Kashmiri Pandits

A lot has been said about the massacre and consequent exodus of Kashmiri pandits from the valley since the release of Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files.

The film has been an eye-opener not only to those living abroad but also to Indians living in India because the atrocities inflicted on India’s own by militants in Kashmir – were not reported.

The media is equally guilty and the head honchos (of the time) must be named and shamed for doing naught and being complicit in the crime. The coverage was almost negligible, if at all and would not travel outside India to reach global audiences.

In Australia, the mainstream media – usually uninterested in India – can hardly be blamed for its apathy.

Sitting in Australia we would not know the extent and scale of the tragedy inflicted in Kashmir. My editor Dinesh Malhotra fondly remembers a story – a radio play narration of a displaced Kashmiri pandit family’s struggle in refugee camps on SBS radio by Mrs Jaya Sharma some years ago.

“I was driving back to office from a meeting in the city listening to it; I had to pull over and stop on the side of the road, trying hard to control my emotions. It was unreal, very moving”, he remembers.

“Indians in Australia owe a debt of gratitude to Mrs Jaya Sharma former presenter and host at SBS radio for choosing to do what most in the media were turning blind eye to”, he added.

What about the stalwarts and guardians of the mainstream Indian media – who flaunt their US$500 / per story certification of the Washington Post everywhere?

Also read: Kashmiri Pandits move Supreme Court seeking NIA, CBI probe

When shown mirror by this film, they in turn point to – Jagmohan, VP Singh, Farooq Abdullah and the like.

They say those in power at the time should be blamed. Yes, but only for not catching the culprits.

Did they (the politicians in power) order these media houses not to report?

Either way they cannot escape the blame.

And these shameless so-called movers and shakers of the Indian media are now clamoring to do the catch-up, hosting various debates and discussion shows highlighting what has remained unsaid for more than thirty years.

If the present government cannot help resettle these Kashmiri pandits, then, no one ever will. Not only should the Kashmiri pandits and their groups but all Indians – moderate Muslims included should chip in with their contribution to help resolve the issue. The battle in Punjab was only won when moderate Sikhs took charge of Punjab. Moderate Muslims should borrow a leaf from that history book, extend welcoming arms to have Kashmiri pandits in Jammu & Kashmir.

For all those anti Indian thinkers to know, it is too late for them to carry on what had been going on for decades. Even if they manage to hatch a conspiracy to oust Modi which they think is the root cause of all their problems, the horse has already bolted.

Modi may be a factor; it is a small one. The common Indian’s conscience has woken up. They can decipher what went on under various governments.

One can only hope the carnage that followed in West Bengal before and after elections last year and more recently in Birbhum, does not extend to other parts of India.

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