LOOT, GRAB AND ARSON KASHMIRI PANDIT PROPERTIESIn their crusade launched with utmost fire and fury to establish a radical theocratic system, cleansing the land of Pandit infidels, the Muslim terrorists uncritically accepted as Mujjahids by the Muslim population went whole-hog to buttress up and fine-tune the record of gory traditions of their ancestors who roasted people alive and ripped open the foetuses of pregnant women and resorted to loot, plunder and massacre for whole-sale conversion thereby adding horrendous chapters to the despicable book of barbarity. Unflinching in their obedience to the tradition of tyrants, tile new brand of Muslim terrorists concealing their identities under resounding and high-flown Islamic names could not be found wanting in perpetuating the memory of vandals and consummating the holy task assigned to them by cesspits of Madrasas as the creation of Islamic fanatics. let them goes the credit of performing the sacred rites of loot and pillage, rape and arson.
Once the Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to flee their homes and hearths to uncharted destinations, Nemesis started her dreadful operations. Having looted and ransacked their living abodes, the terrorists and their large mass of Muslim collaborators displayed their fiendishness by torching off the Pandit houses built with the sweat and blood of their life-time earnings. As tribals in 1947 had been lured to the loot and rape of bazars in Srinagar, the Muslims lending unmitigated support to the surge of armed insurgency were promised loot, plunder, rape and unbridled appropriation of 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 venegefulness 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.
By the spree of propaganda that they have blazed abroad and the statements that they have blurted out it becomes abundantly clear that the Muslim terrorists are wedded to the cause of Islam which is their soul, faith and driving ideology. As Pandit infidels have no station and role-model in the parochial state of theocracy that is envisaged for Kashmir, they have been ethnically cleansed and ethnic cleansing remains an unfinished agenda if non-Muslims are allowed to retain their abodes in Kashmir which though presently abandoned as a result of their expulsion can be reclaimed through pressures, and intervention from humanistic organisations operating at various levels. With this rationale in view the Muslim militarists have been assiduously busy in destroying the roots of Pandits and. roots as a matter of fact lie deeply embedded in settlements which generate an ethos and a culture pattern. It is to the achievement of sinister end of complete ethnic cleansing and also stalling their return to their land of genesis that all shades of frenzied bigots and dyed-in-the-wool fanatics have embarked upon the policy-path of burning Pandit settlements and the process has been continuously on since 1990. What is being done now is only the replication of their past history. Sayyids way back in the mists of time created waves by decreeing the total destruction of settlements when Kashmiri Pandits at the end of the tether of their patience revolted against severe religious persecution and encroachments on their possessions and assets.
As per a survey conducted by a non-government organisation nearly thirty thousand Kashmiri Pandit houses all over the Valley have been torched off thereby rendering one lakh and fifty thousand Pandits homeless and deracine if an average family comprises five members. The Report submitted to the National Human Rights Commission by the Panun Kashmir Movement puts the number of burnt houses of Hindus at 16,000 till 1995. The Government of J&K State have been silent over it as the victims being non-Mulsims are not on its agenda of policy and programme. Under a flawless design of communal diabolerie and chicanery the entire throbbing habitations of ancient origins have been liquidated with no traces left behind. There is no Bana-Mohalla which has been a principal settlement of Pandits with tremendous history in the life and times of Srinagar as an abode of Culture and spirituality. The pre-eminent house of Razdans with Bhaskar Razdan as one of its scions has been burnt to ashes. Bhaskar Razdan is famous for his Sanskrit rendering of Lalla’s vakhs in metrical verse. The house of Kokiloos in the same locality stands looted and wiped out. A brilliant ancestor of the family is credited with a work on Sanskrit Grammar which in a manuscript form lies in the Research Library buried and dumped in gunny bags. There is no Rainawari nestling in the creeks and inlets of Dal Lake and more than most the birth-place of Pandit Som Nath Beera who got killed in the hills of Doda while quenching communal fires. There is no Batapora in Shopiyan which was the seminary of a galaxy of nationalists who established educational institutions for Muslims whose descendants have destroyed the locality with a crusading zeal leading to the exodus of Pandit Swaroop Nath, a house-hold name in the district, who died in exile. There is no Gushi in Handwara known as mini-Sharda which has been the cradle of spirituality and folk-lore. The settlement with more than hundred houses has been burnt to cinders by the Muslims gone berserk. Mattan in the District of Anantnag as an ancient site of pilgrimage inhabited by Brahman-priests maintaining historically valuable religious records has been destroyed in blazing fires. Chowagam in the same district is lost to Pandits as Muslim vandals have ravaged and blazed the entire habitation. Zainapora, the home-town of Pandit Rishi Dev, a politician of long standing and Pandit Arjan Dev Majboor, a poet and literatteur, already in exile, was completely wiped out by a frenzied mob of thirty thousand Muslims in the wake of Mast Gul, a Pakistani vandal and brutal lout putting the highly revered shrine of Nanda Rishi to flames.
