NEW DELHI: While efforts are on to rehabilitate thousands of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to flee Jammu and Kashmir during the nineties, countless stories and chilling accounts of the horrors they faced at the hands of Muslim fanatics in the erstwhile state keeping shaking our conscience.
Human rights activist and columnist Sunanda Vashisht had once testified before a US Congressional panel about the atrocities faced by the Kashmiri Hindus during the 1990s. Vashisht, a member of the minority Hindu community from Kashmir, claimed that she was herself a victim of the worst ethnic cleansing witnessed in independent India.
She then narrated the heart-wrenching details about a young engineer named BK Ganjoo, who was was brutally murdered and how his wife was forced to eat rice soaked in his blood.
The young man had concealed himself in a rice container in his attic when the terrorists came looking for him. The terrorists shot him through the container and forced his wife to eat the blood-soaked rice, she told the US panel.
On January 19, 1990, Kashmiri pandits had to flee their homes in the face of threats and violence that they were being subjected to by the Muslim fanatics.
As per the recorded accounts of the Kashmiri pandits who left Jammu and Kashmir, the Islamists had a very specific message for the Sikhs and Hindus. A message which said, "Ralive, Tsaliv ya Galive (either convert to Islam, leave the land, or die)."
While there is no official count of the Kashmiri Pandits who fled the land during the 1990s, according to different estimates, 5 to 7 lakh Kashmiri Pandits left their homes.
The displaced Kashmiri Pandits were left with no choice than to leave their homes and move to other parts of India, particularly to the refugee camps in Jammu region of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
As per a documentary produced by Creative Hindu Alliance and Mohan Wanchoo, testimonies of Kashmiri Pandits who left Kashmir and are now settled in America talk about the horrors they faced in Jammu and Kashmir during that phase.
One among them, Aditya Bakaya, spoke to Zee News about how terrorists shed blood under the guise of demonstrations by Muslim women and stones were handed to small children as young as 6-7 years.
People like Virender Haque, Neerja Sadhu, Shashi Tikoo Ganju, and Neerja Haku are some Kashmiri Pandits who have seen this phase very closely and have suffered the pain of leaving their homes and city. It was revealed that in 1990, preparations were made to make Kashmir slaughter of Hindus. Pakistan TV channels were played in Kashmir at those times. These channels use to run propaganda against Hindus. Now, these Pakistani channels are completely banned in Kashmir.
The above claims have been made by Kashmiris, who used to live in the region in the 1990s and are recounting the atrocities they saw or faced to Zee News' popular show DNA. However, Zee News does not claim these to be facts.