Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus

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The Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, who are also called "Kashmiri Pandits," is their en masse migration, or large-scale flight, from the mainly Muslim Kashmir valley in Indian-administered Kashmir in early 1990 in the wake of incidents of targeted violence in an uprising initiated by an organization with generally secular antecedents and the predominant goal of political independence. Some 90,000–100,000 Pandits of a total population of 120,000–140,000 felt compelled to leave, and 30–80 individuals were killed. Many Kashmiri Pandits, part of a minority community allied to India, experienced fear and panic which was set off both by the killings of some high-profile officials among their ranks and the public calls for self-determination among the insurgents, and the accompanying rumours and uncertainty might have been the latent causes of the exodus. The description of the violence as "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing" in some Hindu nationalist publications or among suspicions voiced by some displaced Pandits is thought to be misplaced.


  • On 15 March 1990, by which time the Pandit exodus from the Valley was substantially complete, the All-India Kashmiri Pandit Conference, a community organisation, stated that thirty-two Pandits had been killed by militants since the previous autumn.
  • In absence of government computations about the killings of Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and other Hindus, private agencies and non-government organizations have put the number of Hindus of all shades who have been killed at 2,500 out of which Kashmiri Pandits stand out with a figure of eighteen hundred and odd. The Report submitted to the National Human Rights Commission by PKM has put the figures of killed Pandits at 319 till October, 1990. B.N. Nissar, editor of the Kashyapvani, has issued out a list of 765 Kashmiri Pandits who were brutally massacred. As per him twenty two ladies were raped and killed, sixty-six males were kidnapped and released which included Vijay Koul, director of the Regional Institute of Science and Technology and Dr. A.K. Dhar, director of the Regional Research Laboratory, eighteen were hanged to death, twenty-five ladies were raped and let off, eight were strangulated, hundred twenty- four were kidnapped and killed and sixty were critically wounded and died for want of media laid. No fewer than fifty seven sikhs have been killed. It is said that many a mass massacre of Kashmiri Pandits of Sangrampora dimension was suppressed and not leaked to the press under the instuructions of the then Home Minister of India.
    • M.L. Kaul: Kashmir: Wail of a Valley (1999), New Delhi: Gyan Sagar Publications [1]
  • Kashmir has been an eye-opener for the Hindus if one was needed. In the first part of 1990, more than two lakhs of Hindus, practically the entire non-Muslim population, were driven out from the Valley. Refugee Arvind Dhar testifies: "The aggression has been entirely one-sided. All central government employees (generally Hindus) were asked to leave their jobs, and those who did not were placed on a hit-list. One newspaper (Al-Safab) had a headline in March asking all Hindus to vacate within 48 hours of face bullets"... Syed Shahabuddin declared, along with some moderate Kashmiri Muslims, that the Hindus could come back to Kashmir, and that their property was being looked after by their Muslim neighbours. But the first- hand information of refugee Arvind Dhar tells a different story:"All my movable property has been stolen and my house was burnt a month ago."... Predictably... some papers declared that it was actually the Hindu refugees who were "creating a communal crisis" by fleeing to Jammu or Delhi. In their Newspeak, which calls terrorists militants, the refugees are called migrants, and it is an interesting illustration of the perversion of India's political parlance to see how even the refugees themselves have sometimes adopted this secularist-imposed usage... It is worth quoting a reply: "By advising the migrants, many of whom live in squalor in camps mourning the death of their kith and kin, to 'return to the valley boldly, taking it for granted that they will not be harmed...', Mr. Bazaz is mendaciously suggesting that these hapless people have fled the Valley out of an imaginary fear at someone's instance. The naked truth is that the peace- loving and peaceful non-Muslims were forced to flee... when they found that the goodwill of their well-disposed but unarmed Muslim neighbours... was of no avail to them against the orgies of selective murder, rape and arson perpetrated by armed Pak-trained militants... Considering that even a few gullible migrants, including a lone woman, were recently gunned down within hours of their return, one wonders whether Mr. Bazaz's facile assurance of safety to migrants emanates from his desire to fool the uninformed or to propitiate India-baiters in Pakistan". The kashmiri militants, Bushan Bazaz, Syed Shahabuddin, the Nehruvian defenders of Article 370, they are all, each in his own way, objectively part of the strategy of the anti-Hindu forces on the Kashmir front.
    • Arvind Dhar. Times of India, 6/1/1991. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society, citing Arvind Dhar. [2]
  • McGirk also under-reports the number of Hindu refugees as 90,000 instead of over 200,000; but at least, he acknowledges their existence, till today a rare event in the Anglo-Saxon media... one could have expected a sympathy wave in favour of the Kashmiri Hindus, who were collectively hounded out of the Kashmir Valley in 1989-90. Nothing of the sort ever materialized, if only because most foreign media simply refrained from reporting this event... Hindu NRIs have shown me bunches of copies of their mostly unpublished “letters to the editor” of a variety of media in which they allege gross misreporting on the Kashmir problem... Till the time of his writing, most references to the Kashmir conflict in the international media fail to mention the Hindu refugee problem.
    • Koenraad Elst: Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, Rupa Publications, p. 57 ff.
  • By the middle of the year some eighty persons had been killed …, and the fear … had its effect from the very first killings. Beginning in February, the pandits began streaming out of the valley, and by June some 58,000 families had relocated to camps in Jammu and Delhi.
    • Manoj Joshi, The Lost Rebellion (1999), Penguin Books, p. 65.
  • Almost all Hindus have in recent years been evicted from the Kashmir Valley as a result of jihãd. This particular jihãd has been authorised and financed by Pakistan and other Islamic countries. Clinton’s America is the latest addition to the names of countries actively promoting this jihãd. Of course, America has not called it a jihãd but declared its support of the mujãhids in the name of Human Rights, which means the same.
