Kashmiri Pandits observe 14th September as ‘Balidan Divas’. This was the day when a community ideal, Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, fell to the bullets of religious zealot, outside his home in Srinagar (Kashmir). The barbarism of Muslim bigots continued thereafter and hundreds of the infinitesimal community limbs were martyred. A mayhem was created for this diminutive population. Eventually leading to the exit of the aborigines from the Valley. The day, 14th September, is the day of remembering the martyrs, known, unknown and anonymous. Since exodus the day is observed when tributes are paid to the martyrs. We should have residue of no doubt to believe that community of kashmiri pandits would have extinct but were saved by the martyrdom of the idealists. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) describes the extermination as akin to genocide. We can infer it as similar or parallel to genocide.
According to Government sources 62,000 families were registered at Jammu and Delhi who were forced to leave the valley. These families include 52000 families of a particular community of Kashmiri Hindus. For them (Govt), the people of nowhere, martyrs continue to inspire, to live a dignified life and struggle to regain lost native land. Pandit Tika Lal Taploo was not the only Pandit to be annihilated by a fanatic, believed to be a local boy of his vicinity, in fact he was the first popular leader of the community killed, to create a terror amongst a small society of a particular faith. His killing followed attacks on Hindus, postings of hit lists with names of specific Hindu individuals and various violent chapters. The killing of the community members in India of 1947, as of Kashmir polity, has taken place several times. If we remember 1967 agitation of Kashmiri Pandits, society lost Gopi Nath Handoo on 11 August 1967, Maharaj Krishen Razdan,Lassa Kaul on 27th August, Hriday Nath Mattoo, P. N. Bhan on 3 September,Avtar Krishen Khushu on 4 October 1967 and another who was not identified. They were sacrificial victims to be a part of peaceful agitation to fight against the biased and insensitive governance. Earlier to carnage of Pandit Taploo and others, A. Kumar Ganjoo on 3 April 1987, Pawan Kumar a Shopkeeper (date not available), Swami Kashi Nath, a Pujari on 9 December 1988, Smt. Prabhavati on 14 March 1989 and Pandit Dina Nath Raina on 15 August 1989 were murdered.
Others who fell to the bullets of extremists in 1989, after the martyrdom of Tikka Lal JI, were Nila Kanth Ganjoo, retired session judge on 4 November, R.P.N.Singh, Central Govt. Employee, Smt. Sheela Tickoo, a House wife on 1 November and Pandit Prem Nath Bhat, Lawyer, writer, journalist, ideologue, on 27 December1989. Pandit Prem Nath Bhat Memorial Trust observe the day(27th December) as ‘Chetna Divas’ in memory of the martyr. The Trust also awards armature journalist awards to two journalists or columnists every year in his memory. The 1990 was a mayhem when large number of the community members were subject to lynching, hanging, drowning, slaying, executing and putting to death in in-human ways. The martyred Kashmiri Pandits belonged to the elite society of Academicians, Lawyers, Writers, Thinkers, Poets, Scientists, Social activists and broadcaster. Various figures are given by various organisations or writers about the number of the martyrs. In absence of government computations about the killings of Hindus and Sikhs, some non-government organizations have put the number of killed as 2,500, the figure includes martyred Kashmiri Pandits at 1800. According to‘Kashmir Documentation: Pandits in Exile’, a publication of Panun Kashmir Movement, 311 were martyred up to October 1990. Another organization Jammu Kashmir Sahayata Samiti lists 326 martyrs and claim it to be based on FIRs. Though there are many names declared as un-known. Col. Tej Tikoo Phd (Retd.) in his book, “Kashmir It’s Aborigines and their Exodus” lists 258 martyrs. B.N. Nissar, editor of the Kashyapvani, has a catalogue of 765 Kashmiri Pandits, who were victims of the Muslim extremists. He lists twenty-two raped and killed, eighteen hanged to death, eight strangulated, hundred twenty-four kidnapped and killed and sixty were critically wounded and died for want of medical aid. He has also listed fifty- seven Sikhs killed by the terrorists. Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), an organization based in the Valley, claims 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by insurgents from 1990 to 2011 with 75% of them being killed during the first year of the Kashmiri insurgency, Post 1990, about 1000 families of the Kashmiri Hindu minority community stayed back. The horror in which they were living resulted into three major massacres of 1997, 1998 and 2003, in Sangrampora, Wandhama, and Nadimarg, in which 7, 23, and 24 Kashmiri Pandits, in order, were killed. Sikhs faced the carnage in Chittisinghpura. 35 Sikhs were massacred on 20 March 2000. Enough has not been done to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 1990 mass exodus of Hindus from Kashmir. None from Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) or Hizb-ul Mujahideen has been prosecuted for these killings, although a JKLF killer accepted the killings on media. Either of the governments J&K state or Central Government has not tried to address the issue of the ethnic cleansing and the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits. To date, there has been no judicial inquiry and no prosecution. The Hindus of Kashmir were viewed as living symbols representing India in Kashmir. Sheikh Mohmad Abdullah in his book ‘Aatish-a-Chinar’ describes
Kashmiri Pandits as fifth columnist, that means, a member of a clandestine subversive organization who tries to help a potential invader. A dogmatist, enough un logical reasons were given by him to target Kashmiri Hindu, in order to spread fear among the community to oust them from Kashmir. Labelling them as "informers" and "agents of India” is in violation of the canons of ethics and morality as laid down by the Charter of Human Rights Declaration and several other international agreements.
The genocide of Kashmiri Hindus for the political commitments was pleaded before the “National Human Rights Commission.” On March 7, 1994 a memorandum was submitted to NHRC by a delegation of Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM), All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) and Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi (KSD). The extent of political and administrative mismanagement, unconcern of lawmakers and people in governance, liquidation of Hindus and Sikhs of the Valley was appealed. After hearing the petition for several years, NHRC concluded the appeal by observing, “the commission is constrained to observe that acts akin to genocide have occurred in respect of Kashmiri Pandits and in the minds and utterances of some of the militants and terrorists a ‘genocide-type design may exist against the Pandits”. This reminisces the genocide of Australia, Nazi-Germany, America, Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia and in our neighborhood BanglaDesh. Political Instability Task Force, formerly known as State Failure Task Force, a U.S. government-sponsored research project to build a database on major domestic political conflicts leading to state failures; estimated that, between 1956 and 2016, a total of forty-three genocides took place, causing the death of about 50 million people. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008. Genocide of Kashmiri Hindus is not placed in the list. Still, Amnesty International have mentioned that Kashmiri Hindus were targeted by Armed Opposition Groups in Kashmir. Frank Pallone, a congressman in the US had raised the question of the community in mid-nineties. Some of the names, I am placing on this paper, is to evoke the memories with other martyrs. Sarwanand Kaul Premi, a veteran Kashmiri poet, killed on 29th April, 1990 (Jammu and Kashmiri Cultural Academy observes his martyrdom day) along with his son. On February 2,1990, Satish Tikoo, a young daring Pandit social- worker was murdered near his own house in Habba Kadal, Srinagar. On February 13th, 1990, Lassa Kaul, Station Director of Srinagar Door darshan, was shot dead. B.K. Ganjoo of Chotta Bazar, Srinagar, a Telecom officer was killed on March 23, 1990. Prof. Kundan Lal Ganjoo of SKUAST and his wife Prana Ganjoo were killed on May 7, 1990. P. N. Handoo of Balgarden, Srinagar, Information Officer, Bal Krishan Tutu of Habba Kadal, Srinagar, Agriculture Officer was shot at on 22 June 1990 and died in Hospital for want of medical care. His day of martyrdom is observed as ADEWA day, by the displaced employees of Agriculture Department. T.N. Raina, Jt. Director, Sericulture was killed on June 26, 1990. The Kashmiri Pandits memory with this day is un-forgettable. Balidan Divas reminds the community of its ethnic cleansing and genocide. Worst victims of Kashmir conflict, the original inhabitants of the Kashmir Valley, requires support of the people of India to campaign against the Islamic radicalized society, responsible for the valley turbulence. Our plight should not get unnoticed.