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You can’t fairly talk about what happened in #Kashmir this week without also talking about the genocide, and ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits. A thread ⬇️
Before I start, this is something I’ve grown up hearing my whole life — I am Kashmiri, my parents are both Kashmiri natives who ended up as refugees fleeing from their homes in fear for their lives, and we are still in close contact with people on the ground.
Yes, the Indian government disregarded democratic conventions this week. Yes, there were better ways this situation should have been handled. But you cannot, and should not, have a legitimate conversation about Kashmir without the following:
The groundwork for the genocide of the Pandits began most relevantly with the Islamization of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah using isolating rhetoric towards the Pandits — calling the Kashmiri Hindu citizens “traitors” and “informers” to the Indian govt.
A mosque was built on the grounds of an ancient Hindu temple. People who otherwise lived peacefully were told “Islam khatre mein hai” (“Islam is in danger”) because of their Pandit friends.
In 1989, the first Pandit was publicly executed — Tika Taploo, a prominent pro-India advocate. His murderers were never found or held accountable, instilling fear into the Hindu population.
Newspapers called for the violent expulsion of the Pandits. Mosques broadcasted calls to murder Hindus. “Thousands of Muslims poured into the streets...shouting ‘Death to India’”.
Genocide and ethnic cleansing began in full swing. Hindu women and girls were raped and killed in front of their families. Pandit men were slaughtered in broad daylight. Fear ran rampant — “If a cat jumped onto the roof at night we would think the militants had come to kill us.”
My dad, the youngest of three siblings, walked both his sisters and his mom individually for MILES to safety, not knowing after each trip whether he or his family would still be alive.
My mom, along with her brother and parents as well as members of our extended family, fled her childhood home on the back of a crowded truck in the dead of night. Before she left, she visited the one spot by a river where she and her best friend spent most of their time.
“My best friend and I sat by the river we visited every day for our whole lives, we divided up all the pictures we had together and we cried — I didn’t know if I’d ever see her alive again.” They’re lucky enough to still be best friends, but thousands weren’t as fortunate.
The day after my mom fled the Valley, she looked to a TV and saw a different friend brutally chopped into pieces after being handed over to the militants. She was 19 at the time.
There were an estimated 300,000 - 800,000 Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley prior to the genocide. Even today, less than 3,000 remain. At best, that’s 1% of the original population. At worst — 0.38% remains.
The majority weren’t killed but displaced. For thousands still living in camps or 1000s of miles from home, revoking article 35a means that they can finally go home to the motherland they left years ago. For many, this is the relief they have been waiting for for over 20 years.
When my mom found the strength to tell me her story, she drove one point home — “I was chased out of my home with guns to my head… but not once did I pick up a weapon and turn it towards anyone.”
Once again, none of this justifies the methods that the Indian govt has pushed. I’m not condoning the communications blackout/ other tactics being employed. It’s simply information presented since I’ve seen very few people talk about this at all. This happened. Don’t look away.
If you’d like more information, please see the following links:


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