SRINAGAR: Amnesty International’s (India chapter) appears to have endorsed government of India’s stand on migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in early ‘90s.
“The Hindus were forced to leave the state between 1990 and 1994 due to threats and intimidation from armed groups,” said a statement issued from New Delhi office of the UK-based organisation on Tuesday.
“At the outbreak of insurgency in the early 1990s, several prominent Kashmiri Pandit community leaders were killed and others intimidated by armed groups,” it says, castigating the state for its “insufficient measures to build confidence and ensure the safety and smooth integration of (Hindu) families returning to the Kashmir Valley”.
Interestingly, the visible stand adopted by Amnesty International vis-à-vis the migration of Hindus—a topic which has been in debate since Narendra Modi-led BJP took over the government in New Delhi—contradicts the popular narrative in the Valley.
The majority community of the state has been arguing that migration of the Pandit community was a ‘state-sponsored conspiracy’. The argument is, in fact, endorsed by the state government as well by stating, time and again, that former Governor Jagmohan was behind the migration of KPs.
“Jagmohan and Mufti (the then Home Minister of India) coerced Kashmiri Pandits to migrate from the Valley to malign Muslims and spark communal riots in Kashmir,” senior leader of the ruling National Conference (NC) Mustafa Kamal had said while addressing a public meeting in Rusan Tangmarg in 2011.
He is further reported to have said: “..later the Pandits were bundled to Jammu with a promise they would be allowed to return to Valley after three months. The communal passions were stirred just to get a reason to murder the Kashmiri Muslims.”
A year later, NC’s spokesman Tanvir Sadiq blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Jagmohan for the migration. “The PDP leadership played a scheming role to facilitate ‘mass exodus’ of Pandits from the Valley. Jagmohan was the creation of the then Home Minister and that is how they divided Kashmir on religious lines,” he had said.
While defending his father Farooq Abdullah against the allegations leveled by Modi, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah too had hinted of Jagmohan-government’s involvement in the migration.
At the time of migration, he said, “The head of the government was Jagmohan, who was brought in as Governor by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Home Minister of the Cabinet of V.P. Singh, the same V.P. Singh who was installed as Prime Minister with the support of the BJP.”
Ignoring the state’s stand and quoting various Hindu organisations to establish that “security” and “justice” need to be provided to the migrants, Amnesty has urged upon the state government “to ensure that religious minorities are able to exercise all their constitutionally guaranteed rights.”
It has also recommended “impartial and independent investigations into the killings (of Hindus) at Nadimarg, and into all other allegations of unlawful killings.”
The rights body has asked New Delhi for a “rehabilitation programme to provide full and effective reparation including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition to all victims of human rights abuses in the state.”
“The programme shall be devised in consultation with victims and shall take into account the different experiences and needs of people who experience conflict differently. Minority religious groups shall also be consulted,” it said.