    • Majumadar, S. (2001). Jihad: The Islamic doctrine of permanent war. ch. 10 [3]
  • The entire Hindu population of the Valley of Kashmir... has been languishing for the last five years in makeshift tents. In the face of inhuman cruelty and terror inflicted by Muslims, these people had to leave their hearths and homes. .... During these five years [1989-94], there have been three Prime Ministers in the country, but not one of them had a day's time or the decency to even visit any of these camps. Why? Because the sufferers are Hindus. The Government of India has not even stated categorically till this day that it is committed to the safe return of these people to their own homes and properties.
    • A. Chatterjee: Hindu nation, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 569
  • We also witnessed firsthand the basic hostility of Amnesty International to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Sunil Bakshi had repeatedly sent invitations to them three weeks before the exhibition. I personally called the head of Kashmir at Amnesty International several times as well as Ingrid Massage, the director, Asia & Pacific Program of Amnesty. First she told us they only reported on first hand facts, I replied these were photographs and statistics which nobody could dispute. Finally, after ten phone calls, she said she had too many files on her desk and that she had no time to come, although the exhibtion was a few blocks from her office. So much for Amnesty's sense of justice.
  • Most of the foreign India reporters borrow not just data, but also opinions and judgments from their Delhi contacts without critically examining them. On top of these borrowed distortions, they themselves also manage to disregard pertinent data which stare every normal observer in the face. Thus, practically every Hindu activist whom I have interviewed between 1990 and 1998 brought up the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, murdered or expelled from their homeland, as a telling illustration of the true religio-political power equation in India. But most publications purportedly analyzing Hindu nationalism in the 1990s manage to overlook this expulsion of Hindus from a part of India. They have to if they want to uphold the image of India as dominated by an overbearing Hindu majority threatening a hapless Muslim minority.
    • Koenraad Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, in: Elst, K. The Problem with Secularism (2007) Chapter 6.
  • By now the complaint that "you secularists weren't half as indignant, in fact entirely uninterested, when a quarter million Hindus were cleansed from Kashmir" is entirely worn out and boring, but only because it remains unanswered and hence in need of being repeated.
  • Where words lose their meaning, people are about to lose their freedom...By this standard, India is in some real danger, for the elite does use some Newspeak frequently... Thus... when Kashmiri Hindus have to flee their homes after reading open threats in the Urdu papers and seeing relatives butchered, they are called "migrants"; but when Bangladeshi Muslims terrorize their Hindu neighbours and then migrate from their Islamic state to India in search of job opportunities, they are called "refugees". This type of inversion of word meanings is part of a wider mind-set of mendaciousness expressed through more ordinary lies, often of breathtaking effrontery.
    • Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 725
  • ..the ethnic cleansing of the near-total hindu population, a quarter-million people, from the Kashmir Valley in early 1990. It remains for future students of political and communications science to describe and explain the unbelievable phenomenon of a world press keeping the lid on this information. [The] New York Times is among the papers which have created the impression with effective consequences for US foreign policy, that the Kashmir conflict is between hapless Muslims and an ugly Hindu state machinery, a distorted impression which would have been corrected to a fair extent if the paper had faithfully reported the undeniable Islamic persecution of the local Hindu minority... But from American journalists and academics, the persistent denial of the forced exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus is inexcusable.
    • Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 753
  • "These victims seek to rectify complicity and silence. They respectfully request recognition, acknowledgment, tribunals, justice and rehabilitation. Recognition is the first step in healing these traumas that impacted families socially, economically, medically and spiritually. This genocide should never be allowed to happen again," the body said.
    • International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom(ICHRRF) , in [6][7][8]
  • Among those who stayed on is Sanjay Tickoo who heads the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (Committee for the Kashmiri Pandits’ Struggle). He had experienced the same threats as the Pandits who left. Yet, though admitting ‘intimidation and violence’ directed at Pandits and four massacres since 1990, he rejects as ‘propaganda’ stories of genocide or mass murder that Pandit organizations outside the Valley have circulated.
  • The Statesman, New Delhi, one of the leading Indian newspapers, carried the following, news item in its issue of July 18, 1991: "At least 1000 people belonging to the minority community Hindus) in the Kashmir Valley were killed by mitts and more than 20 were kidnapped and ‘were still untraced since July 31, 1988" If this carnage had taken place in the US, it would equal to killing one million people out of a total U.S. population of 250 million The havoc that the kings have caused to the Kashmiri Hind community can be gauged by this number. These killings and other atrocities have led to mass exodus of the Hindu community from the Valley. Over 260,000 people had to run for their lives to other cities in India, like Jammu, Chandigarh and Delhi where they are living as refugees It is sad hat not more than 500 households of Hindus are left in the Valley who are now living at the mere of the terrorists. Some of them have to pay protection money to the terrorist “area commanders”
    • Perspectives on Kashmir : the roots of conflict in South Asia by Thomas, Raju G. C 176
  • There were six hundred thousand Indian troops in Kashmir but the pogrom of the pandits was not prevented, why was that. Three and a half lakhs of human beings arrived in Jammu as displaced persons and for many months the government did not provide shelters or relief or even register their names, why was that.

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