A number of threatening posters were noticed in Kashmir which created fear psychosis and once again exposed the vulnerability of the Hindus
Deepak Zazia from J&K
All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) chairman Vinood Pandita has reasons to air apprehension that some forces, with directions from the mentors across the border, have launched a campaign to ensure second migration of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley. After mass exodus of 1990s still some Kashmiri Hindu families are living in Kashmir but in the on-going turmoil, which started after elimination of dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, some elements are trying to throw out the remaining Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley to make Kashmir free from minorities.
When Vinood Pandit aired apprehension he has reasons because a number of posters were appeared in some parts of North and South Kashmir in which threats were given to the Kashmiri Hindus to leave Kashmir.
Posters threatening Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus to leave the Valley have come up, almost overnight, near the transit accommodations for government employees in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The posters have been made on the letterhead of Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam), which is interestingly a competitor of Hizbul Mujahideen, to whom terrorist Burhan Wani had sworn allegiance.
The posters read: “all migrants/RSS agents to leave Kashmir or face death”. “No space for Kashmiri Pandits who want another Israel in Kashmir to kill Kashmiri Muslim”.
Instead of taking serious note of the appearance of such posters, police higher-ups rather sought to downplay it. Superintendent of Police, Rayees Bhat termed it an attempt of some miscreants to create fear among the minority Hindu community, as the Lashkar-e-Islam has no presence in South Kashmir.
Lashkar-e-Islam first made news after they threatened owners of telecommunication towers in North Kashmir’s Sopore area in May 2015. The threats were followed by killings as well. The group which was earlier believed to be a front for Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba was, however, denounced by both the militant organisations after the killings.
Many Kashmiri Pandit government employees who had joined under the Prime Minister’s package last year, had sought transfers to Jammu or other parts of the country some time earlier fearing a backlash in the Valley as already their camps at Haal in Pulwama and Vesu in Anantnag were allegedly attacked by mobs.
Police sources say the posters against Kashmiri Pandits are part of a series of other poster campaigns by lesser known organisations in the area.
However, Kashmiri Pandit families, as well as government employees had sought to migrate to Jammu or out of J&K — they haven’t forgotten the ghost of the 1990s, when “mosques issued declarations that the Kashmiri Pandits were Kafirs and that the males had to leave Kashmir, convert to Islam or be killed…to leave their women behind…”. The 1990s horrible
experience still haunts most of the Kashmiri Pandits when they were forced to leave their homes and hearths due to threats from terrorists.
Due to special Prime Minister’s package, some Kashmiri Pandits have managed to get jobs in Kashmir but for fundamentalist forces it is difficult to digest Kashmiri Hindus in the Valley, so they have started a campaign to throw them out. In July 9 protests, which erupted after killing of Burhan Wani, protestors especially targeted transit accommodations of Kashmiri Hindus at different places. Already a large number of Kashmiri Hindu employees have taken shelter at Jammu but now the
fundamentalists are trying to throw out all the remaining Kashmiri Hindus.
Threats to Kashmiri Hindus have once again exposed the vulnerability of the Hindus, condemned to live a life of anonymity in their own homeland.
Posters created fear psychosis among the minorities living in the Valley, especially in transit camps housing the employees who returned to the Valley in 2010 under Prime Minister’s employment package.
Despite assurances by the police officers to investigate the issue, minorities fear for the worst as the law and order situation is very grim post-Burhan Wani killing with armed
militants openly addressing rallies. During the last one month, terrorists have appeared in atleast half a dozen times in different rallies in which the gun yielding terrorists have threatened the people. This appears to bear eerie resemblance to the situation prevailing in 1989-90 when the administration totally collapsed and militants selectively killed Pandits, leading to an exodus of 3.50 lakh community members.
The threat by the terrorist group could lead to another exodus of community which has fallen victim to Pakistan-aided insurgency for the past two decades.
Things are really bad for the minority community as this time there were specific attacks on the transit camps housing PM package employees. This is a dangerous trend and shows the perils of any rehabilitation plan made in haste by the Centre or State government.
Hundreds of Pandit employees have left the Valley since July 8 after their transit camps at Haal (Pulwama) and Vessu (Anantnag) were attacked.
“We returned to the Valley to bridge the divide but the attack on our camp has left us quite concerned for our safety. Most of us now feel that we took a wrong decision to accept the government jobs under the PM package,” said a Kashmiri Hindu, who lives in Haal transit camp in Pulwama.
After spending two decades in squalid camps in Jammu and elsewhere, 2,000 youth, who volunteered to return to the Valley in 2010 under the employment package, and non-migrant Hindus are rattled by recent violence.
Posters threatening Kashmiri Hindus appeared after some organisation had issued directions to girls not to drive scooty on the road. Recently, a hitherto unheard organisation, which calls itself “Sang Baaz Association Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Kashmir” issued a “Taliban-style” diktat against women and shopkeepers in the valley. The chilling warning, issued through posters threatens the Kashmiri girls of death if they would be seen driving their two-wheelers on the streets.
“We request all girls, Please do not use Scooty. If we see any girl who rides Scooty, we will burn the Scooty as well as the girl.” They issued a ‘last warning’ against shops, banks and commercial establishments against opening them “till the end of this fight.” This is for the first time, the fringe groups otherwise only known for stone-pelting at Indian Army during protests have come out with such a stern warning.