Lift the veil on pandit exodus

The migrant pandits continue to be a top priority of the BJP government. Concessions have been given to them from time to time. While nobody in Kashmir has resented such measures, the civil society has come forward to demand a probe into the exodus by an international commission. They have also sought a probe into the reasons that forced the Kashmiris youth to resort to guns. It is important to revisit 1990 to know what has been concealed till date. The majority community accuses the then governor Jagmohan Malhotra of hatching a conspiracy to ensure the migration of the pandits. The pandits on the other hand blame the majority community (not the militants) of triggering the exodus by raising `provocative slogans from the mosques’ especially on January 18 and 19. The pandits observe January 19 as a `holocaust day’.  While it is a sheer exaggeration of facts by the pandits, the truth remains to be dug out.  Surprisingly and contrary to the claims of the pandits, nothing happened on January 19. The people did raise slogans from the 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 an atrocious slogan in the mosque. On the contrary, the Muslims get hyper when it comes to the honour of Islam, mosque and Quran. And, nobody migrated on that night except an army officer from Magarmal Bagh locality. He was escorted to JAKLI headquarters at midnight on the night intervening January 19-20.  A very important person who now heads the Kashmiri Pandit Sangrash Samithi was in Mumbai in February 1990. He wanted to celebrate Shivratri with his family in Srinagar. The festival fell in the last week, most probably on February 26 or 27. He reaches Jammu and hears about the registration office for migrants. He goes there to register himself as a migrant and he is registered as a serial number 46. This means only 46 persons had migrated up to February 26. Meanwhile, a self-styled pandit leader goes to pandits telling them to migrate before March 15. He tells the pandits that the Jawahar tunnel shall be closed after March 15.  The same fellow accompanies prominent civil society members like Sheikh Abdul Kabir, Ghulam Muhammad Bakshi, GM Dagga and others to Qazigund to prevent the 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.