‘Criminal’ silence of majority community responsible for KP ‘exodus’, claims Sandeep Mawa
Srinagar, Mar 17: Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Kashmir Files’ blames directly Muslims for the ‘migration’ of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s. The film is garnering support and criticism in equal terms. Social media is abuzz with the messages of ‘hate’ and videos are viral showing how cinemagoers are spewing venom against a particular community after watching this movie.
There are some Pandits who describe the movie as mere propaganda, however, equally important is that some of the Pandits blame Muslims of Kashmir Valley for the migration saying the majority community remained silent when Pandits left Valley.
Sandeep Mawa, founder of Jammu and Kashmir Reconciliation Front (JKRF) and who runs a dry fruit shop in old Srinagar city blamed Muslims for the ‘exodus’ of Kashmiri Pandits. Mawa’s Muslim Manager Muhammad Ibrahim was shot dead by militants at his shop in Bohrikadal Srinagar last year. Mawa had claimed that it was an attack on him but his Muslim Manager sacrificed his life for him.
When news agency Kashmir News Trust contacted Sandeep Mawa to get his reaction about ‘The Kashmir Files’, he responded: “Everyone suffered in Kashmir, but the ‘criminal silence’ maintained by majority community in Kashmir proved costly for both Muslims and Pandits in 1990. Holy Quran says Majority should protect the minority, but Muslims maintained ‘criminal’ silence. If silence paved the way for the killing of 50 or 500 Pandits, it also facilitated the killings of other people,” Mawa said.
He said ‘The Kashmir Files’ is just the tip of the iceberg of facts. “Bita Karate himself admitted he killed Pandits. Didn’t he kill his friend Satish,” he said.
When asked the data from the Government of India shows only 89 Pandits were killed while the number of Muslims is much higher, Mawa said, “Muslims wanted ‘Aazadi’ that’s why got killed while Pandits didn’t yearn for ‘Aazadi’ and still got killed. My father Roshan Lal Mawa was shot four times in 1990. I was attacked in November 2021 in which my Manager (Muhammad Ibrahim) was killed.”
Mawa said that it is being claimed that Muslims are innocent but I am asking you, how much innocent they (Muslims) are? “Why there is an anti-Muslim wave in France. Are people crazy there? There are some elements in Muslim Community who are ‘terrorists’ and the media promote these ‘terrorists,” Sandeep Mawa claimed.
When asked who suffered the most, Mawa said that he can’t comment but added that Pandits were loyal to their country and suffered immensely. Mawa added that from this year, Pandits will hopefully return to their native land.
Pertinently, as per official data 89 Kashmiri Pandits have been killed during the past over three decades.
In response to a query raised by RTI activist PP Kapoor from Haryana’s Samalkha (Panipat), Jammu Kashmir Police has informed that as many as “89 Kashmiri Pandits were killed in attacks since the inception of militancy in 1990”.
According to the information, “Apart from the 89 Kashmiri Pandits, 1,635 people of other faiths were also killed during the same period.”
Chairman, ‘Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants,’ Satish Maldhar also said that ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie is based on ‘facts’ but it is also one-sided. He said Pandits were ousted in the name of religion but at the same time Muslims were also killed in the name of ‘informers’ and the film is silent on that issue.
“Kashmir Files has ignored the fact that during migration of Pandits, the government of India was run by VP Singh with the support of BJP. That government released top militants from the jail which proved disastrous. Kashmir Files is silent on the issue and in fact, it is a one-sided approach,” Maldhar said.
“When Pandits were asked to leave Kashmir, State and Central Government had been collapsed. Why the government didn’t arrange transit camps for the Pandits in Anantnag, Baramulla or some other place and why Pandits were asked to leave Kashmir abruptly,” Maldhar said adding that after reaching Jammu, the government informed Pandits that they have to stay in Jammu permanently.
“If BJP Government has patronized Vivek Agnihotri’s movie, why then the government is reluctant in declaring ‘genocide’ of Pandits. It was BJP then and it is BJP now.”
