Kishtwar Riots - The Beginning of Ethnic Cleansing

  • By Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
  • September 2013
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In  just three weeks the Kishtwar riots have entered the penumbra of  media attention. Before they fade from memory, certain points need to  be made.  These riots are a vivid reminder of  expulsion of nearly four lac Pandits from the Valley. Resemblance is  uncanny.  The same Hurriyat leaders who had engineered the  expulsion of Pandits from the Valley have been behind inciting the  Kishtwar riots.

There  were two prominent players involved in cleansing out Pandits from the  Kashmir Valley. Syed Ali Shah Geelani was the Amir of Jamait-e-Islami  which controlled the network of mosques in Srinagar. It was  these mosques that broadcast the message 24 hours a day to terrorize  the Pandits. The message as translated from Kashmiri was: “We do  not want Pandits in Kashmir. We just want their women.”  Its  ominous import was unmistakable. Little wonder that Pandit families  with young women were the first ones to run away.  The other  leader was Muhammad Yasin Malik who led his then underground  group JKLF in carrying out selective target killing of prominent  Pandits. This added to the terrorization and accelerated the exodus.  The Hurriyat has cleverly kept a few Hindus and Sikhs for window  dressing to give their ‘freedom struggle’ a façade of  secularism. These minorities are intended to be kept safe only till  the ‘freedom’ is attained and then they along with the Shia  Muslims will meet the same fate as the Pandits.  Kashmir  Valley is envisaged to become a 100% Sunni fundamentalist State,  another North Waziristan, whenever it suits Pakistan or its acolyte,  the Hurriyat leaders.

The  fact that the Hindus of erstwhile Doda District which includes  Kishtwar did not meet the same fate is thanks only to one factor, the  Village Defence Committees (VDC) that the threatened hamlets and  villages formed.   These were then armed and played a major  role in preventing the exodus of Hinds from that district as also in  keeping the Jammu province safe. No security force can provide  protection to every family in isolated villages.  VDCs did  a commendable job in that role. They not only secured their  villages, but also kept the ‘freedom struggle’ away  from the Jammu province. That essentially kept the insurgency  confined to the Kashmir Valley, despite Pakistan’s best efforts.   Consequently, the VDC were the favourite target of the  terrorists and their overground supporters and they lost many lives.  Under pressure from what India calls separatists but essentially  Pakistani agents, the politicians of the Valley have never been very  sympathetic to the VDCs. Mufti Muhammad Saeed of PDP had in fact  tried to disband them when he became the Chief Minister. .

Now  the Hurriyat which had no presence south of the Valley, has made  disbandment of VDCs a major issue in order, as it says, to remove the  sense of insecurity among the Muslims of the area. That demand is  obviously inspired by Pakistan whose every action since the beginning  of this year points towards the revival of the ‘freedom Straggle’.  The recent riots in Kishtwar have provided them a pretext to rake up  the issue though no VDC had taken part in them. Being located in  villages, VDCs were not even present in Kishtwar town. There was only  one death by gunfire and the victim was one Arvind Kumar. Yet, the  finger pointing at VDCs continues.

Though  the VDCs are the responsibility of the State Govt, the Army has a  vital stake in them. No Army can provide protection to every house  and hamlet in the sparsely populated mountainous region. Nor can the  Army block all the routes of ingress through Pir Panjal into Jammu  province and that province will become vulnerable. Pir Panjal range  also has major infiltration routes from Pakistan.

If  the VDCs are disarmed or their capabilities degraded in way, the  entire mountain population of Jammu province will be at grave risk.  They may have no choice but to escape to the suburbs of Jammu like  Pandits did. That would add to the problem, that Pakistan  deliberately tries to create by targeting the civil population along  the LoC and even the international border. Once a terrorized  population abandons their homes, their return is impossible, just as  it happened in the case of Pandits. All the talk of rehabilitating  them back in their ancestral homes in the Valley is either naïve or  dishonest.  The facts on the ground once created can seldom  be changed. No debates in Parliament and long speeches in New Delhi  will be able to undo the migration. Saving Kishtwar means saving  Jammu province and saving Jammu province means saving India. And the  VDCs are the key to doing so.

The  Author is former  Deputy Chief of Army Staff.

Courtesy  and copyright www.indiandefencereview.com.

Editor  – Hindus have a policy of live and let live, are not born with a  desire that Sanatan Dharam should rule the world. Unlike them,  Muslims are an aggressive proselytizing religion who wants to  dominate public discourse esp. in countries where they are not in a  majority. Every effort of theirs is directed towards controlling the  public discourse, living by their religious laws, retaining a  separate religious identity, owning land and constructions of mosques  (Azaan 5 times a day) such that non-Muslims are always aware of their  presence. Sri Aurobindo said ‘The Muslims, they want to rule India  again’. This was said over sixty years ago. I can see it happening.  Unfortunately, the Hindu is naïve and is unable to understand the  sub-continental Muslim mind.

Also  read
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2. How  many died in the Kashmiri Terrorist Movement
3. Why Secularism is not an Indian concept
4. Tackling scourge of terrorism in Kashmir, Congress-style
5. Arms seized from Kashmiri Militants
6. J&K – Oppressing a Free Press
7. Ladakhis demand freedom from India