MANIPULATION OF THE MEDIA
Ashok K. Moza
Knowing that these are the facts, then how come these are not well publicized in the West? Is it that West does not have the means to discover the facts or they simply do not have the Interest? Surely it can not be the lack of resources. Since Kashmir is in the news regularly, be it the CNN, the BBC,or New York Times, we would have to rule out the lack of interest as the reason. It would also be paranoiac on our part to believe that Western media has a grudge against us.
This leads us to conclude that the media is being manipulated by the International Islamic Lobby in a manner that news that is unsuitable to their cause gets suppressed and any news that does further their cause is blown out of proportion. Well known lobbying firms and Public relation firms such as Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly have been employed to accomplish this. The manlpulation of the media works like this:
Consider the murder of Maulvi Farooq. He was murdered by the Muslim Terrorists in Kashmir because he supported dialogue with India. Within hours of his murder press releases were issued in all the major capitals of the world including London, Paris, Bonn and Washington. The press releases blamed Indian security forces for the murder of Maulvi Farooq. The Western media carried this version. The denial by Indian Government came too late, lacked punch and did not get wide coverage.
Take the Poshpura mass rape story. Allegedly hundreds of Muslim women were raped by Indian security forces. Again the International Muslim fronts issued press releases in major capitals of the world within a few hours. The Western media carried this version of the story. The whole episode was a lie as the finding of an Independent commission confirmed. But that took several months, By that time the media had lost interest and negation lacked the melodramatic effect of the initial story. But the notion of mass rapes by the Indian security forces persist In the West.
The media is influenced in other subtle ways. The correspondents of various newspapers (e.g. Barbara Crossitt of New York Times) was given guided tours by the terrorists in Kashmir. Her stay In Kashmir or POK was arranged by the Muslim Terrorist fronts. She never took time to visit Kashmiri Pandit Refugee Camps. No wonder these supposedly independent reporters only get one sided version of the story.
Along the similar lines full page ads are taken out in major newspapers in the West (several have appeared In New York Times). As a result NYT has given wide coverage to the Islamlc Terrorists In Kashmir. Their struggle is being described as a just struggle for 'freedom' and 'democracy'.
The media manipulation is a fact that we have to counter. It is eventually the media that shapes the public opinion, which in turn determines the posture of the particular government. Therefore we can not ignore media and we need to figure out ways and means to counter it. It needs to be addressed both at the individual as well as the organizational level. Individually we need to refute any blased news items through Letters To The Editor and Feature articles.
The Destruction af a Community
KASHMIRI PANDITS: EXODUS, 1990
VIOLATIONS OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS
WHO ARE KASHMIRI PANDITS ?The Kashmiri Pandits are Hindus, also known as Batta (but-ta) in Kashmiri. In 1947, they formed about 15% of the population of the Valley. They are the 'original sons of the soil', tracing their origin back to thousands of years, to the very origin of Kashmir ,to the great sage Kashyapa who drained the enormous lake called Satisar and the land that emerged is named Kashmir after the sage. Pt Kalhana's Rajatarangini ,12th Century A.D, the first chronicle of Indian History by an Indian, bears testimony to this story.
Kashmiri Hindus raised almost all 'tirthas' (holy shrines) of Bharat in the valley itself. Thus they have Gangabal for Gangotri, Sangam for Prayag, Sharda, the replica of Haridwara, Koti tirtha - a thousand shrines at Baramulla. They have Bhadarkali in Bhadarkal village, the site of goddess Kali (Calcutta) and they have Khir Bhawani, the holy shrine of Ragnya. Not only that, the Hindus of Kashmir attributed numberless qualities to Vitasta, the river Jehlum of Kashmir, singing hymns in its praise. There is an endless list of holy springs assigned to lesser divinely figures: Verinag Kejnag, Kansarnag, Nilnag, Tarsar, Marsar, and scores of other springs are deeply intertwined in the Pandit mythology and folklore. The Hindu rulers built hundreds of hamlets, bridges and temples, many existing after their names like Letpur by Lalitaditya, Renwor ( Raina Wari) by Ranaditya, Tapar by Tapaditya, Harwan by Shadrawahan, Kanispora by Kanishka, Ushkara by Hovishka and so forth and so on. Kashp-Bhoomi, or Kashmir is so much linked and mixed with the Kashmiri Pandit community, one cannot even think of Kashmiri Pandit being separated from Kashmir.
