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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Open letter to Prime Minister of Bharat Narendra Modi on recent developments in Kashmir

Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

First, I would like to thank the Delimitation Commission for proposing to reserve two seats for members of the Hindu Community from the Kashmir Valley. But we are deeply concerned by the flow of sophisticated weaponry left by American and NATO forces in Afghanistan to Jihadists in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) via Pakistan and the brutal killing of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir during the past week

The National Human Rights Commission in India had rightly called the exodus of Hindus from Kashmir valley as “akin to genocide.” However, in 1990, the then government of India failed to recognize the genocide inflicted on the Hindus also referred to as the Pandits of Kashmir. It is unfortunate but true that the world has remained silent and continues to remain silent towards the plight of Kashmiri Hindus (KH). But all that changed for the better, after the removal of the temporary provisions of Article 370.  Recently, the movie “The Kashmir Files” was released. It is a powerful depiction of the gruesome killings that occurred as a genocidal war was unleashed on Kashmiri Hindus (KHs). More and more people around the world have begun to recognize the reality of the tragedy the KHs went through.

History tells us that the Hindus of Kashmir Valley have been subjected to a series of genocides for the last seven hundred years and the exodus of 1990’s from Kashmir is the seventh one in that series. This time, the community is united in its resolve that the current (seventh) exodus must be the last one. The real issue in Kashmir is not just the safe return of Hindus to the valley but the creation of a safe space that prevents the possibility of a future genocide. This cannot be done unless the perpetrators of terror are punished and the infrastructure that unleashed those crimes are destroyed. A vast number of Islamists have profited from the Kashmiri Hindu genocide, by usurping their homes, lands, businesses, jobs, temples and more. So long as they continue to hold on to such ill-gotten profits, there will always be an incentive to commit such crimes in future as well. We must not reward bad behavior.

It has been more than two years since the removal of Article 370. We hope that the Government of India (GOI) will take decisive steps and officially recognize the Genocide of Hindus in Kashmir. The next logical step in that direction would be to enact a law for the punishment and prevention of Genocide. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Crime of Genocide. The Indian Parliament has ratified this Convention in 1959; however, the commensurate law has not been made since then. Panun Kashmir, a political voice representing Hindus of the Kashmir Valley has prepared a “Genocide & Atrocities Prevention Bill” that has been presented to your office and to the Indian Parliamentarians in 2020. We request your office to take it into consideration.

If the radical Islamists’ dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind is to be crushed, it is imperative that your government takes steps to reverse the Islamization of Kashmir. To achieve that, the perpetrators and collaborators of Kashmiri Hindu’s genocide must be brought to justice and Jammu & Kashmir’s reorganization taken to its logical conclusion. To further that process, we humbly request you to take the following steps:

1.     Declare Kashmiri Hindu (KH) refugees as “Internally Displaced” instead of calling them “Migrants.” 

2.     Formally acknowledge KH “Genocide” at the hands of pan-Islamist terrorists.

3.     Initiate talks with KH and have your administration/GOI reach out to KH political representatives based in J&K.

4.     Set up a tribunal to investigate the crimes against humanity inflicted on indigenous KHs. Investigate and punish those who were directly involved: individual/ mass killings; rape/ gang rape; destruction of temples; destruction / usurping of properties etc.

5.     Investigate those who were at the helm in 1989-90 in Srinagar and Delhi who abdicated their constitutional responsibilities, leaving beleaguered KHs at the mercy of violent Jihadists.

6.     Investigate the nexus of politicians with Jihadist outfits like JKLF.

7.     Declare a package of compensation for each KH household that lived in Kashmir prior to 1990.

8.     Distress sales be termed null and void and those properties returned to the rightful owners.

9.     Establish a “Kashmiri Hindu Heritage Revival and Safety Trust” with Government of India funding to rebuild damaged temples, religious and cultural centers, and shrines. This trust should be operated by eminent Kashmiri Hindus.

10.  Provide special financing resources to the KH community that will help them to establish businesses ventures. This could be zero interest rate financing with no collateral requirements, loan waivers if defaulted in 10 years.

Finally, the full integration of Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan with the Union territory of Ladakh in India, the full integration of Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir into India and further reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir is a necessity. A political enclave in the Kashmir Valley with a “safe space” settlement of all those expelled by violent Jihad, must be the critical next step.


Sanjay Kaul

Director, HinduPACT Task Force on Kashmir

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