The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, warns of a ‘Blood Bath’ when the curfew is lifted in Kashmir. On August 24, 1990, blood flowed in the alley behind the school where my father was teaching. Two Muslim acquaintances told him that they desperately needed to talk about school matters, took him to the alley at gunpoint and executed him. The singular reason for slaying him — He was a Hindu.
To a reader who may think these are usual happenings in the world for oppressed minorities, take a pause. Hindus are a majority in India, it is just only in Indian Kashmir that Hindus constitute a small minority. Imagine you are a Christian living in a part of America where you are of the minority faith, and someone from another religion slays you just because you are a Christian. The whole country will be in an uproar; and in today’s USA, men would descend on your part of America with tiki torches and open-carry guns.
But that is not what happened when my father was slain. A police report was filed but no criminal investigations were initiated. To my face, some of my personal friends called my father’s death ‘collateral damage’ in a bigger cause for the independence of Kashmir. Collateral damage is when one gets caught in a crossfire in a drive-by shooting, not when someone is taken to an alley and shot to death.
My father had to be cremated quickly as other family members were in danger as well; an army truck came in the middle of the night, escorted my mother, sister and niece to the neighboring city of Jammu, about 120 miles away but away from the threat of their Muslim neighbors. My relatives moved to Jammu and New Delhi, but they felt lost, depressed and mostly betrayed. They became refugees in their own country trying to find a way to endure and live another day.
The detrimental effect my father’s death has had on me and my family in India and here in the USA is immeasurable.One never forgets and I will never forgive because the perpetrators have made no amends. That is why August 5, 2019, was a victorious day for me and my family when India’s Prime Minister Modi annulled the illegitimate autonomy of Kashmir. Previous administrations of India had adopted no stance as they were busy being corrupt and letting others be corrupt, while the locals in Kashmir were becoming bolder in their armed and stealth attacks even when large government monies were flowing to Kashmir for appeasement.
Pakistan retains no legitimate or historical claim to Kashmir. The so-called plebiscite for Kashmiris to determine their choice of being independent or being with Pakistan is flawed. First, the Maharaja of Kashmir signed the accession to India document on 26 October 1947. And then there is the ubiquitous 1948 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 47 everyone refers to. About the latter, Dr. Christine Fair, professor of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown, implores everyone to read the UNSC resolution. Most Pakistanis, liberal Indians, and human right organizations have not read it.
Three steps — “sequential and conditional” needed to be taken as per the UN resolution.First, Pakistan was supposed to demilitarize their occupied part of Kashmir which is similar in size by area as the Indian Kashmir; second, India was supposed to demilitarize from their part; third, the plebiscite would have taken place for the citizens of Kashmir to decide their fate. Since the first of the three sequential steps never took place, conducting a plebiscite never had a chance.
Pakistan has been wagging the dog of the plebiscite and freedom of Kashmiris for seven decades. It will work for many more decades on citizens of Pakistan as she is making little progress economically and none on social justice. And, Pakistan continues to be a haven for training and harboring terrorists in its madrassas and camps.
I admired Imran Khan, but that was when he was a cricketer — tall, handsome, confident, articulate, and an all-rounder. Now, he is a puppet of his own army and a messiah of abject despair for the citizens of Pakistan, and collaterally for Kashmiris as well.