The two families of Pandits staying back in the village were not spared or shown any mercy. Their houses were first ransacked and then set on fire. Muslims hailed Mast Gul by crying hoarse, “Chrar bani hani hani, Mast Gul kati bani- Chrar will be re-built slowly, but Mast Gul is a rare find” and their hurricane fury as usual fell on Pandits and the paper general and his cortege went on watching the orgy of death and destruction befalling Pandits who have not caused portals of governance any anxiety or concern.
Languishing in tattered tents, one-room hutments and rented slums, beleaguered Pandits to their shock and dismay have lost their houses in Malayar, Kralakhud, Ganpatyar, Gundahlmar, Brayikujan, Zaindar Mohalla, Jawahar Nagar, Fateh Kadal, Saffakadal and Karan Nagar. Malayar in the city of Srinagar was a huge sprawling cluster of Pandit houses and it has been burnt down in blazing fires. The houses in Ganpatyar locality standing along roadside have been vengefully torched off. Jawahar Nagar having come up as a posh colony with a modern look and planning presents a scenario of a city sacked by the prototypes of Nadir Shah. Houses of Pandits in Zaindar Mohalla and Karan Nagar have met the same fate at the hands of marauders. Babapora with its interior depths touching the shores of Sheel-teng is a horror scene of war-ravaged waste land. Narparistan sunk in a maze of narrow lanes and bye-lanes has been licking its wounds as destruction is wrought on the Pandit houses which are now a pile of charred ruins.
The Jehadists as per their delineated plans have not confined their acrid war against the native Pandits to the purlieux of Srinagar, but the hurricane fury of their Jehad in its broad sweep has engulfed their settlements dotting the broad terrain of the valley. Poolie contiguous to the spring of Verinag as a village of Pandit concentration has been obliterated with vengeance. Anantnag with its tremendous Hindu past has lost most of its edifices which were sublime in their heights evoking awe and admiration. Verinag with its pristine waters has been a witness to the gruesome fires which Islamists lit in the Pandit houses for their decimation. The Islamic gun-totters have blazed the houses of Pandits in hamlets surrounding Kokernag which has gone gory with the blood of Pandits. The Muslim arsonists have burnt down Pandit settlements in Kupwara, Baramulla, Safapora, Chingund, Ratnipora, Wahibugh, Tahab, Tengapunna, Wachi, Zablipora, Krandigam, Salar, Tral et al.
The twenty eight residential houses of Pandits in Chingund falling in Tehsil Duroo were burnt to ashes by Muslim marauders. Even cowsheds, kothars and other structures were not spared. In the FIR filed by the village chowkidar it is clearly stated that a violent Muslim mob attacked and burnt down all the houses, cowsheds and kothars of Hindus of the village in the wake of Babri Masjid episode.
