pandits killed and number of Kashmiri Pandits displaced are greatly exaggerated. The figure given by Hindus varies. Some say thousands of Kashmiri Pandits have been killed and some only talk about the exodus of Pandits. Let’s have a look at government’s figure on how many Kashmiri Pandits were killed.

Total number of people killed is 1,724 – of whom 89 were Kashmiri Pandits and the rest were “people of other faiths”, including Muslims – over the past 31 years, the Srinagar district Police HQ said last month in response to a RTI request file by a Haryana-based activist.
Source:- NDTV, Indian Express

As per government’s report, 219 Kashmiri Pandits haven been killed by militants since 1990 and no Pandit killed since 2004.
Sources:- The Hindu, another report

Even as per the local organisation of pandits in Kashmir, Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti after carrying out a survey in 2008 and 2009, said that 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by insurgents from 1990 to 2011
Sources:- thegreaterkashmir.com, The Economic Times

Hindus claim 5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee, but the truth is that the population of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir was not 5 lakh, The Jammu and Kashmir government’s website says 60,000 families migrated from the valley during the turmoil and majority of these families preferred to settle at Jammu and its adjoining areas; whereas approximately 23000 such migrant families settled outside the J&K State. Researcher Alexander Evans suggests there were 160,000-170,000 Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley in 1990, most of whom fled in the violence.

Around 2-6 lakh Muslims were killed by Hindu Dogras in Jammu massacre, If killing of 219 Pandits is ethnic cleansing then what about lakhs of Muslims killed by Kashmiri Hindus (Dogras)?
What was the death toll in the killing fields of Jammu? There are no official figures, so one has to go by reports in the British press of that period. Horace Alexander’s article on 16 January 1948 in The Spectator is much quoted; he put the number killed at 200,000.
To quote a 10 August 1948 report published in The Times, London: “2,37,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated… Sources:- Scroll.in and Kashmirlife.net


You will be astonished to know the figure of Kashmiri Muslims killed by militants and armed forces,
“Here’s what the data says. In the last 21 years, 43,460 people have been killed in the Kashmir insurgency. Of these, 21,323 are militants, 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 3,642 civilians killed by security forces, and 5,369 policemen killed by militants. The 21,323 militants were killed in operations by security forces and include both Kashmiri and foreign militants.” Source:- Times Of India

So 16868 innocent Kashmiri Muslims were killed by Militants and security personnel. God alone knows how many of 21,323 militants killed were innocent. That’s the official figure, as per unofficial record the number of Kashmiri Muslims killed is as high as 1,00,000. Now compare the number of Kashmiri Pandits killed with number of Kashmiri Muslims killed, the difference is too apart. I know this is not a number game where one can say ‘hey look ours number is high’. But this exposes the ugly face of Hindu extremists who keep moaning over Kashmiri Pandits whenever Hindu extremism is questioned. If you talk about any ongoing attack by Hindu extremists then Hindus will accuse you of being a hypocrite and will ask you why you don’t condemn persecution of Kashmiri Pandits. Security personnel shoots indiscriminately when Kashmiri Muslims protests and as a result many Kashmiri Muslims have lost their lives in protests,

Four killed in Kashmir protests against alleged Qur’an desecration [TheGuardian.com].

Kashmir Violence: Death toll rises to 75 due to pellet gun firings by security personnel [IndianExpress.Com].

Handwara firing: Four civilians killed in two days, Valley on boil [IndianExpress.Com]

Even the mass rape victim of Kunan Poshpora are awaiting justice decades after it happened,
Kashmir ‘mass rape’ survivors fight for justice [BBC].

