21 Years of Pain…. by Deepika Bhan
It has taken twenty-one years for the feeling to sink in. But the reconciliation is impossible. What more can be tragic than losing Kashmir, a home for over three lakh displaced Kashmiri people. Ask the people what ails them, and the only answer is ‘Kashmir’. Over two decades ago, Kashmir was their equal Right. They had houses, lands, good posts and were happy people. Neighbours were more like family, temple bell and mosque azan rhymed together. Eid, Shivratri were celebrated together. It was a picture perfect scene. But then, suddenly dark clouds shrouded the vale and swayed over minds with hatred, contempt and terror. Selective targets were made. Young and powerful were gunned down mercilessly to shatter the confidence.
Terror mounted to such an extent that people were forced to flee valley. The dark night of January 19-20th of the year 1990 can never be forgotten. What happened on this night was the culmination of a serious attack on the secular fabric of the country. Kashmiri mind was divided on religious lines. Kashmiri Pandits and other Hindus were forced to leave. Pakistan’s first step of a vicious plan was successful.
What happened on that night has never been discussed or investigated. There is a deliberate silence on the happenings. Why? The answers are hard to find, but suspicion looms large. Terrorists could not have been so successful, rampageous mobs could not have unleashed violence, loudspeakers from roof tops of houses and mosques could not have a led to a murderous din and terrorists could not have made selective and guided killings, had the local police and administration not mysteriously vanished. Thousands of distress calls were ignored at the state and centre level. It was the ethnic cleansing that took place on that night.
Lakhs fled for life, honour and safety. This was no mean displacement. It was the modern day holocaust. Very recently, Farooq Abdullah admitted the wrong done to the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus. Truth has to come out. There is a strong case of a Commission to be set up to investigate and reveal the bitter truth of 19th – 20th January 1990 night.
Government of India must institute a commission of inquiry to investigate the reasons and designs behind forcing the aborginal Kashmiri Pundits to abandon their ancestral homes so as to take necessary preventive measures that can disintegrate the nation.