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Right Word | The Forgotten Genocide in Jammu & Kashmir: When greater than 18,000 Hindus and Sikhs perished in a single day

During 1947-48, the Pakistani military and the Muslim tribesmen had invaded Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of Hindus and Sikhs had been indiscriminately killed, raped, maimed and brutalised

Mirpur bloodbath. Iage courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In the backdrop of the discharge of the movie The Kashmir Files, the problem of Kashmiri Hindus’ genocide round three many years in the past has come to the fore once more. But this wasn’t the primary genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. We, as a rustic, have conveniently forgotten one other Hindu genocide in Jammu and Kashmir which was no much less horrific and tragical than what occurred round three many years in the past.

During 1947-48, the Pakistani military and the Muslim tribesmen had invaded Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of Hindus and Sikhs had been indiscriminately killed, raped, maimed and brutalised. According to numerous estimates, greater than 50,000 Hindus and Sikhs misplaced their lives. The tales of brutalisation the place victims had been harmless Hindu and Sikh civilians are unparalleled in fashionable human historical past.

One of the largest massacres throughout that interval came about in Mirpur (which is now in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) which has a Hindu and Sikh inhabitants of round 40,000. There are some memoirs which throw revealing mild on the atrocities dedicated there with surprising first particular person accounts.

Dharam Mitter, a resident of Mirpur throughout 1947-48, self-published a memoir in 2004 titled My Jammu and Kashmir: The Forgotten History the place he gave particulars of what occurred on 25 November 1947. In a single day, 13,000 Hindus and Sikhs had been killed whereas 5,000 women and girls had been taken away by the Muslim invaders — tribals (also referred to as ‘Kabaylis’) and the Pakistani military. Some estimates put these numbers at greater than 22,000.

On this fateful day when the Kabaylis and Pakistani military entered the town of Mirpur they instantly began killing males and raping the ladies and women of Hindus and Sikhs who had been attempting to get out of the town collectively in a caravan. Mitter recalled, “(They) grasped the younger women and began plundering the town. During that point, the Muslims, who had fled away, returned to Mirpur and saved on plundering the town until night. They knew all in regards to the homes which possessed plenty of wealth and gold. None of them had tried to chase the caravan for 2 hours. The caravan reached the mountains forward. There had been 3 ways wherein the caravan was divided. Everyone saved on operating wherever he discovered his approach.

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The first a part of the caravan moved on the entrance path which led to Jhangar. The second one moved in direction of Kasguma. The first caravan had reached the subsequent hill however the different one behind it was besieged by the Kabaylis. The miscreants made the younger women stand on one facet and began killing others. On the one hand there was Mohan Singh, son of Sardar Sarda Singh, who had a Tommy gun with him. He was happening killing the ladies as a result of they themselves had been making a request to him to take action. The Kabaylis had been killing the younger males in addition to the outdated ones… The Kabaylis and the Pakistanis marched in direction of the caravan forward, killing all of the individuals who had been discovered there on that hill. More than 13,000 individuals had been killed…. and greater than 5,000 younger girls and women had been carried by the Pakistanis with them. The caravan of Kasguma and Thathyal additionally met the identical destiny.”

Mitter recounted a number of incidents that occurred in Mirpur itself earlier than this caravan had moved out. Recalling one such incident wherein his family was concerned, he wrote, “Shrimati Diwan Devi ji, who was my grand aunt and teacher in the Arya Samaj High School had nearly 100 girls with her. Instruction was given to all that rolling their scarves like a turban on the head and taking the name of God they should jump into the well… afterwards she herself jumped (into the well). The well was so deep that even the water was invisible. In this way hundreds of other women also saved their modesty (by sacrificing their lives).”

Bal Ok Gupta, one other survivor of the Mirpur bloodbath, additionally self-published a memoir later titled, Forgotten Atrocities: Memoirs of a Survivor of the 1947 Partition of India. Gupta recalled, “As we traversed the bridges into the Jhelum, hundreds of captured Hindu women and young girls jumped and committed suicide to avoid abduction and rape by the Pakistanis. I could see dead bodies floating in the frigid waters of the canal. Some women still stood on the edge of the bridge with forlorn looks on their faces and others were standing near the banks of the canal. They threw their children first into the fast flowing waters and seemed impervious to the shrieks and yelling of their own infants. As the children floated down the stream their heads came up once or twice before the canal gobbled them up. The mothers looked on helplessly. The fear of abduction and torture by Muslims had wiped out all the colour and emotions from their faces. Then they jumped in the canal and it was all over in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile other children on the bridge saw what was coming. They ran to their mothers’ sides and clasped them around the knees with despair. The Pakistani soldiers tried hard not to let these women die. They cajoled, threatened and even pointed their guns at these women…(but) they all went to their death with pride and dignity rather than leading a life of rape and torture by Muslims.”

Professor Balraj Madhok, who later turned president of Bharatiya Jana Sangh(BJS) and who was engaged on the bottom to save lots of Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu-Kashmir throughout this genocide, in 1947-48 mentioned in his seminal work, Kashmir: The Storm Center of the World, “Hardly two thousand people out of about 25 thousand living at that time in the ill-fated town (of Mirpur) managed to reach Jhangar (in India) in safety. The rest were ruthlessly butchered. The number of women abducted from there ran into thousands. Most of them were paraded and then sold in the bazaars of Jhelum, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. The barbarities of the Pakistan troops and civilians on these hapless women who were kept for some time in Alibeg camp before their dispersal to different towns put to shame the worst orgies of rape and violence associated with the hordes of Ghengiz Khan and Nadir Shah. The loot obtained by the Pakistanis from these towns, especially from Mirpur, went into crores. The floor of every house in Mirpur was dug by raiders in search of hoarded treasures.”

Madhok aptly sums up how this colossal tragedy of Hindu genocide not solely in Mirpur however in numerous components of the state throughout 1947-48 have been forgotten, “A more painful aspect of this unmitigated tragedy of Jammu is that very little about it is known in India or the outside world… Not a word of sympathy about them was said in India or at the UNO. If the ruthless killings in Jammu area could be called genocide, it was a genocide of the Hindus and not of the Muslims. While most of the Muslims in the Hindu majority parts of Jammu province migrated to Pakistan, only a few thousands out of over a lakh of Hindus including refugees from adjoining districts of West Punjab could escape to safety from Mirpur-Poonch- Muzaffarabad region.”

It is unlucky that whereas the worldwide neighborhood is busy speaking about Islamophobia, it has perpetually failed in its obligation to recognise this and lots of related Hindu genocides. We, as a society, have additionally forgotten them conveniently. Probably the reality is simply too inconvenient and challenges the textbook narrative of so-called ‘composite culture’ (generally phrased as ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb)’. It additionally challenges our conscience and reveals us the mirror that how as a society we now have failed these turned the victims of Hindu genocides by forgetting what occurred to them altogether. In truth, we haven’t even documented correctly most of those pogroms.

As we rejoice the 75th 12 months of Independence, the least we will do as a society is to face these truths, nevertheless, inconvenient they is likely to be and inform the world how Hindus have suffered immensely going through genocides and pogroms in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere for the final 1,200 years. This would additionally assist us to be taught from the previous to make sure that History doesn’t repeat itself.

The author, an creator and columnist, has written a number of books. Views expressed are private.

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