“It is shocking to learn that the wrath against the Kashmiri Pandits has assumed such proportions that those houses, which had already been burnt down and their skeleton structures only stood there, were either again set ablaze or were demolished or razed to the ground,” writes Arvind Razdan.
The grand old residential house of Pandit Madhav Koul in Anantnag when put to flames was smouldering, smoking and burning for a month’s time. It was a massive edifice built in stone, brick and deodar, a real monument speaking volumes for past glory and hence an eye-sore to the Muslim fanatics. The huge building of Pandit Siri Koul had the same style, grandeur and wood-work and when set ablaze it continued burning for days on end till it was said to have been pulled down by looting away its chiseled logs sustaining the weight of the structure. The house of late Nila Kanth Jad was equally a magnificent structure that had been the target of Muslims since Islamic resurgence in Kashmir and finally Muslim cyclone took a toll of it. The house of late Shridhar Joo Kachru at Babapora in Srinagar when set ablaze continued burning and smoking for ten days and the same is confirmed by Muslim witnesses who have oiled and soiled their hands with the loot of the house.
Records K.N. Pandita, “Indeed these mute and lifeless objects are dangerous because they embody in their lifeless souls the story of a great civilisation that has been allowed to be systematically destroyed by those very elements in building whose civilisation and identity Kashmiri Pandits made the largest contribution.”
Grab of Immovable Properties
There is a concerted movement going on in Kashmir to dispossess Kashmiri Pandits by grabbing and appropriating their left-behind immovable properties. All evidences, material and documentary purporting their Kashmiri origins, are under a fierce onslaught of Muslims. No government of the day despite innumerable petitions and submissions ever moved in the direction of protecting their properties from destruction or unlawful occupation. The properties which have not been torched off and are yet sending have been grabbed or are in the process of being seized by the grabbies. Not only have properties been illegally appropriated but shameless attempts have been made to forge false and unsustainable documents which have been audaciously presented in the courts to justify or substantiate the grab and surprisingly some cases have come to light where courts have issued stay orders without material evidences and even on the basis of fictitious and false documents hastily contrived.
There is a class of grabbies who do not stick to a house which they grab, but go on shifting from house to house as per their sovereign will and their essential targets in the houses are the residues that they lay their sinister hands on. There is another class of grabbies who are more brutal and under religious motivations deem it their right to grab the properties of infidels, who, they believe, are discomfited and have fled the land. Apart from these two classes are herds of intruders who craftily occupy the houses as a first step m the game and subsequently as fait accompli negotiate with the owners through a swarm of touts prowling about Jammu and other metropolises. The Pandit owners when informed of the forcible occupation of their properties are shell-shocked, yet do not take it lying down and submit appeals and plaints in neat language to the concerned authorities in the valley. As the government is and has been in deep paralysis, there is no response to their submissions and plaints which convinces them of the sheer fut~hty of the whole exercise and in despair and desperation are forced to enter into deals at the prices that are offered to them courtesy Muslim touts.
The grab and appropriation of Pandit properties which are left behind in the valley has gained so much of momentum that it has virtually assumed a universal character. There is hardly a Mohalla, locality, village or hamlet where properties have not been occupied and grabbed. In Jawahar Nagar alone there are hundred and eight Kashmiri Pandit houses which are under the illegal occupation of Muslims who taking advantage of collapsed state of law and order or in cahoots with broad sections of administration are emboldened for such intrusion, trespass and grab. In the’ posh locality of Karan Nagar, a Muslim said to be the Head of a Department is said to have grabbed two houses of a Pandit where he has set up his business venture and is battening at the expense of a hapless fugitive. The case of forcible occupation was said to have been brought to the notice of the then Chief Secretary, Ashok Kumar, who is reported to have cravenly expressed his inability to intervene in the matter thereby legitimising the loot and the crab. The locality of Channapora presents a glaring scenario of the forcible appropriation of Pandit houses where Muslims as a matter of right have been staymg their put without any government agency either obstructing or stalling such violations of law of the land. At Gogji Bagh in the cites of Srinagar the three storyed house of a non-Muslin has been ravaged by one Muslim family leaving and another entering at will. A Muslim said to be a vegetable seller from Qamarwari is said to have carted away all the furniture in the house in broad day-light and surprisingly the Muslim neighbours in their chance meetings at Jammu always assured the Pandit of the safety of the house and other house-hold goods and effects. Presently a leader of a renegade militant outfit has chosen the house for his stay and is at pains to force a deal on the Pandit.