Chairman, ‘Reconciliation, Return and Rehabilitation of Migrants,’ Satish Maldhar added that migration of Pandits is a fact but it is also a fact that over 800 Pandit families and Sikhs are still living in Valley. “It is also a fact that Muslims were killed but the Vivek Agnihotri’s film didn’t show this.”
“Instead of relying on films, why the government is not ordering inquiry about the migration of Pandits. Why the government is not ordering inquiry about what happened in Gawkadal, Kunanposhpora, Chatisinghpora. If we believe that we have nothing to do with Muslims, what about Sikhs who are part of Hinduism. Didn’t they were massacred in Chatisinghpora and doesn’t it deserve an inquiry,” Maldhar said adding that Kashmir is his land and he loves the people of Valley.
When asked you are now being called as Kashmiri Hindus and not Kashmiri Pandits, Maldhar said that Kashmiri Pandits are distinct from Hindus as Pandits don’t do ‘Murti Puja’ unlike Hindus.
As hashtag #KashmiriPanditGenocide is trending on social media platforms, and hate-filled videos are making rounds, KNT found an interesting thread from a netizen called Malcolm Urdustani. He writes that it is alarming to see massive misinformation being spread today. Many Hindu ‘fanatics’ are tweeting fake casualties in tunes of lakhs and alluding to a fictitious “Kashmiri Pandit Gen0cide”. He adds that being responsible citizens, it is our moral duty to debunk this dangerous propaganda.
The thread read: “Firstly, there was no “genocide” of 5 lacs KPs in 1989-90. There were not even 5 lacs Kashmiri Pandits in 1989. According to 1981 Census by GoI, there were 124,000 KPs in the valley & it is difficult for they would have even reached 1.5 lacs in 1989.”
“Secondly, the total number of KPs killed over the period from 1989-2004 is 219. The killings were political, not communal in nature.
And this 219 number intentionally excludes the thousands of similar political killings of Muslims, because of which even many M (Muslim) families left Kmir (Kashmir).”
“The militants had a hit list of those people who were popular governmental or influential figures, who they had issued a warning so that they disassociate with the government. The list included the majority of Muslims, belonging to govt service & political parties like NC.”
“ According to Mehboob Makhdoomi- “Communal color to these killings was given by Guv so that KPs temporarily leave Kmir (Kashmir) and he gets an open field to kill Ms (Muslims) to quell the uprising, which is what happened right from the next day when all KPs left, starting from Gaw Kadal massacre.”
“Subsequently, in shady circumstances, KPs were shifted out of the valley overnight on 19th Jan. KPs (20-25% of whom were employed in govt) were told that they will be allotted accommodation in Jammu. Thus, their state-sponsored migration took place.”
“The fact that their migration was state sponsored can be easily verified from Delhi high court docs (documents) too. After facilitating their exit, KPs were provided free land parcels in Delhi-NCR, free housing, government jobs, and getting a monthly pension from last 31 years.”
“Keep in mind, the KPs were no way discriminated or backward before their shifting outside valley. According to Govt data, among the KPs who migrated 26,000 had govt jobs. KPs hardly accounted for 2% of the population but consisted of 22% govt jobs.”
“Has such a planned evacuation & resettlement ever been done for victims of Bombay massacre, Gujarat or M’nagar genocide? In the 90s, there was also an exodus of thousands of Tamils from B’lore. Did they get similar state support? Or is their exodus even remembered?”
“Few yrs (years) back, an old letter, written by some KPs to their neighbors was unearthed. In the letter, they expressed remorse over betrayal & detailed the conspiracy of a planned migration. They also talk about humiliation by Dogras & abt (about) some opportunistic KPs.”
“It is very necessary to put the KP state-sponsored migration in context today. It has long been highly exaggerated & weaponized to call for & justify atrocities against Muslims of India & Kashmir,” the thread read. (KNT)