In an unrestrained attack against the radical Islamic terrorism that has plagued the state of Jammu and Kashmir for more than 3 decades, noted columnist Sunanda Vashisht poignantly recounted the excruciating tribulations and horrors suffered by the minority Kashmiri Hindus in the state at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists.
Here are the 10 powerful statements made by Sunanda Vashisht that held back no punches:-
1. My father is a Kashmiri Hindu. My mother is a Kashmiri Hindu. I’m a Kashmiri Hindu. Our home and lives in Kashmir were destroyed by radical Islamist terror
Borrowing the last sentences said by Jewish American journalist Daniel Pearl before being killed in Pakistan by terrorists-“My father is a Jew, My mother is a Jew, I’m a Jew”, columnist Sunanda Vashisht expressed how the lives and homes of thousands and lakhs of Kashmiri Hindus were destroyed by the radical Islamic terrorism in the Valley.
2. I’m a member of the minority Kashmiri Hindu community and a victim of the worst ethnic cleansing witnessed in India
Talking about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits happened in the early 1990s, Vashisht poignantly asserted that the mass departure of the minority community of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley was the “worst ethnic cleansing witnessed in India” ever. About lakhs of Kashmiri Hindus fled the state and took refuge in other parts of the country. Those who didn’t perished in the onslaught of the violent Islamic terrorists.
3. We have seen ISIS level of horror and brutality in Kashmir 30 years before the West was even introduced to the brutalities of Islamic terrorism
Speaking at the Tom Lantos HR commission, Sunanda contended that the people of India, especially the beleaguered Kashmiri Hindus had witnessed the horrors and atrocities inflicted by Islamic terrorists in Kashmir 3 decades ago that were tantamount to the present-day brutalities meted out by the ISIS.
“I am choked by the thoughts of those voices that I represent here because their voices were extinguished in the most brutal fashion,” she said.
Sunanda narrated the frightening story of Girija Tikoo, who was abducted, gang-raped and split in half with a mechanical saw while she was alive just because of her faith.
In another heart-rending incident, She then remembers BK Ganjoo. Another Kashmiri Hindu who was murdered brutally at the hands of Islamic terrorists in Kashmir. He was an engineer who hid inside a rice container and would have still been alive had his neighbours, who he trusted, Hindus trusted, did not give up his location. He was shot through the container and his wife was made to eat the blood-soaked rice, remembered Sunanda.
4. Where were the Human Rights activists on the night of January 19, 1990, when all the mosques in Kashmir blared that they wanted Kashmir with Hindu women but without the Hindu men
Sunanda said that the mosques in Kashmir on the night of January 19, 1990, sent a shiver down the spines of minorities as they blared that they want Kashmir with Hindu women but not with Hindu men.
Sunanda gave an account of her own story when her grandfather held two knives in his hands, ready to kill her and her mother just to save them from the fate that awaited them if they were captured alive by the radical Islamic terrorists who had proceeded on their nefarious design to expunge the state of its Hindu minorities.
Slamming Human Rights activists, who champ at the bit of accusing Indian Armed Forces of carrying out brutality against Kashmiri people, Sunanda rhetorically questioned their absence when she and her co-religionists were being killed, massacred and thrown out of Kashmir.
5. Every attempt is made to eradicate Hinduism from Kashmir
The Islamic terrorists and their sympathisers in the valley, Sunanda asserts, have done everything in their power to stymie the multi-faith composite culture to spawn in Kashmir. Not only Hindus, but people practising other faiths such as Sikhism and Christianity were also targeted by the rabid Islamists.
6. An Islamist state of Kashmir where no other religions are welcomed and tolerance of any other view is absent is no citadel of Human Rights
Taking a dig at Human Rights activists and those who cite Kashmir as a bastion of secularism, Vashisht asserted that the Islamic State of Kashmir is a place where other religions are not accepted and there is no tolerance towards people with diverse views.
7. Earning livelihood is prohibited in Kashmir because a simple act of earning livelihood will indicate that Kashmir is moving towards normalcy
Citing the recent violence, Sunanda said that the terrorists in Kashmir are unnerved by the fact that normalcy prevailing in Kashmir will detrimental to their propaganda. Sunanda said that traders, Apple orchard owners and shopkeepers were killed by terrorists because they dared to earn their livelihood and wanted normalcy to return in the Valley.
8. Abrogation of Article 370, which has raised concerned across the world, is in fact, restoration of Human Rights
The Human Rights in Kashmir were so far curtailed because Article 370 was in force, Sunanda argued. Kashmir was brought at par with the rest of India with the annulment of Article 370. Prohibition to child marriage, women’s right to own property, granting equality to members of the LGBTQ community were achieved after the abrogation of Article 370.
“Today I am delighted that Kashmiris have the same rights as Indian citizens. If something as serious as a woman’s right to own property and granting of LGBTQ rights to choose amongst many others, has been accomplished through abrogation of Article 370, then it is safe to assume that restoration of the Internet in few remaining districts of Kashmir is not too far away,” she said.
9. The Indian Constitution, which is modelled on the US Constitution, is one of the most liberal documents in the world
Extolling India’s constitution, Sunanda Vashisht said that the constitution of India is the Moselle on the constitution of the United States and is one of the most liberal documents in the entire world. She further added that this constitution, which was being obstructed from being applied in entirety in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is now put into practice in totality after the revocation of Article 370.
10. People of Jammu and Ladakh have been liberated from the tyranny of having citizens of their own country after the abrogation of Article 370
Sunanda Vashisht proclaimed that the people of Jammu and Ladakh have welcomed the decision of the government to invalidate Article 370. She implied that a large section of the population of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state was happy with the central government’s decision.