There are instances galore establishing that shops, business establishments, tracts of cultivable land and more than most economically lucrative orchards belonging to Pandas have been illegally occupied, grabbed and appropriated. Shops of Pandits in prime commercial sites or areas have been under a constant threat of illegal occupation. From Maharaj Bazar to the end of Residency Road, Srinagar most of the business establishments of Pandits have been intruded, trespassed or occupied. It is also stated that after unlawful occupation, may be in certain cases buttressed by Court verdicts moshy ex-parte, deals were thrust on the Pandits through Muslim touts. Illegal occupations are generally realised through landlord-illegal occupant-admmistration nexus. The sprawling fields of cultivable land and huge thriving orchards have been grabbed by Musluns who share the proceeds in partership with the terrorist outfits and conniving authorities. There are a number of such localities where Muslim hordes vengefully felled the orchards from one end to the other thereby inflicting immense losses on the Pandit owners. The walnut trees generally cultivated within the precincts of Pandit houses have been cruelly felled and wood of the felled trees was kept or disposed of in the markets fetching a lucrative price to the marauders.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, a banned terrorist outfit, in a bid to establish its so-called secular credentials, has issued a number of warnings to the illegal occupants of shops, business establishments and landed properties belonging to the Pandits and such warnings are a standing and over-arching testimony to the fact of their illegal usurpation by none other than Muslims.
In a statement to the press in Jammu, M. Farooqi, leader of the Communist Party of India, suggested that all the left behind properties in Kashmir valley belonging to Kashmir Panda migrants should be declared as ‘custodian properties’ with a view to rehabilitating them in their native homes and hearths as and when they return to the valley. Appreciative of the government move to take the refugees back to the valley, Farooqi made it amply clear that it could be possible only when their houses are protected (from Muslim marauders) and maintained bit the government In his meeting with the Chief Minister and Finance Minister of the state, Farooqi is said to have broached the subject of the forcible grab of the shop belonging to Janki Dass in Akhara building, Maisuma by a protege of Dr. Karan Singh under the very nose of paramilitary picket which was asked to shift its position through correspondence with B.S.F. authorities by the dejure owner who was keen to re-start his business. To the suggestion to declare Kashmiri Pandit properties as “Custodian properties”, the Chief Minister and his Finance Minister to the surprise of Farooqi were said to be in the first instance non-committal and ambivalent.
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.”
Representation To The National Human Rights Commission
A humanistic organisation dedicated to the restoration of peace in the valley has taken up the case of Abdul Karim vs Brij Lal Tamiri with National Human Rights Commission. Abdul Karim S/o Mohammad Sultan Sheikh, an employee of Military Engineering Service, has illegally occupied the house of Brij Lal Tamiri at Shivapora, Srinagar which has remained vacant after the family fled away from their house in early 1990. After contacting DIG, Kashmir Range, the owner of the house was informed through an ordinary letter dated: 22nd May, 1996 that the illegal occupant had approached the court of city Munsif, Srinagar directing the parties to maintain status quo, thus allowing the illegal occupation of Brij Lal Tamiri’s house by Abdul Karim.
