Wandhama :Betrayal & Injustice

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Last 15 years is a huge time gap in the affairs of this Subcontinent. During this period, so many people ruled the erstwhile Indian Subcontinent now called SAARC. So many wars were fought and proxy wars went on , so many regimes fell , Americans came and started to leave the Afghanistan, Taliban rose and faded, Bhutto’s new generation took over, Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law became proxy PM of India. New coronations took place in Pakistan & India. Tamil issue took a U turn. Bhutan became controlled democracy. India became an IT power. Bangladesh zig zaged to new stage. So much water passed beneath the 2nd bridge of Srinagar and one gets lost that world has changed so fast in last 15 years.

Still Kashmir froze in time as ever before for the lakhs of its refugees scattered the world over!

Biggest change that went unnoticed in J& K in this grand scheme of things was the slow decline of Kashmiri Pandit economy from J&K after their forceed political exodus of 1990. It is said old wounds if not healed on time often catches septic problem.

The festering wounds of political exodus of Kashmiri Pandits often get reflected from their coffee tables to the UN meetings.  Whenever & wherever, it suits the intellectual political class of this country and so called moderate minded people, the issue is used to their convenience.

This year marks their 23rd year of exodus and KPs call it NIRVASAN SAMVAT  23 ( Exile Calendar year 23 ) in their JANTHARIs/ Nyeshpather ( Religious Calendar ).  Fact remains that they may look to have moved on with their economic boom & their education might have carried them to faraway lands but the ringing bells of Tulmulla & Parvat still provoke their conscions and wish to return. What else could have made it possible for this community not to succumb seven exiles in their historic context.

None here would represent any political ideology or blame the majority community of its silent acceptance of his 7th exodus but consider this article as more of a human rights problem in Indian Subcontinent. As India enters its 64 Republic Anniversary, just a day before it: Facebook & twitter were flooded with #KPEXODUS & #Wandhama stories. 25th January represent darkest Day in KP living History 

While as 19th Jan was recollected by famous personalities on twitter and TV but 25th Jan remained a silent mourning by this community world over.  May be most of them had forgotten it but thanks to the new books on exile consciousness , such information gets wide publicity very quickly.

We did an experiment yesterday by putting a page for Wandhama massacre on the Facebook to commemorate the 15th year of this tragedy & events couldn’t have been more than what has surprised this author.  

It was the night of January 25, 1998 (Holy month of Ramadan was on) when the gunmen targeted the Pandits who had stayed put her. The victims had resisted the mass migration of Pandits in early 90s and decided to stay put here despite odds.

The Facebook Page hosted yesterday had lot of active audience and discussion. Many people came and visited , many wrote about it & all of a sudden by evening buzz word spread across the world in this community. By evening , picture gallery , newspaper cuttings of that period & material published during that time was collected and published online.

To summarize, many people raised their fingers towards majority community but many people from majority community claimed utter innocence & claimed the equal victimhood in this crime.  

A Major newspaper reports next day of this Crime in Kashmir

 

{The village Muslim men were in the mosques observing Shab-e-Qadir. Police recorded statements from them. “We came to know about the killings only when our women came wailing,” Abdul Ahad, a villager told the police}
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Any man who would have been to Kashmir will let us know that in 1998 even if gun shot was fired at a distance of 5 KM radius , its sound pierced through ear drums of pigeons but how come the neighbors who lived together for thousands of years couldn’t hear that night. Was it fear or inhuman callousness? Only God can answer this on D Day ?

When GOI officials were approached, they had an easy answer that foreign militia were behind it and they cant trace them. The police later claimed they’d recovered a letter in which an unknown organization “Intikaam-ul-Muslimoon” had claimed responsibility for the killing of Pandits. The letter was tagged to one of the bullet-ridden bodies.Sub-Divisional police officer Ganderbal Showkat Ahmad, who was then Station House Officer of the area told a local Urdu paper that “the case has been untraced as no one was identified as the killer of the Pandits.

I give Govt of India benefit of doubt that they had no official machinery to trace the culprits & bring them to book but the irony is that there has been no commission of enquiry or its report requested by JK Govt ever after or any cabinet member or any legislative unit.

Betrayal of Judiciary , Government & human rights organizations exposes the fault lines of political convenience. This becomes a great reason for lack of reconciliation among communities & resurgence of terrorism in all its forms in kashmir. 

Today as India celebrates its Constitution, I mourn its inability & betrayal in giving justice to lakhs of people who are refugees in their own country.

Veer Ji Wangoo 

<veeruz@gmail.com 

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