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‘They killed my sister’s son and threw his severed head on the front yard’: Kashmiri Hindu woman recalls the brutalities her family faced

The woman named Sarla stated that she and her husband had tried to go back to their house in Kashmir a few days after Jan 19, 1990. But the situation was so hostile and dangerous that they could not even stay a single night, and barely managed to escape.

Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files, a movie that depicts the atrocities and brutality inflicted on Kashmiri Hindus that had been converted up or denied for all these years, has really pulled on the heartstrings of all those victims who have until now, kept their past enshrouded. Since the heartwrenching film’s release, many families of Kashmiri Hindu victims have come forward to recount the pain, suffering, struggle and trauma of their loved ones, who fall prey to the Islamic terror in the valley in the 1990s.

There are many distraught testimonials that have emerged wherein the Kashmiri Hindu victims, who were forced to flee Kashmir, have narrated the monstrosities of the genocide. One such heartbreaking account was shared by a first-generation Kashmiri Hindu woman victim in a programme aired on India TV on March 14, the snippet of which was shared on Twitter by a user named Ashish (@KashmiriRefuge).

During the India TV chat show with The Kashmir Files team, the Kashmiri Hindu woman, who identified herself as Sarla, narrated the brutality inflicted on her relatives during the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in 1990.

Sarla stated that her family fled Kashmir on April 1st, fearing for their lives. They had left all of their belongings in their valley home. Sarla said that ten days later, on April 10, she and her husband returned to Kashmir to retrieve their belongings, adding that that particular night was the most terrifying night of their lives.

Sarla went on to say that once they arrived in Kashmir, they were met with a slew of threats and ran into people who were baying for the lives of Kashmiri Hindus. They felt it was not in their best interests to stay, so they managed to flee that night with the help of some acquaintances. “We didn’t have slippers on our feet, we didn’t eat anything, and we somehow got out of there… I will never forget that night until the day I die,” Sarla sneered.

Sarla added, “My uncle Zindalal Koul and my sister’s cousin Jagannath were brutally murdered ten days later, as we learned in the news. They gave him such a gruesome death that it sends shivers down our spines every time we recall the incident. They were initially hung from a tree. Then he had some of his body parts severed and his eyes gouged out. He was 75 years old, and this was the level of heinousness inflicted on a man of his age. “He was such a gem of a person, always willing to help others, and this is the kind of death he got,” the victim lamented.

Sarla went on to describe how some of her other relatives were also brutally murdered. She recalled how one of her cousins and her husband, both lecturers, had mysteriously vanished and are still missing to this day. Sarla remembered her other sister’s son being beheaded and his severed head being thrown in front of their house.

In response to the distressed victim, The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri stated that while researching for the film, he interviewed over 700 Kashmiri Hindus, most of whom had similar stories to tell. “I believe it is past time for people to express their pain and trauma. There will be no healing if the pain is suppressed “, Agnihotri said. Recalling the unfathomable brutality inflicted on Girija Tickoo, Agnihotri added that this film should be shown to every child in the country and around the world. This episode is a disgrace to humanity as a whole. It is now time for people to feel guilty, for people to discuss and hold debates on this issue so that another Kashmir does not emerge in India in the future, said Vivek Agnihotri.

The full India TV episode can be viewed here.

The Kashmir Files is based on true stories about Kashmiri Pandits. It transports viewers back to 1989, when conflict erupted in Kashmir as a result of rising Islamic Jihad, forcing the vast majority of Hindus to flee the valley. Between February and March 1990, approximately 100,000 of the valley’s total 140,000 Kashmiri Pandit inhabitants migrated, according to estimates. In the years that followed, more of them fled, until only about 3,000 families remained in the valley by 2011. The unspeakable brutality and trauma the Kashmiri Hindus had to face during that time is what Vivek Agnihotri has tried to bring to the fore through his film, which is steadily on its way to becoming a blockbuster movie.

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