The Pandit Tragedy

  • In 1989-90, following the killings of prominent Pandits like Jia Lal Taploo, Neel Kanth Ganjoo and Lassa Kaul by the JKLF for political reasons, the rise of new militant groups, some warnings in anonymous posters and some unexplained killings of innocent members of the community contributed to an atmosphere of insecurity for the Kashmiri Pandits. Though the JKLF tried to explain that the killings of Pandits were not communal, the murders caused a scare among the minority Hindu community and most of the estimated 162,500 Hindus in the Valley, including the entire Kashmiri Pandit community, fled in March 1990.

  • Joint reconciliation efforts by members from both Muslim and Pandit communities 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.

  • An estimated 36,000 Hindu families and 20,000 Muslim families (as of 1993) have fled the Valley and many of them still languish in the refugee camps in Jammu and Azad Kashmir, being displayed by India and Pakistan respectively for propaganda.

  • There are about 9000 Pandits still living in the Valley.[Kashmir Times, March 29, 2003]

  • There have been periodic attacks against the Pandits, Sikhs and other Hindu minorities in J&K, an example being massacre of 24 Pandits in Nadimarg in March 2003, by unidentified gunmen:

      1)What is clear is there are forces which want to communalize the conflict in J&K

      2) What is not clear is Who are those forces? Opinion is divided as to the answer; Many Pandits and Indians believe the gunmen are Islamic militants who want to ethnically cleanse the State of minorities. However, many Kashmiri people blame Indian sponsored renegades for these massacres by unidentified gunmen and accuse them for tainting their freedom struggle.

  • Minorities have become victims of these unidentified communal forces, who do not want the dispute to be resolved.