On January 19,1990 Jagmohan Malhotra was appointed as the 5th Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to contain the armed uprising which Kashmiris had launched against the Indian state and was at its peak.The Man with multiple massacres into his account was also the facilitator of “Pandit Migration” from the valley.
Jagmohan wanted Kashmiri Pandits to be out of the valley for some time so that he could kill as many Kashmiris as possible in order to create fear among the Kashmiris and to curb the freedom sentiment, as he was asked to do and later awarded*.
This evil plan orchestrated by the state later proved to be a bruising experience Kashmiri Pandits.
Like in other parts of Kashmir, village Pandits in our locality too became the victims of this unholy contrive.Pandits were living dominantly Village Hall located some 10 km from Pulwama on Pulwama Shopian road.They also left the village with the hope that they would return after a month’s period.There were almost 100 Pandit families in the village all but five stayed.
Soon after the Pandits left, Indian forces occupied their houses/Land and established a military base which is still present in the village. Not only they took control of their property but resorted to looting and plundered everything whatever they found (including the copper utensils/vessels) in the abandoned houses.
Pandit Omkar Nath, a retired government employee, is one among the few who stayed in the village and didn’t migrate.According to Pandit Omkar Nath, no one threatened the Pandits here and those who migrated left on their own. They only took a few belongings with them because they were very optimistic about their return.
“We are living in peace here, even in 90’s when the armed insurgency was at its peak and majority of our brethren had left the village, armed fighters would visit us and ask if we need anything, sometimes they would help us in the paddy fields too”.
We never felt alone although we are the only family now living in the village.There is no discrimination against us.We are happy. Why should I defame my Muslim brothers when they did nothing wrong with us, said Omkar Nath who now lives with his two sons in the village.
Last year when the idea of separate pandit colonies was discussed, one of the clusters was identified in this village; besides this, there is already a Pandit housing colony which has been allotted to employed Kashmiri migrant Pandits, but Pandit Omkar Nath never thought of moving out.
“We don’t care, whether this part will become India or Pakistan. This is our Place and we are not going anywhere” averred Pandit Omkar when I asked him about the current political situation in Kashmir.
The Nath family is a living example of Kashmir’s rich ethnic diversity and tolerance and is a slap on those radical faces who leave no stone unturned to malign Kashmiris and defame the peaceful freedom struggle.
*In 2016 Jagmohan was awarded Padma Vibhushan, second highest civilian honour in India.
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