The Kashmir issue has been well summarised in the following letter to Mr. Trevor Fishlock at "THE TIMES", LONDON.
Dear Mr. Fishlock.
This is in reference to the article you wrote for The Times, London, published on 9/1/2002.
I would like to say that this is the most factual and comprehensive account of the problem that has ever been written on the subject during the last two decades. I should know - I am a Kashmiri by birth and upbringing, and know in depth all that has happened there since Partition of India. Also I have been noting with great interest all that has been said on Kashmir over the years, especially since 1989 when terrorism arrived in Kashmir Valley.
I would like to bring a couple of points to your attention.
1. i) You say that two faiths ...stand nose to nose in one of the.....
Pakistan represents Islam but India represents secularism and you will know that. It is important to remember this. When Muslims forced Partition for the sake of a 'Homeland for Muslims', Hindus could have demanded that all Muslims go to Pakistan - instead, they CHOSE to remain secular. For India, Kashmir - as part of India - is a test of the success or failure of that secularism.
ii) ...India acted fast and decisively. In a flurry of action the Maharajah agreed to join India, and Indian forces flew to save Srinagar.... If you read the account of Mountbatten and eminent historians of the time, you will know that India (Mountbatten, Nehru, etc.) did not respond to the Letter of Accession sent by the Maharajah until the Indian Government had received a full endorsement of it by all the existing political leaders of Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammed, Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq, and many more - ALL MUSLIMS LEADERS OF KASHMIR - came in person to Delhi and endorsed the Accession on behalf of the people of Kashmir. It was ONLY AFTER THIS that the Indian armed forces were instructed to act.
2. You made no reference to the fact that in 1989-90 the terrorists targeted the Hindus and secular Muslims in the Valley. Committing brutal murder, rape and kidnap, etc, they terrorised the innocent population to leave the Valley. Twelve years on the Hindus of Kashmir Valley remain refugees in their own country.
THE VALLEY HAS BEEN ETHNICALLY CLEANSED OF HINDUS. Nearly 20,000 houses belonging to the Hindus (including mine) have been burnt down to ensure they do not return, and others have been illegally appropriated. A similar pogrom has commenced in Southern Kashmir lately - in Jammu province Hindus have been, and are being, selectively and brutally murdered. The plan is straightforward - terrorise the people so they leave the area, make it exclusively Muslim, and demand plebiscite.
Incidentally, after the illegal invasion of Kashmir in 1948, since when Pakistan continues to occupy a third of Kashmir, similar ethnic cleansing of Hindus was carried out there.
Within a period of 72 hours, in Mirpur and adjacent areas in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, 60,000 Hindus and Sikhs were murdered. Others sought refuge in India, the only way to stay alive. These are historical facts that can be verified at any time.
Dr G BHAN
[January 10, 2002][_private/ftarc.htm]