Targeted killing of Sh Ajay Pandita who was democratically elected sarpanch from Lukbhawan in District Anantnag of JK on 8th June 2020 evening by the islamist jihadis sent the displaced Pandit’s and nationalist community into a severe shock. This murder reminded them of the horrors which preceded the genocide on Kashmiri Hindus in early 90’s where half a million Kashmiri Hindus were subjected to ethnic cleansing. The killing of Sh Ajay Pandita who was a congress grassroot politician was to convey a broader message to the displaced community that their presence in Kashmir is unacceptable. Jihadi enterprise was not happy with the work done by martyred sarpanch as they would like Kashmir to suffer more so that it becomes a fertile ground to recruit more terrorists in their rank and file to keep the turmoil alive.
Martyr Ajay Pandita had shown great resilience and strength of character as he had returned to Kashmir way back in 1997 and had constructed his own house and tended his orchids. So, in all these years he was part and parcel of the social milieu of the valley. He never waited for the normalcy to return to Kashmir nor did he wait for any government job or help in returning to the valley. He planned as per his instincts and thought that by returning to valley he would be a bridge between the two communities. This, he felt, would facilitate the return of Pandits safely among the Muslim majority. But his gruesome murder proved otherwise.
Soon after the killing of Ajay Pandita, the Pakistan-backed TRF claimed responsibility for the attack on Pandita by releasing a statement, “No political stooge/collaborator who stands alongside the occupational regime will be spared. Ajay Pandita Sarpanch was one of these political leeches who tarnish the image of Jammu and Kashmir. These are the main reasons for our occupational regimes to stay on our land the JK.”
These statements are like ones which Hindus could relate to 1990 when local newspapers published threatening posts on the behest of the terrorists to intimidate Hindus and to force them to leave Kashmir. Those who would defy such orders and continued to stay back were mercilessly killed. The killings of Wandhama, Chattisinghpora and Nadimarg bear testimony to this fact. This brings back the fact that Kashmir terrorism is still fully conceived, controlled and sponsored by evil state Pakistan with the active support of local separatist stooges.
Radicalization and Terror Eco system
The cold-blooded murder of Ajay Pandita was justified by the local cabal of separatists, journalists, elite civil society as another usual killing of a sarpanch due to rivalry between local politicians. They continued to make moral equivalence between some Muslim sarpanch killings and that of Ajay Pandita as if to convey that this is a new normal in Kashmir and anyone championing the cause of democracy shall meet the similar fate. This narrative is to provide a cover to jihadis and to build an eco-system where such killings look like a part and parcel of the so-called freedom struggle. It is this cabal along with nexus among bureaucrat’s, separatist, politicians, civil society, businessmen and journalists who ensure that the radicalization continues, and the society is Progressively Islamised and nurtured to keep the jihadi movement alive and thriving.
Post neutralization of Article 370 & 35A the central government should have strongly dealt with this nexus, but unfortunately the over ground workers are still free as no action has been taken against them. Unless central government does not take strong measures and inflict cost on the terror network till then the radicalization cannot be stopped, and situation cannot be retrieved in national interest.
Safety of Employees
The safety of remaining Pandit employees in Kashmir is a matter of concern. The few thousand employees who are working there under tough conditions are at the mercy of jihadi elements. They are exposed to threats, anti-India vilification and hatred quite often. These employees are living a life of servitude under the radicalized society who ridicule them on their patriotism or religious beliefs. Few incidents have come up every now and then and the safety and security of these vulnerable people should be the main priority. If these few thousands are not provided the adequate security by the administration, then all talk of return of lakhs of displaced Hindus back to valley shall turn out to be a pipe dream.
Punishment &Restorative Measures
The administration should make all out efforts to identify the jihadi killers and their over-ground supporters and punish them adequately so that the confidence of the displaced community is bolstered. Repeated requests have been made to the central government over the years to officially recognize the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. Unless this restorative measure is taken and perpetrators not brought to justice, till then the lives of Hindus in Kashmir would be at the mercy of jihadi cabal who can easily kill and run away with impunity. Thus, a commission can be constituted like the one at Nuremberg to safeguard the human rights of left-over Pandits which shall also act as a deterrent against such future events. Only by strong laws and working in national interest we shall be able to prevent future refoulment’s of Hindus from Kashmir.
–Sunil Raina Rajanaka