Every inch of Kashmir valley bears the imprint of the forefathers of present day Kashmiri Hindus. How can they accept their forced exile? The existence and survival of Kashmiri Pandits as a sub-group of Hindus is so closely dependent on their geographical surroundings in the Valley that they will become extinct as a distinct community if they are separated from the Valley for long.
With its liberal and tolerant traditions, the Kashmiri Hindu assimilated, absorbed and integrated the essence of those faiths which came from outside into the valley. The mingling with Islam gave birth to Sufi-Rishi tradition which is an essenlial part of real "Kashmiriat". " Truly was it said that the Pandits and the Muslims were two brothers, pursuing two different faiths in perfect mutual affection, respect and trust." These were the Muslims who could not and did not support Pakistan in its wars with India in 1947, 1965 and 1971.
However, such moderate Muslims increasingly turned into a small minority. The indoctrination which had started way back, from 1947, with the young through Maktabas ( religious schools) and Mullahs from U.P., India, preaching Islamic fanaticism and Fundamentalism, hatred against Hindus and India had began to bear fruit. It was time for Pakistan to change its strategy to wrest Kashmir out of the Indian Union. It started recruiting the young indotrinated adults for training in Azad Kashmir. It trained them, armed them and sent them back to the valley to become a part of the armed revolt which is Pakistan's proxy war, fought with Kashmiri blood.
PAKISTAN'S PROXY WAR TURNS INTO WAR ON PEACEFUL HINDUSThe first targets in this war were the Hindu minority population of the valley. They were seen both as infidels and killing infidels had religious sanction, and at the same time, they being loyal to India were the symbols of India to be obliterated as targets of Jihad against India.
The war, undeclared at first, started on September 14, 1989 when Pt. Tikka Lal Tapiloo, a well known Hindu leader was gunned down in cold blood outside his home early morning. That was followed by several other murders, Justice Neel Kanth Ganju in broad day light outside a bank in Srinagar in November 1989. A well known Kashmiri poet about 80 years old, Pt Sarwanand Premi was kidnapped along with his son from his home; they were brutally beaten, their eyes were gauged out and the two were finally hanged to death. Over 300 well known people from all walks of life were killed in a very short time. The Hindu community was totally struck by panic.
Coinciding with these gruesome events, posters started to appear in Srinagar and other towns asking people to observe strict Islamic codes regarding dress, food and entertainment. Video shops and cinema theaters were forced to shut down their business, and alcohol was banned. Islamic dress code for women was enforced, much against their will. Time on the clocks and watches was changed from Indian Standard Time to Pakistan standard time; even the Pakistani currency was put into circulation in place of the Indian currency. In other words, Kashmir valley had become a de facto Pakistan territory and with each move, public were coerced to give their approval by their participation. Young men wielding guns and pistols began to be accepted as status symbols in Kashmir, and being called a mujahideen became a real 'honor' for the boys and their families.
JANUARY, 1990: JIHAD BEGINSOn January 4, 1990, Aftab, a local daily of Srinagar published a press release from Hizbulmujahdin, one of the major terrorist organizations favoring merger of the J & K State with Pakistan, threatening Kashmiri Hindus to Ieave Kashmir. The Press release declared in no uncertain terms, that those not obeying the directive will be simply annihilated. Alsafa, another daily repeated this warning.
Hysteria about Jihad by Kashmiri Muslims reached a feverish pitch on January 19, 1990 when the JKLF, Hizbulmujahdin and other terrorist organizations declared the introduction of Nizam-e-Mustafa or Islamic rule in Kashmir. Kashmiris were asked to come out of their homes with whatever tools and weapons they had and demonstrate in streets to defy the curfew that the Government had imposed. Street demonstration continued unabated for three days. Jihad became the buzz word in all private and public conversations.
