The whole nation should apologise to Kashmiri Pandits–Gen. Sinha


KS Correspondent

February 2010 Issue


DELHI, Dec 27: Hundreds of delegates attended the annual national convention of Panun Kashmir at Chinmaya Auditorium at Lodhi Road, New Delhi on Dec. 27, 2009. All the delegates condemned the unilateral submission of the report of the Working Group on Centre-State Relations by its Chairman Retd. Justice Sageer Ahmad to the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir. The resolution adopted at the Conference condemned all machinations to convert Jammu & Kashmir into a Permanent Sphere of Muslim Interests. All the delegates in a unanimous voice warned the Government of India of any compromise on national sovereignty, integrity and secular nation building with the separatists in Jammu & Kashmir. The resolution stressed the imperative necessity of reorganizing Jammu & Kashmir in a way to empower the nationalist forces in the state. The resolution in particular underlined the necessity of creating the Union Territory of Panun Kashmir to the North and East of river Jehlum in Kashmir Valley for the settlement of internally displaced Kashmiri Hindus as a permanent way of reversing their genocide and making separatism in Jammu & Kashmir full of stakes for the future. 

Various luminaries of national repute participated in the Convention.

Speaking on the occasion Lt. Gen ( Retd.). SK Sinha, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that he has a long experience of working in J&K State. He said that his association with Kashmir state dates back to 27th October 1947, when British Govt. sent him there. Sinha said that he belonged to the generation which was thrust to save Kashmir. He was proud that he stood the test and saved Kashmir from tribals.

Gen. Sinha assured the gathering that India was capable to save Kashmir. He said that Pakistan can not grab Kashmir militarily. Equating India as a  Super Power with America, he said that Indian  army can fight in other countries to establish peace. Gen. Sinha said that there was no battle fatigue in Indian army. Indian army is capable to hold Kashmir.

Lt. Gen. Sinha said that the world respects India’s strength, provided India displays it.

Gen. Sinha said that  he was criticised as a pro-active governor.. He criticized Mufti Mohd. Sayeed’s communal and anti-national attitude. Gen. Sinha said that the whole nation should apologise to  Kashmiri Pandits as they were thrown out from their ancestral homes to the plains. He said  although KPs being a small community, they have contributed a lot in the national building process.

Gen. Sinha was critical of the government that KPs thrown out of Valley were called as migrants. They have been dispossessed from their homes, Gen. Sinha said . When I took over as Governor of the State, I visited various migrant camps in Delhi, Udhampur and Jammu. I was deeply moved by horrible situation in Lajpat Nagar where these displaced people lived in curtain partitions. It was raining on that day and the water was pouring on them. He discussed the problem with the then Delhi administration

The situation in Jammu was also quite alarming. A family of 4 persons living in 10’x10- room under tattered roofs give a pathetic look. Kashmiri Pandits were not used to extreme heat conditions of Jammu.

Sinha said that he told chief minister Mufti Mohd. Sayeed to improve the living conditions of Kashmiri migrants. Mufti on the other hand said that he would do everything for them provided they return to Kashmir. Mufti’s argument was if at all living conditions would be improved they would never return to Kashmir . Gen. Sinha said that he told Mufti that these hapless people would die till normalcy would be restored in Kashmir.

Mufti ignored president Abdul Kalam’s suggestion to do something for Kashmiri migrants.

Gen. Sinha said that he waited for  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come to Muthi (Jammu.) Manmohan Sing was deeply moved by the prevailing conditions in Muthi camp.. The Prime Minister took on spot decisions that every Kashmiri Pandit family would be alloted a two room flat.

Gen. Sinha praised ex-Chief Minister Gh. Nabi Azad for his friendly behaviour . He said that he tried to establish Shardapeeth University but it could not materialise as he was branded to bring Hindu culture in Valley.

Criticising the Hurriyat leaders, he said that they were simply leaders of their Mohallas, yet they claim that they are the sole representatives of J&K. He said Mirwaz was desperate to get invitation for 2nd round table conference, which he failed to get.