After a thorough study of the case, the secretary of the NGO, Friends of Kashmir International, submitted a petition dated: 7th July 1996 to Hon’ble Chairman, NHRC, New Delhi which reads as under:
“I have been directed by my NGO to seek your Lordships indulgence in a serious matter of violation of human rights of the internally displaced persons from Kashmir valley living in refugee camps in Jammu, Udhampur and other parts of the country since 1990.
It has come to the notice of our organisation that there are cases of forcible occupation by the locals of vacant residential houses, shops, cowsheds or hutments of displaced persons from the valley. These occupations are all illegal and unauthorised.
In order to regularise forcible and illegal occupation of these places, the entrepreneurs have contrived forged documents and filed suits in courts of law seeking ex-partedecisions to legitimise their forcible occupation. A fraudulent mechanism has been evolved of issuing court summons to the owners. The Honourable courts knowing fully well that respondents being a threatened minority community would not be able to attend its call. What is more, even the summons are invariably not received by the respondents as these do not bear the correct addresses of the displaced persons, or get lost in the ordinary mail. Even the notices issued in local vernacular papers do not reach the displaced persons. Taking undue advantage of the forced absence of the displaced persons far away from their native land for last seven years, their inability to protect their property in absence, their inability to present themselves before any court of law in the valley even if a summon is received by them and lastly unwillingness on the part of state authorities to enforce civil order these illegal occupants move the local courts swiftly to process ex-partedecrees against the displaced persons seeking to dispossess or disinherit them of their properties.
In all fairness the local courts should not at all entertain such applications as involve the properties of displaced persons only if justice is to be done. But, somehow, in an unusual situation prevailing in the valley at present even the Honourable Judges would like not to be anything but accommodative even at the cost of Justice.
Your Lordship may kindly note that forcible occupation of the vacant houses or shelters of the displaced persons is violation of human rights (the right to property, and shelter) and admission of any case in this regard by a local court in which case an ex-parte decision would be the procedural result is further violation of human rights because it denies the persons involved the chance to be heard owing to circumstances beyond control. Evidently the state government has the responsibility to protect the property of the citizens (that being the constitutional right of all Citizens of India) and if it fails in discharging that duty the displaced persons should not suffer on that count. They are already fouled and it should mean their re-foulment which is not only unjust but also inhuman. As if sending them into forced exile is too small a punishment which must be upgraded to forcible occupation of their property.
In the light of what has been submitted our organisation approaches the Hon’ble NHRC with the request that appropriate steps commensurate with the lay.: and charter of human rights be taken at its earliest convenience to stop occupation of the vacant houses and immovable properties of the internally displaced persons from Kashmir either through muscle power or through fraudulent and illegal documentation. We would like to submit that proper steps be taken to give a fair chance to the displaced persons to follow legal proceedings wherever necessary in such cases only in Jammu and not in Srinagar. The threat to life by the armed militants prevents the internally displaced persons from presenting themselves before any court of law in the valley. The government could set up special tribunals in Jammu proper where such cases could be filed and heard. The state Judiciary is expected to demonstrate its responsibility in prevailing extra-ordinary conditions and spare the suffering displaced persons the travail of unnecessary litigation for which they are neither mentally nor financially prepared.”
In another communication dated September 30,1996 to the Hon’ble Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi the Secretary of Friends of Kashmir (India) conveys as under:
“We are grateful to the Hon’ble Commission for informing us vice their letter No. 9/73/96-LD of August 1,1996 that the matter of illegal occupation of Pandit houses in Kashmir valley submitted by us on 7th June, 96 has been taken up by the Hon’ble Commisssion with the concerned authorities in the J&K State. However, till date no state authority has contacted us nor do we know what action they would be contemplating to take in the matter.
Through our sources we learn that there is a spate in forcible and illegal occupation of Kashmiri internally displaced persons, left behind property by the locals in valley with tacit connivance of sections of administrative and judicial authorities. Fake documents are produced and accepted to claim proprietary rights over their houses, shops and immovable property. Physical absence of the owners from the scene and their continued inability to challenge false claims in a court of law encourages blatant irregalarities. What is more, reluctance of authorities to devise practical and collective safeguards against such lawlessness leading to a state of loot is deplorable.