On the night of January 19, all mosques in the valley began to broadcast from the loudspeakers that are used normally for prayer calls, a taped message which ran non- stop twenty four hours for three consecutive days:
" Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, All-ho-Akbar kahna hai"
" Yahan kya chalega: Nizam-e-Mustafa"
And third slogan which was devastating for Hindu morale was the following:
"Asi gachchi Pakistan, Batao roas te Batanev san "
As the campaign for Jihad intensified, so did the campaign of terror against Kashmiri Hindus. Selective killing of known Hindus soon turned into indiscriminate murder of Hindus as a matter of daily routine. Many were killed in a brutal manner in order to terrorize other Hindus. Hindus started getting death threats by phone and by mail. Many found their front doors covered by warnings and death threats and death warrants. In some cases the terrorists simply entered into Hindu homes and ordered them to leave within 24 to 48 hours!
The message of the terrorists to the Hindus was loud and clear: Ralive, ,Tslive or Galive ( Either mingle with us and be a part of us, or run for your life, and if you do neither, then death is your end). Hindu homes became the targets of stoning as well as fire bombing by Muslim terrorists. Hindu women dared not come out of their homes for fear of getting molested or raped. Hindu temples became the targets of fire bombing, grenade attacks and arson. The trauma inflicted on Hindus was not only physical but psychological also. Was it Hitler's Brown Brigade which was torturing them as they did to the German Jews before launching a full fledged campaign to exterminate them? No, the mujahdin's were worse, they were not satisfied with just killing a Hindu, they tortured even a dying victim.
Kashmiri Hindu community was paralyzed by the rapidity with which the events were moving. They were convinced that the terrorists really meant to enforce the three options given to Hindus. They could not accept conversion to Islam and join the mujahdin's in their demand to join Pakistan and be disloyal to India. And the only choice they had was to run for their lives if they wanted to survive. The EXODUS of Hindus had begun. They ran to Jammu, became refugees and to suffer at the hands of bureaucrats and indifferent Government officials.
Today, this community, inspite of its glorious past, its great contribution to Literature, Arts, Temple arhitecture, Science and Philosophy and also to India's Freedom struggle through its illustrious families Nehrus, Saprus, Katjus, Kouls and so on is on the brink of extinction as a community. They are refugees in their own country. Being so small in number, they are no 'vote bank' for the ruling Congress party. The have to go back to their "homeland" in the valley. If present rulers of India fail them in that regard and continue to disregard and ignore them, they have no other option but to appeal to the world conscience for HELP!.
To conclude, the Constitution of India FAlLED to protect the Kashmiri Pandits. The Islamic terrorists VIOLATED all their rights as citizens of free, democratic and secular India, and even as human beings entitled to protection under Human Rights Declaration as promulgated by the United Nations, yet there seems to be no one espousing their cause. Hope this article will enlighten the netters, the US public and politicians about the gross injustice which has been committed by Islamic fanatics, supported by Pakistan, against this small peace loving community.
1. Headlines from local newspaper "Alsafa", Srinagar on April 14, 1990: "Kashmiri Pandits responsible for duress against Muslims should leave the valley within two days."
2. Press release of Hizbul Mujahideen faction of Kashmiri terrorists published in the morning edition of Urdu daily "Aftab" on 1/4/1990. The headlines proclaimed: "The aim of present struggle is the supremacy of Islam in Kashmir, in all walks of life and nothing else. Anyone who puts any hurdle in our way will be annihilated."
3. Hand bill found pasted on the doors of Kashmiri Hindu Homes and the streets of Srinagar by Allah Tigers, yet another terrorist outfit: "Awake and arise Muslims, Run Away Infidels, Jihad is ahead."
HOMELAND FOR KASHMIRI PANDITS
Vijay Kumar Sazawal
To understand Kashmir and the remants of its ancient Vedic culture, one has to learn about its history and by its history only then can one understand the forces of change that are shaping the events of the day. Most well meaning people have come to believe that the current situation in Kashmir is a result of the decisions made at the time of the partition of the subcontinent. Yet others are tempted to fault one political party or the other, implying that the problem is only a few generations old. This incorrect comprehension of the situation is perhaps the most cruel aspect of the Kashmir problem. Kashmir's history, unlike many other regions in India, is well documented. As the saying goes, "Those who do not learn from the history are condemned to repeat it!". So goes Kashmir.
