Watch: More Kashmiri Pandits killed after abrogation of Article 370
In a video interview Kashmiri Pandit activist Mohit Bhan accuses political parties of using Pandits as pawns and asserts that Kashmir had shown Indians how to live in harmony, and can do it again
“From 2010 to 2019, not a single Kashmiri Pandit was killed by the militants in Kashmir. The killing of KPs again has only started after the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” a Kashmiri Pandit and peace activist Mohit Bhan told National Herald.
“Abrogation of special status has not helped the Pandit community in any manner. It’s a myth that it helped us.”
He said that Bollywood flicks like Shikara and Kashmir Files only fuel more fire among the already alienated communities in Kashmir. “Such projects are undertaken to get the vote bank back on track. All those who were shouting their lungs out in the cinema-halls, none of them were Kashmiri Pandits.”
“Though the depiction of what was shown in the film was true, the politics over it and the way it was used against another particular community was in bad taste,” Bhan said.
Asked about whether the treatment meted to the minority in mainland India will have an impact on the peace in the Kashmir valley, he said that it is the people of Kashmir who need to show a way to the rest of India.
“In 1947, when India was burning due to communal strife, Gandhiji asked the entire nation to look towards Kashmir where not a single Pandit was killed. Once again, it is the Kashmiris who need to show the Indians how to live with brotherhood and in communal harmony. We (Kashmiris) have done once, we can do it again,” Bhan said.
In a video interview to National Herald, an irate Bhan says that if the Government cannot provide security to Pandits and Sikhs in the Valley, who returned when employment was provided as part of then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s package deal, the package should be withdrawn or Pandits relocated.
While a large number of Kashmiri Muslims were also killed in the Valley by militants, he hoped that Kashmir would set an example to the rest of the country. It is for the majority community to come out and reassure the minorities of their security and protection, he said and hoped that contrary to the rest of the country, in Kashmir the majority community would stand by the minorities.
Bhan, who had left Kashmir at the age of only 9, said that no solution to the question of Kashmiri Pandit will be fruitful till all the concerned parties shun their political baggage. “Any organization who wants to give the minority community justice, besides other communities, should not have any political affiliation. Till politics is involved, no dynamics of Kashmir issue will get resolved,” Bhan said.
Bhan left Kashmir in 1990 when he was barely nine years old, returning finally in July 2019 to his home in Barbarshah area of Srinagar district. “In 2001, after attending a marriage ceremony at my uncle’s place, I started thinking that I must return home,” he said.
Mohit Bhan said that his cousin brothers were killed by militants in early 1990s. “My grandmother died of shock because of these killings,” he said. He left a lucrative corporate job behind in the capital-city of New Delhi to be back among his family and neighbours. “I had every luxury in Delhi but every luxury was futile without your own home,” he said.