LOOT, GRAB AND ARSON KASHMIRI PANDIT PROPERTIES
Loot and Plunder
The loot and pillage of Pandit houses was carried out under a well calibrated plan and strategy. As a first step they were marked red to stand them out from the mixed populations for purposes of loot, rapacious appropriation and arson. For looting operations areas were assigned to the gangs of looters working in cohesion with mosque committees and experts churned out from Madrasas. A lightning operation for stealing rubber shoes from Pandit houses was conducted by the same elements with mosques as pivotal centres and to the knowledge of all mosques had mushroomed at a quick pace in strategic areas with the massive aid of petro-dollars pouring in from channels abroad through local conduits. After the launch of insurgency the waves of looters replicating their history in time tanned out in various directions to get lost into the Pandit habitations and returned gage with immense booty to the precincts of mosques for distribution leaving a chunk for mosque committees led by hard-core Mullahs fanged with bigotry and separatism. The frenzied looters reflecting the apachi culture that has long been the essential ethos of Kashmir are said not to be the traditional thieves and anti-socials, but well-off and prosperous guys suffused with ferocious vengeance and anti-Pandit venom. Overpowered by predatory and confiscatory persuasions, acquired and instinctive, assiduously nurtured and cultivated in the Quranic schools, the Muslim looters broke open the doors and windows or bored burrow-like openings like predatory animals for access into the houses for loot and plunder. It will be a miracle if any Kashmiri Pandit house has escaped the looting sprees. The entire Pandit habitations scattered over the fertile valley have suffered not one bout of loot and plunder, but several such spells of depredations and ravages.
To the shame of the shameless, the Islamic looters set up bazars where the looted property was openly put to sale. The markets picked up for the purpose were not confined to the towns in the valley, but the looted goods were pushed into the national market from Jammu to Delhi to Bombay to Calcutta. Brass utensils spirited away from the kitchens of Pandit houses were pulverised into bits, stuffed into bags and sent across the border as proof of their true Islamic orientation which had faked and lost its sheen by an overlaying of Brahmanic culture. Gas cylinders stolen in spells of loot from the ravaged houses were kept without any twinge of conscience and when their numbers swelled beyond any count, they were openly sold as if slaves were being sold to the Muslim buyers in the slave-market of Turkistan. The shawls of various varieties maintained as the prized possessions looted from the abodes of expelled natives are said to be sold to the sophisticates throughout the national market especially the Bengali market where patronage is lavishly showered on pedlars of loot. Radio-sets, Television sets, wall clocks, sewing machines, newly sewn suits and dresses, saris of prominent delicacy et al acquired through organised loot and legitimised as booty are kept to swell the stocks of those either in business or venture to float new businesses The merciless looters engaged in "wiping out" operations against the religious enemies have not spared their mattings and beddings thereby beefing up the quantum of their material properties considered a value in desert cultures. With the looted properties from Pandit houses businesses have been diversified or rendered a specialised touch. There are looters who are said to peddle in all sorts of electronic goods and gadgets acquired through loot. There are others who have set up antique shops dealing in rare objects dart and artefacts looted from Kashmiri Pandit sophisticates and plucked out from temples.
With incalculable wealth of petro-dollars pouring in, Pakistan pumping millions to sustain and proliferate terrorism and India in response not lagging behind to quench the blazing fires of insurgency by allowing loot of public moneys or through huge packages and booty in kitties, the sole beneficiary, they say, is the Kashmiri Muslim who has visibly scaled new levels of prosperity and affluence incomparable to what he enjoyed prior to 1988 bench-mark. As a sure manifestation and indicator of newly acquired opulence and prosperity, there is an unprecedented construction boom in the valley. New structures are pompously built and old ones are dismantled and re-built more often than not with doors and windows, inner ceilings and G.I.E sheets and other building materials uprooted, plucked out and stripped from the houses of infidels. Those of their eviscerated houses which are yet standing and waiting for the date fixed for their blaze have a saga to relate and a statement to make. They carry grisly scars and gaping wounds as the marauders in their cycles of plunder and sack have looted away the house-hold effects that invested them with the throb and feel of pulsating abodes. Their doors and windows have been pitilessly removed. They are shorn of stones, bricks and other materials vitally placed to render monolithic wholeness to the edifices. Inside houses the same loot and plunder has been affected. Almirahs, ward-robes, electric fittings, water connections, switches, lamp shades, wash-basins and more than most toys of children and their wooden cradles have been looted away with savagery. There are houses galore with no roots to protect them form rains and snows as the ruthless looters in blitzkrieg operations have sadistically dismantled and removed them for installation in their own constructions. There are open spaces which once were sites of throbbing human settlements and piles of blackened ruins covering them now tell a cruel tale of pillage and plunder.
At Naqashpora, Sathu Barbarshah, Srinagar there were Kouls living, a cultured and prosperous family owning four houses which have been razed to the ground said to be the handiwork of near and distant neighbours. In the brutal operation sixteen houses belonging to Pandits were levelled storey by storey, wall by wall and brick by brick and the materials are said to have disappeared into the houses of apachies. As reported to a humanistic organisation working for human rights violations three houses belonging to Maharaja Krishen Bhat, Bhasker Nath Bhat and Kanth Ram of village Malmoh, Tehsil Pattan, District Baramulla were stripped off the G.I.E. sheets serving as roofs of the houses on 15th Dec., 1996 by Muslim looters. The said-village as a Kashmiri Pandit settlement had already suffered orgies of loot and plunder at the hands of tribal looters enjoying autonomy of destructing the religious foes.