Kashmir's conversion to Islam began with Shah Mir's regime in 1339. Today Kashmir is Islamized. If one looks at the Islamic crescent from Xinjiang province in China to the far reaches of northern Africa, Kashmir is a geographical part of this Muslim belt. On top of it the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in nations surrounding Kashmir, and the determination by the enemies of India to extend the pan Islamlc hegemony to Kashmir and to other non-slavic states of the former Soviet empire puts Kashmir in the vortex of this religious crusade. This paradigm is 650 years old, and it is important to realize that while armies can be won over, faith and belief are a different matter.
Thal is why the Kashmir problem can not be solved by piecemeal solutions that merely overcome the tactical concerns without approaching the strategic goals. For Kashmiri Pandits, the strategic goal is to ensure that they survive as a distinct ethno-religious group in the mosaic of cultures and subcultures that exist in India. As the indigenous people of Kashmir, they have every right to live in their land of birth with dignity and in safety. For India, the strategic goal is to ensure that Kashmir stays an integral part of the country. Equally important, India must ensure that Kashmiri Pandits, who have maintained an outpost of Vedic culture and Indian nationalism in the land of Mohammedans for the last 650 years against the most severe odds and at great personal sacrifice, do indeed survive in their ancient lands to protect not only the nation's integrity, but also its ideals as a pluralistic society.
Today Kashmiri Pandits are on the verge of extinction. Even as late as 1947 they constituted 15% of the valley population. Today that number is down to virtually zero, as almost all have either fled or were brutally murdered in the last few years. The main problems facing the community are not just humanitarian, but also political. The so called Azadi movement in Kashmir is merely a convenient cover for ethnic cleansing, and Pandits are being forced out of their ancestral lands to disperse into the vastness of India so that they will cease to exist as a distinct culture. Ethnic cleansing in Kashmir started a long time ago. It started subtly at first when Hindu religious places and properties were appropriated under one pretext or the other. It was followed by name changes of townS and monulllents. Anantnag, the second largest city in the valley (after Srinagar) came to be called Islamabad. Subsequently, Pandit youth were denied admissions to various professional institutions inspite of their merit and employment was denied to the Pandit community even when the Supreme Court of India ruled in their favor. And finally, it culminated in an open hunting season which emboldened militant leaders like Bitta 'karate' (JKLF cadre) to openly express their joy and pleasure after killing Kashmiri Pandits. Today the refugees are living in squalid camps devoid of any human decency, dying a thousand deaths every day.
The real tragedy in Kashmir is that the history keeps repeating itself over and over again. For example, reading of the community journal from 1840's indicates a similar set of concerns as expressed today, 150 years later. The holocaust of the early 1400's, when only eleven Pandit families survived the Muslim onslaught in the valley, is not only a grim reminder of the past but also a warning for the future.
The homeland is an expression of the innermost hopes and urges of the Kashmiris displaced from the Kashmir valley. It is a natural and instinctive desire of the community to seek its roots, to preserve its identity, and to assert its historical, political and legal rights. Today, more than ever, Kashmiri Pandits need a place, a piece of their valley of dreams, where they can settle down confident that generations to follow can practice the way of life of their forerfathers without fear, servitude or retribution. Just as a home gives a sense of belonging to an individual, so a homeland generates a feeling of roots, a sense of identity and an umbrella of security to its people.
The homeland provides a choice never before made available to Kashmiris, and in particular to Pandits who have lived a life of subjugation and second class citizenry for nearly 650 years. The choice is between the theocratic elements on one side, who pay lip service to secularism but promote religious bigotry that led to the current mayhem, and on the other side the nationalistic elements who would like Kashmir to be treated like any other part of India, where every peace loving citizen can enjoy the fruits of true democracy and true secularism. Homeland will be a Union Territory governed by the provisions of the Indian Constitution without fetters of the Article 370. It will be open to all who wish to live in a secular democractic homeland.