Before we proceed to cite a few more cases, we would like to high-light the methodology employed to legalise false. ownership based on the sample study of the forcible and illegal occupation of the residential house of one Brij Lal Tamiri (case already submitted to the Hon’ble Commission on June 7,1996). These are as under:
i) Obtaining stay orders from a court of law even without any proof of the sale of property.
ii) when the victim comes to know of fraudulent ownership, the stay order and appeals for transfer of case to Jammu (for security reason), the opposition to the same is voiced on the plea that since the property is located in Kashmir valley it should not be heard by the Hon’ble Court in Jammu.
iii) a fictitious name is shown as one of the defendants He may be shown as intermediary for selling and described as a known person, relative or a friend. This serves the purpose of prolonging the case and would at the same time break the resolve of the victim. Then the victim could be forced to agree to distress sale of his rightfully owned property.
iv) entire strategy of this litigation revolves round prolonging the case on one pretext or the other, slow down the legal
procedure and oppose the case of transfer to Jammu.
v) Knowing that occupation of the house of internally displaced persons is illegal, under the grab of sta! order, the occupants resort to a large scale damaging of the house besides looting the left-over goods of the displaced victims.
Your lordship, in case of Brij Lal Tamiri, one Maharaj Krishen Watloo has been shown as a dependent, though no person of this name and address exists. No attorney has been given by the owner to anybody for sale of the house or for putting it on tenancy. But the Court has issued stay orders without any proof of purchase by the illegal occupant. This has forestalled the eviction by the police. In the meanwhile the occupant has resorted to a large scale damaging of the construction as the accompanying FIR indicates.
Your Lordship, we may be permitted to submit two more cases of forcible and illegal occupation of the left behind houses of internally displaced persons from the valley. In one case, a local English daily named Northlines of 24th August, 1996 has reported that one fruit merchant of district Pulwama in Kashmir contrived fraudulent sale deed of the residential house of Mrs P.G. (name withheld by the newspaper) an internally-displaced person originally residing in Hyderpora, Srinagar.
In another case, one Lassa Nath Bhat resident of Gouripora-Rawalpora tehsil and district Badgam in Kashmir valley issued a public notice in Kashmir Times of September 1, 1996 saying that somebody had produced fake documents and claimed the ownership of his left-behind residential house.
In view of the seriousness of the violation of human rights, especially the right to property, we are concerned h the matter and approach the Hon’ble Commission could besides holding an independent proble, advise the Government of J&K State to issue orders for :
a) Stopping sale of any kind of immovable property of the internally displaced persons from the valley until the time they resume normal life in places of their origin.
b) appointing an independent tribunal headed by a High Court Judge based in Jammu. All cases of internally displaced persons’ property could be referred to this Tribunal for speedy and summary disposal.
c) holding the forcible occupants responsible for damaging the house and looting of immovable property in it. Without a strong legal action this violation of human rights may not be stopped.
Many internally displaced persons are lodging FIRs with the police in Jammu stating that their houses/shops/orchards/lands have been fraudulently grabbed by musclemen with the connivance of authorities. As such, the Hon’ble Commission should supervene and stop violation of the rights to property of the displaced persons. As and when more cases come to our notice, we shall submit these to your Lordship for proper disposal.”
Grab of the Shop of M.K. Dass
M.K. Dass and Mrs Sheila Dass were in regular tenancy of a shop in the Akhara building, Maisuma. The shop as alleged is broken open, all medical goods and medicines ham been spirited away and a Muslim is said to have grabbed the shop with the connivance of one Puran Shal1 who manages and overlords the Akhara properties. M.IC. Dass has approached all concerned authorities for the restoration of the shop, but as alleged he is not heard. He coven met the Chief Minister who promised him redressal, but nothing concrete has emerged. His correspondence with authorities makes a curious reading.