Gen. Sinha criticised the government for not showing the draft of recommendations of the Justice Sageer to its members.

Sinha said that there was religious fundamentalism in Valley and India should see to it. Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Gillani wanted to go to America for surgery, but America refused to give visa to him. Sinha said that he thought he would go to Pakistan for treatment. It is irony that he was later operated by a Kashmiri Pandit doctor in India.

Yaseen Malik was also operated in India and when he went to Kashmir after operation, he was given a rousing reception. Malik addressed the gathering that  and said that Kashmir is  in illegal occupation of India and appealed world bodies to  impose sanctions on India.

Gen. Sinha advised GoI to shun the policy of appeasement and be pro-active in taking hard decisions  in dealing with Kashmir problem.

Dr. Subramanyam Swami said that he has been closely associated with Panun Kashmir for last two decades. Starting on a positive note he encouraged KPs not to lose heart but to strive and strengthen their struggle. He said that if you read the newspapers of 1940, no body had envisaged that India will get freedom and be divided in 1947. The situation changed to such an extent that Britain had to vacate India and at that time it was the Congress Party with whom they settled the issue. He said, the time is coming when India will understand the importance of creating Panun Kashmir and PK Organisation should survive till that time.

Dr. Subramanyam Swami feared  that granting autonomy will create new problems of different dimensions. He added that we must understand the Muslim pysche. It is not the question of Telengana, Nagaland or Assam, he said and added that Bangladeshi Hindus are suffering because they are in minority. In our country Muslims are at liberty to celebrate their religious festivals but the minorities are not allowed to celebrate their festivals in Muslim dominated areas. What happened to Hindus in Afghanistan, he asked.

Dr. Subramanyam Swami stressed the need for demanding reserved quota for employment for poor and deprived people. It should not be granted to Muslims. By granting reserved quota for a particular minority community (Muslim) is not going to settle the problems. Dr. Swami said “Once the Muslims of Australia demanded their own civil code there, the Australian government told them to vacate from their country. This is how nations act. We should learn lessons from there countries who are ruthless in implementing their laws. Dr. Subramanyam said why India was silent in dealing with Muslim separatist politics citing an example of velore, where Muslim are in majority, they force Hindus to get converted. This all happens in our free India.

Encouraging KPs, Dr Swami said that they should not discard their demand as the situation in the world is  changing rapidly. He advised Pandits not to dilute their demand. He said, “Pakistan is going to get Talbinised within one year as 70% of army is pro-Taliban where two out of seven corps commanders are pro-Taliban. He warned,. “war is imminent and Pakistan will be destroyed,..He said, “India should firmly deal with the militants. We have to be on our toes to strengthen our inner structures and ruthlessly act to change the mindset of separatists.

Sh. G.Parthasarthy the former diplomat while participating in the deliberation, said that he feels fortunate enough to associate with Panun Kashmir.

He said that Indian state was capable to protect and defend its borders, what happened in Kashmir is a symptom of the problem. Pakistan wants to destabilise India. He said that he was told by a German journalist that after Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, Pakistan was trying to extend its borders to Delhi. He said that once a ISI Chief  said in a seminar that their aim was to weaken India from within. He felt sorry that political elite of this country does not understand this. He said things began to change after the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. The Pakistan army began to spread tentacles of Wahabi Islam to Kashmir.. The Pakistanis are using the same strategy in India which they used in Afghanistan.

To face such crisis we should strengthen our internal structures and secondly we should have the leadership strong enough to damage others who try to damage us. Parthasarthy felt sorry saying that India could not produce a leader after Indra Gandhi who had the guts to destroy the enemy..

He said that northern-western province of Pakistan has completely been talbinised. Islamic laws are in force where keeping beard is compulsory, barbar shops are closed, schools, video and films are banned, women are escorted to markets. Radical Islam is creeping in Pakistan.

Sh. Parthasarthy said that Kashmir is a symbol not a cause of our relations with Pakistan. He said that there is no difference between  Farooq. Kathwari’s report of Feb. 2005 and Musharaff plan both seeking division of Jammu & Kashmir on religious lines.. It is an irony that India is toeing the same line.