It is important to understand that the demand for a homeland is not an expression of ethnic or regional chauvinism, but one of survival of a community on the verge of extinction. This demand is essential in breaking the paradigm that exists today not only in lhe geopolitical sense, but also in the mind set of Kashmiri Pandits who are resigned to their fate and unable to think or act boldly. The homeland will provide a safe haven for the minorities traumatized by the loss and abuse of their human rights.
A call for the homeland is a reinforcement to the Indian claim to Kashmir which has been the crown of India ever since the Vedic times and the cradle of civilization of which the Kashmiri Pandits are true heirs, defenders and inheritors.
A call for a homeland is a cry for survival among the loyal Indian citizens from Kashmir who have guarded this Indian oputpost of secularism and democracy against the march of pan-Islamic hegemony that has already humbled much larger and more martial communities than theirs.
This is their call. It needs to be understood properly. It needs your support.
PAKISTAN'S PROXY WAR IN KASHMIR
by Dr. Ashok Raina
The Muslim League pursued the division of India based on lhe two-nation theory. It is said that when the idea of Jammu & Kashmir being part of Pakistan was raised, their leadership suggested that they should instead concentrate on Hyderabad, because "Kashmir offered nothing but rocky mountains". When the ruler of the state, Maharaja Harisingh chose to say independent, Pakistan changed it's mind. It mobilized a sizable invasion force of Pakistanis comprised of Afridis and Mahsuds (collectively called Kabailis and known to the cruellest fighters). On October 22, 1947, they marched into the Kashmir valley with explicit instructions that the women and the loot would be theirs to keep whereas, Pakistan government would get the land. The mopping up was conducted by the Pakistani army under the command of Major General Akbar Khan. In Baramulla alone, nearly 3,000 residents were mercilessly murdered. The tales of torture are too horrifying to narrate. As a child I remember how Sheikh Abdullah, the popular leader in Jammu & Kashsmir, mobilized volunteers in the valley to protest against the Pakistani sponsored carnage. The Maharaja sensing the gravity of the situation and with the full support of Sheikh Abdullah signed the accession to India and requested help from the Government of India. On October 27, Indian troops landed in the valley and by November 7, the raiders were routed. Indian committed the most serious blunder by not expelling the Pakistanis from the entire Jammu & Kashmir state before accepting the ceasefire. The result of that blunder is that one third of the state has been illegally occupied by Pakistan for the past 45 years. The area is referred to as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). Pakistan made two miscalculations; allowing the invading army to waste time by indulging in arson, rape and murder and hoping that the Kashmiri Muslims would greet them with open arms, which never happened.
Having failed in its earlier mission, Pakistan formulated another plan in 1965. It trained 30,000 men, including members of its regular armed forces to conduct subversive activities in Kashmir. On august 5, large number of these armed subversives infiltrated the valley and even reached the outskirts of Srinagar. India was caught offguard, but once again the sensible people of Kashmir "betrayed Pakistan" by helping to thwart the invasion. There was no popular uprising and the infiltrators were liquidated. However, Pakistan intoxicated with Americans arms, launched a full scale war on September 1 in the Chamb Jaurian sector. It would have even won the war had Indian not retaliated with full force in the Lahore and Sialkot sectors. Once again the Pakistani plan was defeated.
In December 1971, Pakistan extended the war for the liberation of East Pakistan and formation of Bangladesh to Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan suffered a humiliating defeat and once again could not achieve its sinister plan to annex Jammu & Kashmir by force. In an interview with Fargo Forum (December 1971) a Pakistani research scholar (of Punjabi origin) said, "we never liked Bengalis anyway, and they did not contribute anything to the prosperity of Pakistan". This is probably how Pakistanis feel about Kashmiris. Recently a Pakistani journalist, told me that "Pakistan has no real interest in Kashmir, it only wants to avenge Indian's role in the formation of Bangladesh". On July 3, 1972, Pakistan and lndian signed the Shimla Agreement. The agreement states that the line of control resulting from the December 1971 cease-fire shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either state.
