Posted on
  • Monday, May 30, 2011
  • Media has never given enough attention towards the situation of Kashmiri Pandits. May be because media and politicians go hand in hand or may be the government doesn’t want the media to expose the truth about Kashmiri Pandits.

    Since partition Indian Government has tried its best to not to let the people belonging to religious minority communities feel alienated. Offcourse! it is a good thing, but in this process the Indian government has neglected one of the gravest issues of India, that is the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits who belong to the majority Hindu community.

    Since late 1980s Pakistan sponsored militancy in Kashmir was on a rise which resulted in polarization of the Kashmiri society and Islamic extremism. Kashmiri Pandits were literally threatened to leave Kashmir and were targeted by mobs and physically assaulted .This public outrage against the Kashmiri Pandits resulted in a huge exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.The population of Kashmiri pandits which was 55% in 1941 reduced to 0.1% in 2001. It is supposed that nearly 400,000 Kasmiri pandits were hence rendered homeless.

    Most of those who left their homeland are still languishing in camps in tents and a few lucky ones have got cement homes with rooms of size 9 by 14 feet. But their situation is like that of the refugees of African countries. There is no proper sanitation, no drinking water facility, no health care facility. Many of them have died due to diseases staying in the camps. These people who are living like refugees are Indians. These people have been pushed to a life without dignity. Almost all of these people had a good home and were living a good life until the situation got worse. These people, the Kashmiri Pandits who have been a part of this country from even before the beginning of Hinduism were kicked out saying that they don’t belong to Kashmir.

    If the above said things would have had happened to some religious minority community then there would have been a huge hue and cry over it by opposition parties, human rights organizations, intellectuals and the media. But why is it that the issue of Kashmiri Pandits didn’t get enough attention by the above mentioned groups/people? Is it just because that they are Hindus? Is being hindu their crime?

    Media has never given enough attention towards the situation of Kashmiri Pandits. May be because media and politicians go hand in hand or may be the government doesn’t want the media to expose the truth about Kashmiri Pandits.

    The demolition of Babri Masjid had gained such enormous media coverage. Has the media ever given enough or even a little coverage to the hundreds of Hindu temples which were burned, desecrated, completely destroyed in Kashmir by muslim mobs? The answer is a big no. Media, if it wants to give attention to some issue, can make a lot of difference. The Jan Lokpal Bill was such a huge success just because it got a lot of media coverage.Then why is it that none of the news channels dwell into the matter to show how horrible the lives of the homeless Kashmiri pandits are. Is it because it won’t generate enough TRPs or is it because the government doesn’t let the media do it. Possibility of government not letting media cover that issue is high, as India ranks a dismal 122 in the press freedom index of 2010 made by the organization Reporters Without Borders. Many movies have been made in India to show the supposed atrocities being committed on the religious minorities in India but has there been a single mainstream movie on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits? No.

    One more question which arises is why is the government mum over this issue? The government acts quickly to issues related to members of religious minorities of India, then why is it that government hasn’t done anything to solve the issue of Kashmiri Pandits? Is it just because not solving Kashmiri Pandit issue won’t affect their vote bank? Neither Congress nor BJP or for an instance any party really cares about the Kashmiri Pandits. All that the Indian government does is make false promise like in every other issue. Now even Yasin Malik, who once was a member of JKLF and has killed Kashmiri Pandits boasts by saying “We're incomplete without the Pandits. They must return”. All that the political parties do or say is just for gaining political mileage.The government has no guts to take on the separatists and muslims in the valley who are against Kashmiri Pandits. The government has become the puppets of the so called religious minorities.

    It is noteworthy to see that none of the humble peace loving Kashmiri Pandits have taken to terrorism . People of minority religions who take up terrorism when interrogated tell that they took up arms because they were not treated well by the government. Naxallites give the same reason for taking up arms. But the Kashmiri Pandits have shown how calm and patient they are by not resorting to violence. They have shown that taking up arms is not a solution. They still languish in camps and cramped houses patiently waiting to return to their beautiful paradise on earth homeland, Kashmir. I salute to the grit and patience of these mighty people.

    I hope the winning of the Panchayat election from Wussan village in Baramullah district where out of a population of 1000 only 11 are Kashmiri Pandits by Asha Jee, a Kashmiri Pandit serves as a ray of hope for the members of her community who are in exodus. Hope this small piece of change leads to a bigger revolution which would bring back the Kashmiri Pandits back to Kashmir and Kashmir regains its glory and peace. May be neither the media nor the government will ever do anything for the Pandits. May be the Pandits have to take up the task upon themselves to return to their homelands.

    Nilesh Vijaykumar

    (Author's views his own. He can be contacted at )

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