Writes Bali, "Those of the houses that have been untorched have the structure of dilapidated walls only with gaping holes for doors and windows are shorn of all fittings, including electric and water taps. As per house-hold and personal effects, these are conspicuously absent. Audio and video tapes alongwith TVs, Video and audio tape recorders, music systems, stereos, kitchen ranges and kitchen gadgets, all have been pilfered. Recording details of this rampage and loot will be ludicrous, bizarre and emotionally painful."
Writes Dr. R.L. Shant, "They have been reduced to a people condemned to suffer bearing tales of arson and plunder of their belongings left back by them in cities and villages from the very neighbours who leave no stone unturned in propagating through terrorist - friendly media in India that they are the custodians of minorities in Kashmir."
Dr. Pandita's House Converted into a Public Latrine
It is dismaying to learn that the ancestral house of Dr. K.N. Pandita situated at Khowja Bagh, Barmulla though standing and left untorched, has been converted into a public latrine at the behest of Muslim bigots. The extreme act of vengefulness against Dr. Pandita is being attributed to his exemplary role in exposing the inner motivations of the Muslim brand of terrorism in Kashmir. Dr. Pandita is a Persian scholar with doctorate from Tehran university and authority on Kashmir affairs. He has had the rare distinction of attending a number of international conferences on Human Rights where he as a deft expert presented the case of Hindus of Kashmir who have been ethnically cleansed from their autochhem abodes and are in exile.
The Migrant Immovable Property Act, 1997
The Migrant Immovable Property Act, 1997 as passed by the State Legislature establishes that the Kashmiri Pandit properties have been ravaged, destructed, arsoned and grabbed by the Muslim majority and the owners of such properties who have been reduced to absolute penury during the eight-year period of exile are forced to dispose of their left-behind assets in the form of denuded houses and cultivable lands and orchards. The Act also establishes the failure of the State and Central Governments in protecting their properties from the practicing marauders who have inherited as bequest a history of rapacity and plunder. The governments could have protected the properties from the Muslim vandals without the formulation of such an Act as there are laws galore which could have been invoked to establish rule of law. It is absolutely shameful that the state which forms a part of Indian territory had to formulate a distinctive Act for the protection of Pandit properties despite citizenship rights that stand sanctified by the sovereign constitution. The governments should have immediately provided protection to the Kashmiri Pandit properties when the Pandits fell victim to the militarised Islam. Now when each habitation has been decimated and landed assets are grabbed the government as an eye-wash has rushed through the legislation without consulting the Kashmiri Pandits. The reality is that the Pandits are m distress and are constrained to sell off the properties to eke out an existence in camps and rented slums. The government should have come out with liberal loans on softer terms thereby enabling the Pandits to tide over the hardships that they are faced with during the period of wretched and unhappy exile.
The Act does not stipulate to put the predators and usurpers on trial for offences that they have committed thereby reducing a av~ltsed society to the bottom level of barbarism and expelling even the feeblest ray of modernism and rationality.
A Report about vandalisation of Kashmiri Pandit Properties
A report in Kashmir Sentinel date-lined Dec. 15,1995 puts:
"After the vandalisation, destruction and forcible occupation of Kashmiri Pandit houses, it is now a land grab spree in Kashmir. The lands involved are those of displaced Kashmiri Pandit agriculturists and orchardists who had fled the valley four years back to escape the torture and tyranny of the terrorists.
Reports from different parts of the valley say that land holdings of hundreds of displaced KP families have so far been illegally taken over by the local Muslims who manage to get these lands mutated and indications are that hardly any agriculturist will be left with any land in his nan1e in months to come.
The fraudulent transfers are being done and legalised by the officials of the State Revenue Department in return for alternative bribes. The method usually adopted by the land grabbers in connivance with Revenue officials, especially the Patwaris, is to get some local villagers as witnesses to testify that the land holdings in question had been sold or transferred by the owners to the concerned villagers.
Recently a number of fraudulent land deals came to light when the displaced Kashmiri Pandit agriculturists made enquiries about the fate of their land holdings back in the valley.
In one case in Baramulla district a village bully backed by a local terrorist group had not only grabbed the agricultural lands of a KP family, but also had laid his hands on the family's orchard. In another case in the same district the land owned by a Pandit family had been shown as belonging to the state by tampering with Revenue records.
Those who had grabbed the land had been entered in the records as rightful owners."
The report further adds, "scores of orchards owned by displaced Kashmiri Pandits had fallen into the hands of unscrupulous Muslim villagers who made huge profits which they shared with the local terrorist groups. The land grabbing phenomenon has attained such alarming dimensions now that the State Government has issued a circular to check the fraudulent deeds."
The Daily Uqab Srinagar date-lined Nov.27, 1994 reports: -
"A large area of land and houses belonging to Kashmiri Pandits near Mohalla Faqir Wani in Baramulla have been taken over by some people and distributed among themselves. There are standing pear, apple and walnut trees in this land. The income from the produce of these trees is pocketed by these people. The police have not registered any case in this respect so far."