The three wars so far had proven very costly for Pakistan. It became clear to them that in an armed confrontation with India they did not have a chance. Moreover, the next war could involve nuclear weapons and prove much more devastating. In order to win, they would first have to indoctrinate Kashmiri Muslims in Islamic fundamentalism. Thus was conceived "Operation Topac" some time in the early eighties. The aim was to use Kashmiri Muslim youth as the ammunition. After proper religious indoctrination, thousands of them were taken across the border for arms training, and then sent back to cause large scale subversion. Pakistanis were so sure of their success that on February 5, 1990, the government sponsored a strike in Pakistan. People paraded with placards that read, "Kashmir will be in Pakistan". In March 1990, Benazir Bhutto visited a training camp in POK and pledged nearly five million dollars in support of "freedom fighters", still much cheaper for Pakistan than any of the earlier wars. She also emphasized that Pakistan was ready to wage a thousand year war to free the Kashmlri Muslim brethren. Nawaz Sharif the ex- Prime Minister of Pakistan said on May 3, 1992 "Kashmir would become part of Pakistan and thanksgiving prayers would be offered in the mosque of Srinagar." In the Washington Post of April 23, 1990, Selig Harrison wrote "By 1984 the Pak Army's Field Intelligence Unit (FIIJ) was helping to organize the Liberation Front in the lndian held Kashmir Valley. By 1988, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) in Islamabad had begun to set up training camps in Pakistan held Azad Kashmir, manned by retired Pakistani army officers". The BBC reported on May 1, 1990 "The (Kashmir dissidents) are being trained in a variety of modern armaments..., because they were not allowed out of their camps, they were unsure whether it was Pakistan, or in POK, or whether it was Afghanistan". Mushaid Hussain wrote in Ihe Frontier Post of May 29, 1991, "the other approach, which Pakistan has apparently adopted in regard to Kashmir is an 'Afghan Model' essentially a protracted war, which has made Kashmir into a bleeding wound for India...". According to a recent account the security forces in Kashmir have recovered the following weapons from the terrorists: 455 rocket launchers, 474 machine guns, 7,846 AK series rifles, 2,607 hand guns, 8,030 hand grenades, 966 rockets, 1,622 mines, 2,990 kg of explosives, 1,002 bombs, and over 900,000 pieces of assorted ammunition. In addition the terrorists have from time to time claimed possession of Stinger missiles. Most of these arms were supplied by the U.S. to Pakistan for the Afghan mujahedeen.
The events in the subcontinent took a different turn in 1990 when the United States realized that a war betweeen Pakistan and Indian over the Kashmir issue was inevitable and could involve nuclear arms. This was based on U.S. intelligence reports that Pakistan was arming its F16 planes with nuclear weapons. In May 1990, Robert Gates told the Pakistani leaders, "you guys are going to have to stop supporting terrorism in Kashmir". In response, the Pakistani President assured Mr. Gates that the Pakistani training camps for Kashmiri insurgents would be shut down (Seymour Hersh, March 1993, New Yorker). The U.S. State Department released a report on April 13, 1991, which stated "there were continuing credible reports thorughout 1991 of official Pakistani support for Kashmiri militant groups engaged in terrorism in Indian controlled Kashmir.. " However, the problem has not been rectified as evidenced by concerns raised by John Monjo, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. In a conversation with a select group in Islamabad on March 31, Mr. Monjo said "Washington is deeply concerned over Pakistan's support to terrorist activities". Next day most Pakistani newspapers carried the following headline, "Pakistan involved in terrorism, implies US ambassador".
For the past 45 years, the people of Jammu & Kashmir enjoyed full freedom and security as part of secular India. For all practical purposes the Kashmiri Muslims ruled the state as they wished. The ruling elite of Pakistan however, had a different plan. They had decided that the future of the Kashmiris lay in letting themselves be submerged in the intolerant, Islamic theocratic state of Pakistan. Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, chief ot the Pakistan Democratic Party said in February 1990, "my greatest fears come from those who are pleading that Kashmir may be given independence. This could be most dangerous for Pakistan and Kashmir itself". Pakistan once again forgot that a few thousand terrorists will not be able to dictate Pakistan's wishes to the millions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs of Jammu & Kashmir state. We hope and pray that the majority of Kashmiri people see through this sinister plan of Pakistan and avoid further destruction of this land of beauty. In the words of Edward Gargon, "The state of Kashmir is a garden lost to the savagery of war."
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