He said that he was not in favour of buying peace. The solution should come from the people. If India today agree to NC’s demand of autonomy, tomorro’w they have to fulfil PDP demand asking for more and then the separatists’ demand. He advised India to draw a line to stop these things. He said it is ridiculous to think of going to pre-1953 position as it is against the Indian state where the laws of Supreme Court will not be applicable. He advised Indian state not to lower its guard. Musharaff had realised in 2003 that Pakistan has to cool down on Kashmir and the infiltration had decreased. Pakistan Army Chief General Kayani was commander of Murry in 1997 and maximum infiltrations had started at that time. How could India expect something good from the present Army Chief ?

G. Parthasarthy stressed that we should understand that Pakistan is hostile to us. We should shun the policy of appeasement to Hurriyat and tell them if you want something first ask Pakistan to give that part autonomy which is under their control. He advised the Kashmiri Pandits never to give up hope and make enough use of e-communications. He advised Pandits to launch their heritage websites so that coming generations benefit from them.

Sh. K. Govindacharya in his usual eloquence, said that Kashmiri Pandits have suffered a lot and tension is gripping them as they are worried about Indian nation. It is natural that all those persons who are nationalists suffer the same pain as Kashmiri Pandits do. He said that being a nationalist, “I too suffer the same pain. He said what he feels in Kanaykumari is being felt in Kashmir.

He said granting autonomy to Kashmir is one step shot of Azadi. He asked if Isreal surrenders Gazas strip and Jerusalem to Palestine, would Palestine stop militancy. Palestine wants to destroy Israel.

Similarly if India surrenders Kashmir, will Pakistan stop infiltration and militancy. Pakistan wants to annex whole of India and push it to 1280 A.D. He said India has been gripped by defeatism and we have to tackle defeatism not in our discourse but by action. He stressed, “we have to stand and show pro-active military diplomacy. We have to destroy terrorist camps. If any solution regarding Kashmir is taken. GoI should take whole nation into confidence”. He advised Panun Kashmir organisation to do something concrete by changing political system to favour their aspiration. It needs a political will to do so. For that Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan Manch will work neck to neck with Panun Kashmri to change the mindset of Indian masses so that a congenial atmosphere is created which will determine the future of Pandits.

Dr. Ajay Chrungoo in his address said that right from 1947 Pandits were taken for granted and told to stay in Kashmir. In 1953, we were told that special status was a temporary thing. It will finish with the gradual democratization. Dr Chrungoo said that Pandits compromised on every point right from 1947. There is no appreciation at the national level.. GoI legitimised Muslim identity politics by appeasing Kashmiri Muslims at every front.

Dr. Chrungoo vehemently opposed the Justice Sageer Report. He said that we were told deliberations will continue, but unfortunately the report was presented to CM without consulting the members. This is a mockery and nothing else. GoI had been doing all these things arbitrarily. Dr Chrungoo said that there is a contradiction between  how these laws are formulated and how are these compatible within Indian secular ethos. Blaiming GoI of nourishing such acts, Dr. Chrungoo said communalism developed by doing such acts. He said that the arbitrary and unilateral submission of the report of the Working Group by Justice Sageer on the Centre-State relations once again proves how the entire spectrum of political opinions in the state are kept hostage to separatist and smacks of a wilful implementation of Dixon’s formula for Jammu & Kashmir and its communal division seems in offing. Dr. Chrungoo asserted that the rationale for demanding Panun Kashmir is “ the rejection of coexistence by the political class in Kashmir Valley as well as the perpetual compromise of the Indian State with Muslim communalism.

Dr. Chrungoo while, speaking in the second session, warned Pandits of the dangers of decrease in population. He said, “we are bringing end of our existence. We have to adopt three child  norm.

He advised the Pandits to convert their diaspora into their strength. It will be suicidal to return to Kashmir and to accept Muslim hegemony. The situation in India is changing an Pandit issues are being debated.

Lauding Pandits for constructing Ashrams and temples, he said that these all things are meaningful and will help in preserving our culture.

