No matter which Point of view is shown regarding what happened in Kashmir in 1990, the Muslim community will never be happy. And that is because of a simple reason, in any of the POVs, they don’t come across as the Heroes they desperately want to be and for that, they only have themselves to blame.

Movies like Haider and Mission Kashmir made by big Bollywood directors did focus on the Muslims as if Hindus never existed in the valley. But even those movies only ended up showing how Islamic fundamentalism destroyed the beautiful mosaic of Kashmir. They want to show Indian Army as the villains but the operations by Indian Army started after the terrorists backed and trained by Pakistan unleashed horrors that Kashmir had never witnessed before. Majority, if not all the Muslims were high on fundamentalism; a lot of them went for training to POK and came back with arms and ammunition and charged with the idea of creating an Islamic state. Mass hysteria was generated by slogans like – “Yaha kya chalega – Nizaam-e-Mustafa” , “Azaadi ka matlab kya – La illah illa allah”, “Pakistan se rishta kya – La illah illa allah”.

Does that mean, all of them were bad? Of course not, but the fact remains that all of them were guilty in one way or the other. What they are crying about are self-inflicted wounds but what happened with my community, the Kashmiri Pandits, was genocide. And each one of them was complicit in that, one way or the another. Their aim was to establish an Islamic state. Some of them wanted to be with Pakistan while some wanted to have an independent country. And first step towards either goal was to get rid of all the Hindus. And to make that happen, Raliv, Galiv ya Chaliv were the 3 options that we were given.

While Raliv (convert) was something the pandits would never consider, they started intimidating us. The Moulvis used the loudspeakers in the mosques to make sure we heard the slogans that they wanted Kashmir without Pandit men but with the women. Ordinary Muslims used to tease and taunt us at every occasion, some of the taunts were downright vulgar. Needless to say, there is nothing heroic about the intimidation.

The gun wielding terrorists like Bitta Karate and Yasin Malik used the Galiv (Die) method and killed countless Hindus just because “they got orders”. Who was giving these orders one wants to ask but nobody has the answer! And there were many such Bitta Karates roaming around freely with guns targeting Hindus just because they were kafirs. To justify the killings, the Hindus were labelled as mukhbirs (informers) or RSS members. Our judge, jury and executioners were the same. Kidnappings and killings of Hindus became the new sport in Kashmir. The Congress Govt and Lutyens media did try to show these killers as reformed heroes but that is not only extremely unfortunate but a travesty of justice!

And then, there are our moderate Kashmiri Muslims (the so-called good guys). They focused on Chaliv (Leave). These people were our friends or neighbors who we trusted. They started giving us sinister warnings under the garb of advise that the valley is no longer safe for Pandits and it was in our best interest to leave. In some cases, they called a few hours before someone like Bitta Karate was about to carry out an execution. They urged us to leave immediately, even helped us leave and promised to take care of our property until we returned. One wants to know how these good guys always knew who was going to be killed and when! Anyway, they were successful, we thought they saved our lives and fled, leaving everything behind. How heroic is it to be in cahoots with the terrorists and at the same time, have a bit of conscience still left that you convince yourself that forcing the Pandits to leave was the best you could do!

As for our property, our homes were mostly torched or vandalized, some were illegally occupied and then there are the distress sales. The so called good guys who couldn’t completely kill their conscience came to visit us in the refugee camp in Jammu with nadroos and hokh-sun (lotus root and sun-dried vegetables) that made us nostalgic. While we cried, they walked away with property worth millions. A lot of us sold everything we had for pennies, we didn’t have a choice! We needed money to survive in exile, we needed money to make sure our children went to school. Exploiting our tragedy, is that heroic ? I have my doubts.

So, when I see posts/comments from Muslims asking what about their suffering, I honestly think they have not suffered enough. They will continue to suffer in this life and beyond for what they did to us. Making sure we left wasn’t enough, they brainwashed their children into believing that Governor Jagmohan was responsible for our exodus. Whitewashing their sins by peddling the Jagmohan theory does not make them a Hero either!

For 32 years, Kashmir issue has been all about the Muslims as if we never existed. In these 32 years, there are probably just 3 things that can be called milestones for Kashmiri Pandits. Bala Saheb Thackeray’s assistance in 1993 regarding our higher education is monumental. He was the only person who helped us and each one of us is indebted to him and will be eternally grateful. Abrogation of article 370 in 2019 was another thing, although it did not help us directly, we welcomed it whole heartedly. And finally, The Kashmir Files by Mr. Vivek Agnihotri, this is a big milestone as the world can finally witness the horrors we were subjected to in “secular” India. The movie is a true depiction of only a few horrific incidents. There are many more untold stories of brutalities that remain buried in each one of us.

The only heroic thing the Kashmiri Muslims can do is admit first to themselves and then to their children that they had a hand in our genocide. Perhaps their suffering will ease once they admit the truth as the truth does set you free.

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