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Letter to the Editor

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The Asian Age, Rough Passage to Secularism

Sir,

This is with reference to the ‘A Rough Passage to Independence’ (Aug 13) by Kuldip Nayar. The purpose of recounting of the horrors of partition seems to remind us that only the people of Punjab (both parts) were the hapless victims of the disastrous partition and its aftermath. Punjabis did suffer the maximum but there were others also whose saga of extreme suffering has gone unnoticed. I mean the victims of Pakistan – sponsored and guided tribal incursion of Kashmir in October 1947. The saga of suffering of the Hindus and Sikhs of Muzaffarabad and Baramulla (a district in Kashmir Valley) for three weeks of brutal slaughter, captivity and cowardly behaviour, especially towards hundreds of defenseless women holed up in a make-shift concentration camp then in ‘occupied Baramulla’ town, has never been documented or told. Actually, the locals particularly the neighbours in both the districts played the villain of the piece. That heart-rending story has been mischievously suppressed by the Kashmir rulers of post- independence era through their fallacious campaign of “communal harmony” among the people of the valley, a calumny that suited the Sultans of Delhi not for any love of Kashmir but for their contrived projection of Kashmir as the “secularist model of India.” Where is that model today?

As for writer’s lament that Jinnah’s secularist vision of Pakistan was spurned by his successors, nobody is so naïve as to forget that for nearly five decades the Muslim League headed by Jinnah struggled for a separate state for the Muslims of India on the basis of two-nation theory.

K.N. Pandita,, New Delhi, August 13, 2007.

Letter to the Editor

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Daily Excelsior – Warning to whom?

Sir,

This is with reference to your editorial ‘Heed this Warning’ (Aug 17). Unusually strong words have been used to denounce ethnic cleansing of more than twenty thousand non-state subject daily wagers in the valley. Also for the first time the DE has conceded the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits from Kashmir in 1990. Perhaps it is the ‘right thing’ to do even if belatedly. But what should have been specifically focused on has not been done. It is not enough to say that more than a lakh of Kashmiris are working in other parts of India and more than twenty thousand Kashmiri students are receiving education in Indian educational institutes. It is tantamount to intimidation, which is not the right thing to do. What should have been earnestly stressed upon was to ask the broad masses of people in the valley to come out on the streets in protest of a very immoral, illegal and ‘anti-human act’ on the part of a segment of recalcitrant ‘Kashmiri leadership’. If the broad masses in the valley are sensitive to violation of human rights by the security forces, as they invariably are, they should also be sensitive to gross violation of human rights of ordinary Indian citizens who come to Kashmir to supplement the inadequate labour force. If there is no public demonstration by the masses of people and their leaders against this’blatant abuse of human rights’ then it has to be accepted that unfortunately the masses and their leaders are accomplices in the act. Where are the leaders of the labourers, wage earners, peasants and ‘deprived sections’ – the Leftists – who enjoy great privileges by grabbing the votes of this very toiling humanity? Where are Karats and Baradhans and Tarigamis?

K.N. Pandita, Jammu.

Jirga Diplomacy

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Read K.N.Pandita’s yesterday’s article Traditional vs Radical – Jirga Diplomacy from Kabul to Kashmir on his Geopolitical Blog.

Migrant labourers in the valley

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By K.N. Pandita

Hundreds of non-state subject labourers have left the valley following the threatening statement of Hurriyat (G) leader Ali Shah Geelani. Latest figures of departed labourers has come to more than a thousand mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

These labourers are poor people from these states and have been coming to Kashmir for many years for manual labour in construction projects and of late on agriculture farms. Some of them would return to their places during harsh winter months but most of them had been staying on during winter as they were able to find work and earn bread for their families. Many of these workers are often accompanied by their families also.

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