Genocide of Hindus
DARKNESS AT NOONThe first blow which fell on the Kashmiri
Hindus was the assasination of Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, the member of the
National Executive of the Bhartiya Janata Party. Taploo was widely respected
among the Hindus in Kashmir and though Kashmiri Hindus held diverse views
on electoral politics, they venerated him as an indefatigable champion
of their cause. He was assasinated by terrorists outside his house in Srinagar,
while he was on his way to the local court where he practised as a lawyer.
Tika Lal Taploo was given a tearfull
farewell by thousands of Kashmiri Hindus who accompanied his funeral procession.
The Kashmiri Hindus had given a call for a bandh that day. The Hindu shops,
schools and office-establishment were closed, but the Muslims went on their
work as usual. While the funeral procession, carrying Taploo on his last
journey wound its way through the streets of Srinagar, stones were pelted
The next day, the Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front owned the responsibility of killing Taploo. He was proclaimed
the an enemy of the freedom of the Muslims of the State.
Taploo's death was followed by the
broad day murder of the former Sessions Judge Pandit Nila Kanth Ganjoo,
who had sentenced Maqbool Bhat, a founder, member of the Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front to death. Bhat was convicted of murder and executed. Ganjoo
was killed in the busy market of Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar and
his body lay unclaimed for an hour, weilding gunmen prowled round the place
till the police appeared on the scene.
A few days after, Klashikov terrorists
gunned down another prominent Kashmiri Hindus leader, Prem Nath Bhat. Bhat
too, was a lawyer and a columnist and had returned to his native town of
Anantnag after he had left Kashmir due to the threats and warnings, he
had received from the militants.
After Bhat's death, hell broke loose
in the Valley. Long hit lists were circulated in the villages and the townships
of the valley indicting the Hindus for 'Mukhbiri', or complicity with the
Indian State against the liberation movement of the Muslims. Most of the
Hindus condemned to death, escaped to Jammu along with their families,
usually during the darkness of the night. Those, who ignored the warning,
paid with their life.
A deliberately designed, two pronged
plan to dislodge the Hindus from Kashmir was surruptitiously put into operation
by the various terrorist organisations. Several hit lists were circulated
all over the Valley, in towns as well as villages. The hit lists were accompanied
by rumours about the Kashmiri Hindus, who were found by the militants to
have been involved in 'Mukhbiri' or complicity with the Government of India.
The rumours were deadly mainly because they made life uncertain. To back
up the effect of the hit-lists and rumours, pressure was brought to bear
upon the Kashmiri Pandits by several other subtler methods. Many Kashmiri
Hindus, were counseled by their neighbours, village elders, and even senior
Jamait-Islami leaders to leave the Valley to save their lives. In many
cases, the advice was genuine, but in general, the campaign of counselling
was a part of the strategy to instill fear in the Kashmiri Hindus so that
they took to their heels. In a number of towns and villages, the local
people issued threats from the mosques and spread rumours charging the
Kashmir Hindus of conspiracy and espionage, in order to break their resolve
to stay behind. Larger number of prominent men among the Kashmiri Hindus,
social workers, leaders and intellectuals, were listed for death. Most
of them escaped from the Valley secretly, to avoid suspicion and interception.
In the rural areas of the valley,
cadres of the secessionist organisations and their supporters, almost of
every shade and commitment, the supporters of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation
Front in the vauguard did not hide their hostility towards the Hindus.
At many places, even in Srinagar and the other townships, Kashmiri Hindus
were openly charged of espionage for India. The indictment spelt death.
At many places, the Kashmiri Hindus were assured protection if they embraced
Islam. The more enthusiastic Muslim elements, mainly supported by Jamait-Islami,
used intimidation and pressure to persuade the Hindus to abandon their
faith. In one village, in District Anantnag, a village elder approached
a Kashmiri Hindu woman, a widow, who lived with her three daughters in
the neighbourhood and assured her that there was no danger to her life
or the life of her daughters. As the poor woman expressed her gratefulness,
the patriarch offered to marry her three daughters to his three sons which,
he said, would end the insecurity, her family faced. The helpless woman
recoiled in horror. Depending on her instinct, the woman left her home
at midnight and along with her daughters, trudged on foot to a nearby village,
where her brother lived. The next day and she reached Jammu.