The anniversary of Kashmiri Pandit exodus trends on social media to mourn for Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmiri Pandit exodus was followed by Gawkadal Massacre in which 50 Kashmiri Muslims were killed. How many Hindus talks about this? Isn’t that hypocrisy? So who is being a hypocrite? Why this selective outrage by Hindutvadis? They rejoice the killing of Muslims, just click on any news where Muslims were killed and see the comments of Hindus, how they rejoice the killing of Muslims.
Contrary to the much hype, Kashmiri Pandits have got special treatment just because they belong to the majority community in India. 70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families will get 20 lac rupees package for construction and re-construction of their houses irrespective of when they sold their property. IndianExpress.com, Firstpost.com, jkmigrantrelief.nic.in

Not just that, government has even decided a special colony for them called Sainik colony. Apart form this, Kashmiri Pandits has got government jobs and 1 lac rupee compensation, reservation.
J&K govt approves 3,000 posts for Kashmiri pandits under PM’s package [TimesofIndia]

– Job quota in government for Kashmiri Pandits [Twocircles.net]

– Jobs, home, Kashmiri Pandits to get all: A big rehabilitation package for displaced community soon [OneIndia.Com]

– Union Cabinet okays Rs 2,000 crore package for Kashmiri migrants [timesofindia.com]

– Kashmiri migrants to continue getting 5% quota in Delhi University [IndianExpress.com]

– J-K govt identifies 100 acres for resettling Kashmiri Pandits
These pockets, where Kashmiri Pandits are likely to be rehabilitated, will be spread across all 10 districts of the valley, officials in the Union Home Ministry said on Monday. [IndianExpress.com]

– Jammu and Kashmir Migrant Relief
From the date of migration, the government, after registering migrant families is providing relief and free ration. Initially in the year 1990, the cash assistance ceiling was Rs 500/- per family which has been enhanced from time to time and present scale is as under:

(a) Cash assistance: Rs 1250/- per soul subject to a ceiling of Rs. 5000/- per family. (w.e.f. 01-07-2010)
(b) Ration:        9 Kg rice per soul per month.
2 Kg Atta per soul per month.
1 Kg Sugar per family per month.
SOURCE: http://jkmigrantrelief.nic.in/relief.aspx


Other than Kashmiri Pandits, government will provide 5.5 lakh rupees for each PoK Hindu refugee. Sources:- The Hindu, Indian Express

Kashmiri Pandits are alive to enjoy all these special treatment, but what about those Muslims who were killed there?

Now compare this with the treatment given to Muslim riot victims. When thousands of Muslims were displaced by the Gujarat riots, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi refused to set up relief camps for Muslims and made fun of Muslims saying, “Do we go and run relief camps? Should we open child-producing centres? We want to firmly implement family planning. Hum paanch, humare pachees (We five, our 25)” Kashmiri Pandits have got packages worth thousands of crore rupees solely for rehabilitating them whereas Disturbed Area Act was passed in Gujarat some three decades ago. It is used as tool to discriminate against Muslims. The motive of passing the Act was the prevention of distress sales, including inter-community social distress sales. However, for three decades, it has been used to drive Muslim residents away from areas that have a mixed population.
Majority of Gujarat riot Muslim victims do not want to return to their homes fearing the Islamophobia in the state. And rehabilitation camps were forcefully shut down where Muslims resided.
“Shabnam Hashmi of Act Now for Harmony And Democracy (ANHAD) said: “While a large number of people heard about the massacre of 2,000 Muslims during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, a majority remains totally ignorant about the existence of thousands of second class citizens who have not been able to return to their homes even six years after the carnage. After the riots, we have been fighting for the rights of victims to provide them self-employment and rehabilitation. The Gujarat Government hasn’t helped them in the rehabilitation programme.” [TheHindu.Com]

Muslims displaced in 2002 Gujarat riots are still protesting for help from governments. Following is the news reported in 2014.
“The primary demands include a house over their head. Most of the residents are living in colonies set up to accommodate the rush of victims following the 2002 riots. The land on which these colonies were set up was either illegal or belonged to private trusts. This essentially means people living in these colonies don’t have access to basic facilities like water, electricity and gutters. Moreover, they don’t have any address proof,” said Hozefa Ujjaaini, programme co-ordinator of Jan Vikas that works with internally displaced people.” dnaindia.com

