On the somber occasion of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus day, rather than empathize with the victims of religious cleansing and introspect on the way he abdicated his responsibility at a time of crisis, ex-CM of Jammu & Kashmir Dr. Farooq Abdullah chose to taunt Kashmiri Pandits. Despite full knowledge of the threat which Pandits, who were were hounded out of the valley by an orchestrated campaign of terror using murder, rape & mass intimidation as its tools, face if they return to the valley, Abdullah said,
“They have to realise that nobody is going to come with a begging bowl and say come and stay with us. They have to make the move,”
Here is what Shri Kashinath Pandit, originally from Kashmir where he was a professor and Director in the Center of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University, and who is living as an Internally Displaced Person in Jammu since his exodus from Kashmir valley in 1990, has to say –
I would like Dr. Farooq Abdullah to reply to my simple comment: In 1989-90, jihadi terror surged in Kashmir. At that time Farooq was leading the NC-Congress coalition government. As armed insurgency engulfed entire Kashmir, he resigned and ran away to London to play golf. His ministers, who were no more ministers because the ministry was dissolved, ran away to Jammu, occupied government bungalows meant only for ministers, and engaged official security illegally while living in government quarters illegally. They established secret liaison with the leaders of the terrorist insurgency in Kashmir and then began pandering to secessionists and separatists.
Scratch the secret files of J&K Police and you will find that many militant leaders were even staying with them in their official bungalows in Jammu. Was it not rank cowardice on the part of Farooq and his ex-ministers? They should have stayed on in Srinagar in the Government and faced the threat to the people of the Sate like brave soldiers even if it meant risk to life. History proved Farooq and his colleagues were miserable cowards. Kashmiri Pandits attach no significance to the pontification of cowards.
And Shri Pandit has also responded to another article in mainstream media which tries to paint a rosy picture about Kashmir by highlighting one random instance where an elderly Kashmiri Pandit couple decided to return.
The Razdan couple are following the ideology of late Premnath Bazaz, who was an active member of Sheikh Abdullah’s anti-Dogra rule movement. But when the Sheikh assumed power in Kashmir in 1948, he banished his political opponents from Srinagar who were espousing the cause of J&K accession to Pakistan. Molvi Yusuf Shah of Muslim Conference was banished to Muzaffarabad in PoK. There he passed the rest of his life and died there.
Premnath Bazaz, a Kashmiri Pandit political activist, was part of the Radical Humanist group (also called Royists) who were banished by the Sheikh on the suspicion that Royists were the conduit of CIA (American Intelligence), and on the behest of CPI (Communist Party of India). Hence Premnath Bazaz went to live in New Delhi where he rented a two-room accommodation in Chandni Chowk in 1948-49. There he established direct contact with the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi.
His close friends told me that one fine morning, he came out of his residence clad in Western dress with a tie and hat and a stick in hand ( to disguise himself) and disappeared for the whole day. Next day, a couple of persons came to his residence with large bundles of house appliances, utensils, electric equipment, bedding, furnishing, cooking range etc. and then Bazaz began living like a well to do person. He was no more a banished Kashmiri wretch.
Thereafter his liaison with Pakistan stayed put until his last day. He bought property in Hauz Khas, established a press, and trained his progeny in his own ideology. This is the reason why Bazaz is shown sympathy and favour by Kashmiri Muslims. When in 1994, Amanullah declared ‘Azad Kashmir’ government in exile in Muzaffarabad, he had named Bazaz as the Vice President of ‘Azad J&K’.
Therefore it is no wonder that a newspaper like ‘The Hindu’ gives hype to such stories because it suits their ideological agenda. This is the background of the Razdan couple’s love story with Kahmiri Muslims.
(Written with inputs from Shri Kashinath Pandit, a Kashmiri who underwent the trauma of the 1990 exodus from Kashmir valley)