Is the Kashmiri movement communal?

  • In 1947, when communal holocaust had been raging in Jammu, Kapurthala and elsewhere in India, Kashmir Valley was quiet and 5% Pandit minority safe, in the spirit of Kashmiriyat- a composite cultural identity with the glorious traditions of communal amity, tolerance and compassion.

  • In 1990, when Pandits felt insecure given the killings of innocent community members, secular JKLF tried to explain that the killings of prominent Pandits were not communal and merely for political reasons like media bias and sentencing of Butt. Kashmiris came out and demonstrated in support of their Pandit brethren.

  • Joint reconciliation efforts by members from both Muslim and Pandit communities like- Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi and H.N. Jatto - were actively discouraged by Jagmohan. There have been charges that this exodus was encouraged by Jagmohan, who has a reputation for having anti-Muslim sentiments, to enable India to have a "free hand" in dealing with the Muslims in the Valley, a charge which Jagmohan has denied. A thorough, independent enquiry alone can show if this exodus was entirely unavoidable.

  • Communal killings of the murder of sixteen male Hindus in Kishtwar in August 1993 was condemned by the JKLF and the Hizb. They continue to condemn communal killings.

  • There have been instances of Muslims helping build temples for Hindus- an example being the village of Ichhigam, Budgam. [Indian Express, 10 July 2003] Nine hundred Muslim families built this shrine for just eight Hindu families living in this village.

  • Since the 1989 insurgency, whenever there are attacks against minorities, Kashmiri Muslims along with the Hurriyat leaders, have come out and protested the attacks and given support to the minority community, as demonstrated following the recent Nadimarg massacre. The entire Valley shut down on March 25 in response to a call for a strike by the Hurriyet[Kashmir Times, March 25], thus sending a clear signal to the killers that Kashmiri Muslims do not approve of killings of their Hindu brethren and that Kashmiriyat is still flourishing. As Moti Lal, one of the Nadimarg survivors pointed out, "such killings cannot be stopped unless Kashmir issue is resolved. How can our Muslim brethren ensure our security when they are themselves dying?".

  • What is clear:

      1) Kashmiri civilians are not communal by and large. Kashmiriyat continues to flourish.

      2) Kashmiri militant groups like JKLF and Hizb are not communal; they have routinely condemned communal killings.

      3) Those forces which perpetrate these communal killings are interested in tainiting the Kashmiri movement for self-determination with a communal colour.

  • What is not clear:

      1) Who are those communal forces? It could be jihadi militants with an Islamic agenda; It could be Indian sponsored renegades to communalize the conflict. Opinion remains divided.

      2) Only an independent investigation by an impartial agency can reveal the true identity of the killers. Kashmiris have repeatedly demanded inquiry and it continues to be ignored.