“As victims of the Hindutva rage rot in Gujarat relief camps, there is little hope to return to their ancestral homes. Some areas are not ready to allow them back, some demand their conversion to the majority faith while some impose humiliating terms which turn victims into tormentors… In another instance, a Muslim youth gathered courage to return to Kharsalia village in the same district and even managed to construct an eight-foot wall to restart his provision shop. But the very next morning he woke up to find that the wall was pulled down and there was nothing left to start a new life. His courage left him shaken, the brave youth scurried back to the relief camp. Many attempts at rehabilitation have failed in moving the victims from the camps back to their original homes…Some villages go beyond these conditions and demand their victims to convert to Hinduism as the ultimate proof of their loyalty and servility. Noor Muhammad, a farmer from the village of Raicha, recounts his personal experience: “They told us that we can come back to the village only if we change our religion and become Hindus.’ [Milligazette.com]

“About 23,000 Muslims fled their homes after Hindu mobs went on a rampage and communal riots broke out in the western state of Gujarat in February 2002.” [Nchro.org]

Citizen (riot refugee) Nagar: After 15 yrs, no govt school, no hospital, no piped water
Residents of Citizen Nagar say that while they have learnt to live with the stench from the landfill, they are worried about how frequently they fall ill. [IndianExpress.com]

2002 Godhra riots: There were 20 Muslim families in the Paliyad village, one by one they all left [Indianexpress.com]

Narendra Modi’s Shame: Muslim Survivors of the Gujarat Riots Are Still Suffering
“Some 98,000 people were displaced in Gujarat by the 2002 riots. Sheikh and her family are among the 16,000 who remain in relief colonies, 83 of which are located across the state. Residents of the 15 camps in Ahmedabad overwhelmingly lack clinics, schools, proper roads, and adequate drinking water.” news.vice.com, hrw.org

“The official dead so far exceed 700, nearly all Muslims, and estimates of the number of Muslims displaced from their homes and forced into relief camps range from 50,000 to 100,000. The conditions in the relief camps continue to be miserable, with the government providing little or no support. ” cac.ektaonline.org

“She also said there were far more refugees than the government estimate of 56,000 for the whole state.
In the state’s largest city, Ahmedabad, alone, she said more than 45,000 people had taken shelter in camps, where providing them with adequate sanitation was the most urgent priority.” [BBC.co.uk]

Kashmiri Muslims like other Indian Muslims were persecuted during the post-Independence riots,
“He is not alone. Although our media pride themselves on free and bold speech, they maintain a conspiracy of silence on some issues relating to the supposed “national interest.” This includes the mass killing and expulsion of lakhs of Muslims from Jammu in 1947. That story should be recalled on this sombre anniversary.
Today, Jammu is a Hindu-majority area. But in 1947, it had a Muslim majority. The communal riots of 1947 fell most heavily on Jammu’s Muslims; lakhs fled into what became Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. That turned Jammu’s Muslim majority into a Hindu majority. In sheer scale, this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later.” [TimesofIndia Blog]


15 Years After Riots, Muslims Struggle to Escape Gujarat Ghettos
“They moved into what they thought would be a temporary home in Citizen Nagar, an enclave of 116 modest homes, built quickly by a Muslim charity for some of the displaced families.
Fifteen years on, Bano and his family still live there, spilling out of their two-room home in a fly-infested neighbourhood flanked by a large, smoking landfill.
The riots displaced about 2,00,000 people in the state, mostly Muslims. Some returned to their homes, while others found new accommodation in mainly Muslim neighbourhoods.
Muslim charities resettled about 17,000 people in 80 colonies across Gujarat, among India’s wealthiest states.
Today, Ahmedabad is a segregated city: you will not find many buildings or neighbourhoods where Hindus and Muslims live together. Muslims are forced to live in ghettos, excluded from the development of the rest of the city and state
Muslims displaced by communal violence are often too fearful to return to their homes, and have asked the government to relocate them.
But government officials say that would promote division rather than unity between Muslims and Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of India’s population. [TheQuint.com]