That the tenant of the shop was in regular tenancy is perhaps substantiated by the letter that the BSF authority wrote to the Divisional Commissioner. The letter reads:
HQ Srinagar Frontier
Border Security Force
09 Sept. 96
The Divisional Commissioner,
Sub:- Removal of Bunker/Payment of compensation in favour of Shri M.K. Dass Prop. M/s Jank Dass and Co. Budshah Chowk, Srinagar.
Please refer to an application submitted by M.K.Dass, Prop. M/s Janki Dass and Co. Budshah Chowk, Srinagar (Copy enclosed for ready reference).
1. In this context, it is to inform you that the matter has been got enquired into depth through concerned Sector DIG/Unit Comdt and reveals following:
a) During the year 1992, Security Forces were deployed in Kashmir valley and one bunker was constructed by security forces during that time to deal with militancy in the area in front of AKHARA BUILDING gate. This bunker is strategically covering MAISUMA road as well as dominate Akhara Chowk and adjoining areas. This bunker also provides Security to Akhara building and checks the entry/exist of visitors to Akhara building.
b) Since, Maisuma is the backbone of militancy and all sorts of demonstrations/ processions, grenade throwing are planned and conducted by public in Lal Chowk area, therefore presence of this bunker is essential to monitor the movement of the militants/public in the area.
2. The bunker in question is sited at appropriate place and tactically deployed. This bunker of course has obstructed the entrance to M/s Janki Dass and Co. but for Security reasons it is not possible for us to remove the said bunker.
Therefore, it is recommended that necessary compensation may be provided to the owner of the Shop, if deemed fit.
Addl. Deputy Inspector Genl
The Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Srinagar wrote to M.K. Dass which reads as under:
Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir Srinagar
M.K. Dass House No.01, Sector No.10 Nanak Nagar Jammu.
Please refer your application regarding shop breaking/replacing the shop locks by Puran Shah, Manager, Dashnami Akhara Trust with the assistance of local gundas and looting the medicines from the shop known as Janki Dass and Co. Chemists 16 Akhara building Rudshah Chowk Srinagar.
Report called from concerned SP is enclosed.
sd/-Inspector General of Police
M.K. Das has submitted to the Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone as under:
The Inspector General of Police
Ref: No. M-2/97/SPE/64246 dated. 27.2.97.
Sub:- Complaint against criminal trespass and looting of Goods/Cash records from a Shop M/s Janki Dass and Co. 16, Akhra Building Srinagar.
In reference to above quoted letter on my application A; the application of Mr. M.K. Dass and Mrs. Sheela Dass.
I am submitting the following few lines for clarification:
1. That the shop is under the tenancy of Mahraj Krishan Dass and Sheela Dass. It is made clear that the shop under our tenancy belongs to Dashnami Akhra Trust and the tenancy started from 1961. However, earlier also the shop was in our constructive possession before 1961, being partners of a firm “Harker and Co.”.
2. It is also made clear that Sh. Janki Nath Dass, Father of M.K. Dass and B.L. Dass and father-in-law of Mrs. Sheela Dass expired in the year “1964” Nov. as such tenancy of the said-shop devolved on Shrimati Janki Devi, widow of Shri Janki Nath Dass-II, Mr. B.L. Dass son of Sh. Janki Nath Dass III M.K. Dass S/o Janki Nath Dass. However it was Sh. B.L. Dass and Shri M.K. Dass who were working in the said-shop as the Proprietors of the firm M/s Janki Dass and Co.
3. That in the year 1990 on account of militancy above mentioned proprietors were forced to stop their business as the shop was located at a vulnerable place known as Budshah Chowk here a permanent BSF post was functioning in front of the shop and the militants used to attack the said-place.
