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l July 2003 l

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 2, No 3 l

N E W S - F E A T U R E

A Unique Exhibition On "Terrorism" Unleashed  

François Gautier

An exhibition on terrorism, focussing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits in Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, from 18th to 23rd July, 10AM to 8PM.

Do you know these FACTS about Kashmir? Over 4 lakh Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists.

Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country. Terrorism has unleashed in Kashmir a systematic campaign of terror, murder, loot, arson and rape against Hindus in Kashmir. About 70,000 of them still languish in makeshift refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Scores of temples in Kashmir have been desecrated, destroyed, looted. More than 900 educational institutions have been attacked by terrorists. Properties of Pandits have been vandalised, businesses destroyed or taken over, even hospitals have not been spared.

Did you know that this huge human tragedy is taking place in Free India? Kashmir was known as "Sharda Peeth" , the abode of learning. Now the Pandits, the original inhabitants, have been forced to flee. 5000 years of civilization are at stake.

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To advertise, email to: romeet@dailypioneer.com or call + (91) 9820-179-400.THE ROLE OF PAKISTAN IN KASHMIRI TERROR is clear: terrorism in Kashmir is an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda. Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle.

The major dimension of terrorist violence in Kashmir is the terrorists´ commitment to the extermination and subjugation of the Hindus in the state, because Hindus do not subscribe to the idea of separation from India, nor will they allow governance by the tenets of Islam. Kashmiri Pandits have always been in the forefront of the struggle against secessionism, communalism and fundamentalism. Hence this peace loving minority with a progressive outlook became the main victim of terrorist violence.

The strategies involved in the terrorists´ operation against the Hindus in Kashmir are simple: the extermination of Hindus, that is Subjecting Hindus to brutal torture, to instil fear among them in order to achieve their submission. To engineer a forced mass exodus of Hindus from the land of their ancestors by way of issuing threatening letters, kidnappings and torture deaths on non-compliance of the terrorists´ dictates and ensure the destruction of the secular and pluralistic character of Kashmiri Society.

Attacks, molestations, kidnappings, gang rapes of the women folk of the Hindu Pandits to instil fear and humiliation. Destruction and burning of residential houses of the Hindus who have been compelled to abandon their homes. Looting of their properties and appropriation of their business establishments are undertaken to ensure that they do not return. Attachment of the ancestral and landed property of Pandits Destruction of the social and religious institutions of the Hindus by the desecration and destruction of their places of worship. Appropriation of the property of the Hindu shrines.

BURNING BOOKS, LOOTING OF CULTURE is also a very important part of the plan. Kashmir was the crucible of Knowledge, Spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars and saints such as Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created here an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute.

Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on "Sharda Peeth", zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries. 

Commencing 1998, the assault on learning began afresh. How else to erase 5000 years of civilization? The Jammaat-i-Islami, a fundamentalist organisation, launched a campaign to ransack libraries in the educational institutions and flared ban on books which did not correspond to their ideas about man, world and God. The Kashmir university funded by the University Grants Commission and headed by the Governor of the state was denuded of two thousand books including the works of Milton, G.B. Shaw, Shakespeare, H.G. Wells and tomes on Hindu Philosophy. Book-shops were looted in broad daylight at Batamaloo, Srinagar. 

The library of the Information Centre run by Government of India was looted and set on fire. As a correspondent covering India for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the terrible damage that terrorism in Kashmir has inflicted upon people’s lives, their family, their culture, the very fabric of society, not only of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also of the Muslims of the Valley, who after all, are the victims too of Pakistan’s bloody designs.

Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT – Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. The first task of FACT has been to mount an exhibition on terrorism, focussing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, so that the people of Indian who do not suffer directly from terrorism understand what it does to others.

This exhibition, will happen in Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, from 18th to 23rd July, 10AM to 8PM. We need your support and we invite all of you, whatever your class, caste, religion, or ethnic origin, to come and witness it. Come and see the FACTS. Later, we would like this exhibition to travel not only to all major India cities, but also to the United States, England, France and Switzerland, so that the world understands what India has been going through in the last fifty years.

Copyright © 2002-2003 Shyam Lal Watt Foundation

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J & K News - June 2003:  Geelani, Hurriyat, rift widens * 13 soldiers killed as militants attack army camp * Army chief visits Jammu, reviews security scenario * Over 94,000 pilgrims registered for Amarnath yatra * JuM claims responsibility for Lone assassination * No mediation on Kashmir, says US * $3 billion US package for Pakistan * Kargil ruined Kashmir peace plan: Nawaz Sharief * Musharraf wants greater US involvement in Kashmir * Don't compromise on Kashmir, Islamists warn Musharraf * Musharraf refuses to rule out another Kargil