Civil society in Kashmir has rightly opposed `protected enclaves’ for Kashmiri Pandits. At an inter-community dialogue on Saturday, civil society also called for a probe by an international commission to ascertain the reasons for the community’s exodus and also the reasons for Kashmiri youth taking up arms. Revisiting 1990 is important to know what has been concealed till date.
The majority community accuses the then governor, Jagmohan, of hatching a conspiracy to trigger off the migration of the Pandits. The Pandits, on the other hand, blame the majority community (not the militants), and cite `provocative slogans from mosques’ especially on January 18 and 19 that year. They observe January 19 as `Holocaust Day’. While this is sheer exaggeration, the truth still needs to be dug out.
Contrary to the claims of the Pandits, nothing happened on January 19, 1990. People did raise slogans from mosques, but it was not a tirade against the Pandits. There is absolutely no evidence of slogans like `we will make Pakistan without Pandit men’. No Muslim can chant such atrocious slogans in a mosque. On the contrary, the Muslims get hyper when it comes to the honour of Islam, Mosque and Quran. And, nobody migrated that night except an army officer from Magarmal Bagh. He was escorted to the JAKLI headquarters at midnight.
A very important person, who now heads the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samithi, was in Mumbai in February 1990. He wanted to celebrate Shivratri with his family in Srinagar. The festival fell in the last week of February. He reached Jammu and heard about the registration office for migrants. He went there to register himself as a migrant and is registered at serial number 46. This means that only 46 persons had migrated up to February 26.
Meanwhile, a self-styled Pandit leader goes around asking members of the community to migrate before March 15 as, according to him, the Jawahar Tunnel would be closed after that date. The same individual accompanies prominent civil society members like Sheikh Abdul Kabir, Ghulam Muhammad Bakhshi, GM Dagga and others to Qazigund to prevent the Pandit exodus in March. So the migration took place in March and not on January 19. There is something fishy about the exodus. Revisiting 1990, therefore, becomes all the more important.