A seminar was organized jointly by Vivekananda International Foundation and Patriots’ Forum in the VIF Conference Hall at New Delhi, on 20th April 2013, on the subject ‘ Refugees In Their Own Homeland :Travails Of Kashmiri Pandits ‘.
The seminar was presided over by Shri K.P.S.Gill, IPS (Retd), former D.G. Police and a renowned expert on international terrorism. Dr. Subramanian Swamy was the Chief Guest . Amongst prominent personalities in attendance were Lt. General J.F.R.Jacob (hero of Bangladesh war), S/Shri Prakash Singh ex -DGP of U P, A.K.Verma ex-Chief of the RAW, Shri Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Col Tej Tikku, an eminent author on Kashmir along with many other intellectuals and retired senior officers from the Railways and other services.
Initiating the discussion Shri Ajit Doval, Director, VIF, and former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, gave an overview of the strategic problem. He emphasized that the Kashmiri Pandits are the original residents of Kashmir and Kashmir belonged to them. They must be an integral part in all deliberations on the Kashmir issue at the national and international level, along with others.
D.C.Nath, President of Patriots Forum ,highlighted the activities of the Forum and drew attention to its PIL filed, admitted but awaiting hearing for a long time in Delhi High Court against formation ,findings and implementation of Sachar Committee Report.
A book containing the proceedings of the Forum’s last two seminars on the demographic challenge facing India, was released by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Shri K P S Gill and Shri Ajit Doval.
The newly launched website of Patriots’ Forum was inaugurated by Dr. Swamy .
On behalf of Patriots’ Forum Shri R.K. Upadhyay assured the distinguished guests that the website of the Forum was not just an extra addition to the existing ‘Information Explosion’. It will prove very useful to the netizens because of its strong patriotic flavor and analytical approach to the nation’s problems.
Dr Subramanian Swamy in his inspiring address, complimented the organizers for highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Hindus who have become refugees in their own homeland. He faulted the Indian nation and the government for not doing enough to redress the grievances of Kashmiri Pandits. Lamenting the wrong twist given by the Kashmir Interlocutors appointed by the government to the national viewpoint during negotiations with secessionists , he emphasized that as per the Indian Constitution, not an inch of Indian Territory can be given away by the government, which has been blundering all along from the days of Pandit Nehru inspite of having a cast iron case . If Pakistan questions the ‘Instrument of Accession ‘ signed by Maharaja Hari Singh , its very existence can also be questioned.
He further clarified that Article 370 of the Constitution can be deleted by issuing a Presidential Order, and doesn’t require any constitutional amendment for removing it from the constitution.
The central government can always direct the state government to resettle Kashmiri Hindus in the valley. If the state government dithers , the central government can impose President’s rule in the State under article 356 . To ensure safety of Hindus the government should resettle ex servicemen from Jammu and other places in the state.
Shri R.K.Ohri , a noted author and retired IPS officer, presented his paper ‘Kashmir : A Self Inflicted Wound By Nehru’ through a power point presentation. He traced the history of Kashmir from its origin when Maharishi Kashyap recovered the land from the lake Satisar . The beauty of Kashmir had been praised in great detail by poet Kalidas .
The persecution of Kashmiri Hindus started in 1389 during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan. Later on the historic Martand Sun Temple was destroyed. The Afghan marauder Abdullah Khan Aquasi invaded Kashmir in 1752 and thereafter another era of killing and converting of Hindus started. Shri Ohri recalled the bravery of Guru Tegh Bahadur who saved Kashmiri Pandits from the tyranny of Aurangzeb by sacrificing his own life at the Gurudwara Sheeshganj in Delhi. Subsequently Kashmir was sold by the British to the Dogra King Gulab Singh for Rs.75 lakh after they defeated the Sikhs subsequent to the demise of Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Pandit Nehru committed a strategic mistake by referring the problem to United Nations in 1947. The advancing Indian Army was stopped from capturing two strategic bridges at Domel and Kohala due to the mysterious and premature announcement of ceasefire. The UN, too, made an error by ignoring the Instrument of Accession.
Much before Osama Bin Laden appeared on the scene, Chaudhuri Ghulam Abbas had advocated training of twenty thousand Jihadis for creating chaos in Kashmir, a policy which was later implemented repeatedly.
Shri Ohri pointed out that Kashmiri Terrorism is actually a part of the global Jihad because fighters from 18 Islamic countries had been found participating in Kashmir insurgency. Supported by Pakistani rulers, the jihadi militants killed more than 300 prominent Kashmiri Hindus between September 1989 and January 1990. On 4th January 1990 , through local Urdu newspapers and announcements made on loudspeakers from mosques , the Hindus were given forty eight hours to leave Kashmir. This ethnic cleansing was ignored by the government of India. For more than 2 decades Kashmiri Hindus have been living in terrible conditions. The worst sufferers, however, were the Pandit women.
He insisted that the Government of India should resettle the Kashmiri Hindus in the valley and create an atmosphere in which they can live in peacefully in their ancient homeland.
Dr. Ajay Chrungoo , General Secretary of the Panun Kashmir , in his paper, ’Caught up between Denial and Destruction’, further elaborated the travails of Kashmiri Hindus.
His most important point was that the Kashmir problem is not merely a question of displacement, or Hindus becoming refugees in their homeland. It has wider civilisational implications. The issue should be seen as the problem of the jihadis unleashing a systematic genocide which resulted in ethnic cleansing of Hindus. All signs of previous Hindu civilizational identity are being removed.
Dr. Shashi Shekhar Toshakhani, a veteran scholar of Kashmiri history and culture, in his paper ‘Kashmiri Pandits Grappling with Question of Cultural Identity’ stated that Kashmir was an integral part of the ancient Hindu civilisational space. Now efforts are being made to deny that glorious history and making it look like an extension of Central Asian Islamic culture. Systematically Kashmiri Hindus are being forced to give up their ancient moorings and rich culture. All signs of ancient history of Kashmir are being erased and destroyed. The process is now being given further impetus by the drive to rename most of the ancient and historic sites.
Dr Romesh Raina , General Secretary of All India Kashmiri Samaj ,in his paper ‘Hindu Dimension of Kashmir’, highlighted that the local Muslim population has been in the ‘ War’ mode for a long time. The Stone-pelters, terrorists and separatists are all part of the same waring crowd. Moreover by not questioning the repeated denial of the Hindu identity of Kashmir and allowing destruction of its unique historicity, the Indian media are playing into the hands of alien forces.
Shri K.P.S.Gill enlivened the atmosphere by his inspiring presidential address and offered some very practical suggestions. He felt that the best option was to create a separate Union Territory in the valley for settling the Hindus, and take effective action to stamp out the jihadi militancy. There was an urgent requirement of cultivating an iron will at national level for defeating the secessionists. He gave the example of the Punjab terrorists trying to create anti-Sikh riots across India in order to force all Sikhs to migrate to Punjab and drive out all Hindus from Punjab. Elaborating his strategy to curb secessionism in Punjab he had set up a police post wherever more than four Hindu families were living in a village. Clear instructions had been given by him to all police posts and pickets that in case any Hindu family was forced to migrate the concerned police personnel will be held responsible.
He further revealed that his last wish in service was to be the DGP of J&K, but it was not fulfilled .
The seminar ended with a vote of thanks by Shri R.K.Upadhyay and reciting of the Shanti Mantra.