– Six years later refugees of Muzaffarnagar riots have no access to electricity, water; say will vote for peace. [Times Now]

– After Fleeing Violence, Many Indian Muslims Refuse to Return Home. [NYTimes.com]

– “At least 65 people were killed and 51,000 people – mostly Muslims – were displaced after Hindu-Muslim clashes in the northern Indian town of Muzaffarnagar in September.” [BBC.Com]

– “They cut him into three pieces, slicing his neck and stomach,” says Kathun, sitting on the bare floor of a mosque which has become a relief camp, one of many sheltering more than 41,000 Muslims who have fled the worst communal violence in a decade in UP. [Reuters]

– As per Indian M.P Asaduddin Owaisi more than 50,000 migrated from Muzaffarnagar after the riots. [Indian Express]

– Unofficial sources put the number of displaced Muslims at 100,000 while by the time of our visit government acknowledged that 50,955 displaced persons had been accommodated in 11 relief camps. [Indiaresists.com]

– Riot victims live in ghetto-like conditions: Report
“The report, authored by social activists Harsh Mander, Akram Akhtar, Zafar Eqbal and Rajanya Bose, has indicted the State administration for not only failing to rehabilitate riot victims displaced from their homes and villages, but also for actively encouraging Muslim refugees, who used to live in Hindu-majority villages, to resettle in Muslim-majority colonies.
The report is based on a survey conducted between March and July 2016 by the NGOs Aman Biradari and Afkar India in 65 resettlement colonies of riot victims in the two districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, housing a total of 29,328 persons.” [TheHindu.com]

– Lisad was the epicentre of the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. Three years later the village’s Muslim community is still struggling to make its way home. [Quint]

So how many people will talk about those displaced Muslims? How many Gujarati Muslims will get rehabilitation package to buy their houses or to resettle there? How many Kashmiri Muslims will get government jobs? Is there any scheme or package for Gujrati Muslims to help buy their homes back like they are helping Kashmiri Pandit? I came across some points on internet, I didn’t verify some of the points but it’s worth reading,
1) 219 Brahman Kashmiri Pandits killed in Kashmir in 22 years of violence*.
2000 Muslims killed in 3 days of violence in Gujarat in 2002. Which is genocide?
2) 58,697 Brahman Kashmiri Pandit families left valley and provided with free food, reservation in state and central government offices, schools and colleges, all over India*.
5 lakhs Muslims living in refugee camps have to live on streets and Modi closed their camps.
3) Rs. 1,61,8,00,00,000 (Rs. 1618 crores) of money pumped in for rehabilitation of Brahman Kashmiri Pandit familes*.
Rs. 500 for each house of a Gujarati Muslim burnt by khakhi chaddi terrorists in Gujarat 2002.
4) Kashmiri Pandits Government servants occupying expensive Government accommodation in south Delhi without rent for 20 years#.
Muslims in Gujarat don’t get homes to rent or to buy even if they want to pay a premium!
5) ‘The J&K Migrants Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection and Restrain of Distress Sales) Act 1997’ and ‘J&K Migrants (Stay of Proceedings) Act, 1997′ to protect and restrain the distress sale of properties left behind in the Valley by the migrants*.
Gujarati Muslims forced to sell their properties and live in a few ghettos of Ahmedabad.
6) In 1990s one member of each Brahman Kashmiri Pandit who has ran away from Kashmir valley got a Government job in Central Government owned units like HMT. They are now enjoying tax payers’ money as pension after retirement.
None of the Gujarati Muslims affected in the 2002 genocide got a single job
7) Most of the state governments since 1990s reserved seats in professional colleges for Brahman Kashmiri Pandits.
Gujarati Muslims were discriminated in schools after 2002 genocide.
Gujarati Muslims who work hard like every one and pay their taxes to the nation.
* Statement by Minister of State for Home, Government of India, Jitendra Singh in Lok Sabha in Aug 2011 and on December 13, 2011 (Press Trust Of India, New Delhi)
# Times of India 01 Dec 2010

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