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Daddy, why can't we go to Kashmir?
March 09, 2003
And then a systematic process of 'ethnic cleansing' starts. Your women-folk are raped and assaulted. Your brother and father are killed mercilessly. Your old grandfather, who has spent more than 75 years of his life in this place, is manhandled and assaulted. Your family is threatened with dire consequences. You are forced to follow certain religious rituals. And finally, you are asked to leave your home and hearth within 24 hours. You are given two choices: 1. either leave within 24 hours or 2. get killed within 24 hours. And please keep in mind that these are two choices.
Which one would you choose?
That is not a trick question. Is it? You have two choices. You have to choose one. Which one would you
Why am I asking you to make a choice?
Am I referring to some incident you are supposed to know?
Does it sound familiar?
You don't know?
Well, let me unravel the mystery for you.
The question I have posed to you is the same one that we Kashmiri Hindus had to answer in 1989-1990. That was the time when we were peacefully living in our own homes in our own Kashmir. That was the time when we were peacefully raising our families in our own Kashmir. That was the time when we were living our great culture in the environs of our own Kashmir.
And that is when we were posed the question. We were given two choices: 1. either leave within 24 hours or 2. get killed within 24 hours. And we had to make a choice.
Which one did we choose?
The obvious one.
We made our choices that changed the whole world for us. But for the rest of the world, nothing changed. For the rest of the world, some 400,000+ people from Kashmir valley had migrated to different parts of India. For the rest of the world, it was just another migration.
Let me try to clarify it for the rest of the world that it was NOT just a migration.
It was a mass exodus created and perpetuated by ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Pure and Simple.
Now how hard is that to comprehend?
Other day, my six year old asked me: "Daddy, why can't we go to Kashmir?"
Now how do you answer that question to a six year old? How do I tell her the pain and anguish we Kashmiri Hindus have gone through in last 13 years? How do I tell her that today some stranger has occupied our house in Kashmir because we believe in the religion he does not believe in? How do I tell my daughter that it is not safe for us to go back to our own home because we might get killed in the process? How do I make her understand that the place she is living in and the house she is living in is not her original home? How do I tell her that the home she should be living in is not accessible to her and her parents? How do I ensure that she understands the seriousness of the issue but at the same time does not get nightmares? How do I explain to her all the violations of our basic human rights? How do I tell her how we all Kashmiri Hindus have been virtually raped and violated?
How do I?
That one question which we all had to face in 1989-1990 has in turn raised so many questions for us and our future generations.
And the world seems to behave as if nothing has happened. 400,000+ people have been ethnically cleansed from their places of birth. 700,000+ people have been made homeless. A whole community has been forced to live like refugees in their own country. And when this community asks for its rightful rights, nobody cares. I guess, in the bigger scheme of things, 700,000 people in a world population of more than 6 billion people does not deserve enough attention.
What kind of justice system is that?
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Excerpts of some of articles of that declaration are:
Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
If this is what United Nations proclaim, then:
How come we cannot exercise our right of freedom? I just want to go back to my homeland and I cannot.
How come we don't have rights to life, liberty and security of person?
How come we are subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment?
How come we don't have a right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals?
How come we have been subjected to involuntary exile? This is year number 13 in exile.
How come we have been deprived of our homeland and property?
Is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights just a piece of paper or is it something sacrosanct that should be enforced by the United Nations and its member countries? It is about time that progressive nations take note of the miseries inflicted upon a whole community of 700,000+ Kashmiri Hindus whose fate has been sealed by Islamic terrorism in Kashmir.
I hope I am still alive when my daughter does not have to ask me the question: "Daddy, why can't we go to Kashmir?"