Dr. L.N. Dhar president Kashmir Samiti, Delhi said that there has been a shift in GoI policy towards Kashmir. Now it seems that both India and Pakistan are on the same side. Dr Dhar said,” It is our internal matter and Pakistan has no business to discuss it. There has been no change in the mindset of Pakistan. At present they are facing the internal problems and their attention is towards maintaining peace in Pakistan. Kashmiri Pandits do not feel any positive change as NC, Congress and PDP are behaving in same way as their objective is same.

Dr. Dhar said that Pandits should not feel jubilant in going to Kashmir, rather they should reject these half hearted measures. Govt. sanctioned 3000 posts for Kashmiri Pandits but the state government fixed conditions to the employment which are detrimental to our cause. Warning the Pandits, Dr Dhar said we should not fall in this trap and reject the return module envisaged by GoI.

He stressed GoI to regularise the teachers in Delhi who are working on contract basis for last twenty years and solve the problems of Teh. Bazaari shopkeepers. Supporting the demand of Panun Kashmir, Dr. Dhar said, “It is the only solution to our 600 years long pain and suffering. He said that GoI should sanction all 6000 posts at the present place of residence and not force them to go to Kashmir.

Dr. S.S. Toshkhani emphasised the need to restore and preserve our ancient culture. He said, “Kashmir was the home of music, citing various examples how Kashmiri music was felt in different states of India, but it was diluted with the coming of Islam to Kashmir.. At present we see a hybrid music. The music suffered a lot from 14th century in Kashmir. Dr. S.S. Toshkhani said that music has the highest seat according to Bagwat..

The National Convention 2009 started by reciting the holy verse of the Gita by Swami Niklanand Saraswati.

He told the gathering Kashmiri Pandits are the part and parcel of India. It is hurting that Pandits had to leave Valley and live an exiled life in their own country. He said ironically it happened in a free and democratic India, where Kashmir is an integral part of India. He advised Pandits to find solution by following the path of rightenousness and not by force.

Sanjay Suri, was the guest of honour during the Convention. He narrated his tale of woe when he had to leave Kashmir. He felt sorry that he was not regarded as a migrant. Getting emotional he said that after twenty years, he has been able to find his roots and for that he  thanked Panun Kashmir. He felt peace after twenty years. He stressed the need to educate young about our culture. He volunteered himself to take this mission forward.

Referring his recent visit to Kashmir, he said that he asked a Kashmiri Muslim boy, who was 16, that why these houses were empty. The boy replied that Pandits left Valley of their own. These children were wrongly educated, Mr. Suri informed.

Sanjay Suri said that he belonged to a generation which bleeds for Kashmir but the next generation will be ignorant of Kashmir. He stressed the need to do something about preserving the culture.

Dr. Shakti Bhan artfully gave a slide presentation as to  how the population of Pandits was decreasing. She stressed Pandits to adopt at least two child family norm. She presented the data based on a survey done by Jamia Millia Isalmia in 2003.

The survey reports that there is decrease in the young population of Pandits due to low percentage of birth in these twenty years. There are many reasons for it, as there is no privacy in camps. There has been many unusual disease like diabetes, high blood pressure and early menopause. This has also been authenticated by ML Koul report of 2006..

A felicitation ceremony was also held to honour persons of imminence who contributed to the welfare of Displaced Kashmiri Hindu Community in their respective fields. They included famous Bollywood Actor Sanjay Suri, late Padamshri Sh. J.N. Kaul, Sh. C.L Gadoo former president Kashmir Samiti, Dr. Ashwani Pandita, Smt. Lovely Chandra and Sh. Dhananjay Kaul.

A colourful devotional renditions of Kashmiri Bhakti, folk songs presented by leading community artists including Sh. Pran Nath Koul, Sh. Raj Kumar Kachroo, Smt Lovely Chandra and Sh. Dhananjay Kaul enthralled the audience.

The resolutions where presented by Panun Kashmir Vice Chairman Sh. Vijay Tickoo and the proceedings of the convention where ably conducted by Sh. Kuldeep Raina, General Secretary Panun Kashmir.