4. It is pertinent to note that in the year 1992 a bunker was constructed by the Security Forces (BSF) to deal with the militancy in front of the shop and thereby obstructed the entrance and exit of customers to the shop. As there was no business conducted in the said-shop and because of militancy myself alongwith other family members shifted to Jammu. I used to visit Srinagar invariably with a purpose to transact my business in the shop as I and other members of the family were dependent on the income of the said-shop.
5. That on account of the increased index of militant acts a Pucca/concrete bunker was constructed completely closing the entry in the said-shop as the huge structure was built in front of the shop. Be that as it may, it is stated that the said-shop was full of medicines and other goods i.e; Thermametcrs, Cotton packs, Bandages, Sythethescopes, BP apparatus, air cushions, hot water bottles, baby soaps, oils and powders, surgical items like scissors, forceps, kidney trays, cadguts, etc. valued Rs. 4.00 lacs.
6. That in this connection I approached Director General BSF and other authorities to shift the bunker to some other site so that I could transact my business in the said-shop but I was not allowed to open or continue my business by the BSF authority for reasons of security of the area as was intimated by them through a despatch dated Sept. 9,1996 addressed to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. Moreover, they recommended the case for compensation to be paid to the firm M/s Janki Dass and Co. Nothing of the sort that expired medicines would prove dangerous and was advanced by them to the Management of the Trust was communicated to me which they could have done if the need was. It is worth to note that the concocted story furnished by the BSF authority to the management of the trust is nothing but explains a drama to camalouge their real involvement in this scandalous affair, where monetary consideration cannot be ruled out.
7. That I am in possession of the correspondence letters with the Home Ministry of India/State Governments and other concerned authorities of BSF which clarifies the aforesaid position.
8. That in response to the point mentioning that the firm did not pay any rent to the Management is all false and baseless. The fact is that no such default in payment of the rent has been ever committed either by late Pt. Janki Nath Dass or his predecessors. The firm has paid the rent up-to-date. The last receipt being of 15.11.89, then again a draft of Rs. 10,000/ – on account was sent through a registered draft No. 04183 State Bank of India aft. 27.12.1996 addressed to Secretary Mahadev Giri, Dashnama Akhra Trust, Budshah Chowk, Srinagar but the same was deliberately returned back and avoided without furnishing any reasons by Akhra Management. I again sent the draft to the concerned but it met the same fate with the remarks that the addressee had left the place without leaving any address here which was all fraud and fabricated. As the draft was addressed in the name of Secretary Dashnami Akhara Trust for which a routine office is functioning there was no question that the addressee had left the place. It transpires that Akhara Management in connivance with BSF authorities of the said post/bunker concocted a story of”Emitting foul smell” and wanted to remove the expired medicines from the shop as the chemical could be dangerous in case of any explosion caused near the bunker is only to interfere and induct Manzoor Ahmed Narwari into the said premises as a trespasser and in this deal Puran Shah, Manager of the Trust, the BSF Personnel of the post/bunker and Manzoor Ahmed are party and therefore they are to be criminally prosecuted.
It is stated that because of my filing of an FIR they have not succeeded in dispossessing me, but if they are not dealt properly they can succeed in their nefarious designs. It is also stated what business had the Management of the Akhara Trust to break open the lock of my shop and then take out the medicines/goods valued about Rs.4.00 to 5.00 lacs. It is a clear case of trespass and theft.
I sincerely feel that the culprits are arrested and immediately punished.
sd/- (Sheela Dass)
Fraudulent Allotment of Shops by the Executive Officer of Srinagar Municipality
Jaydish Lal, Bihari Kak, Vinod Kumar Suri, Manohar Lal Sadhana, and Raman Kumar were the tenants of the shops in the Municipal Building complex, Hazuribagh, Srinagar. As the Muslim terrorism had its thrust against the Kashmiri Hindus, the tenants deserted their shops to take shelter in safer zones. In their absence the Executive Ofticer of Srinagar Municipality, some Ganai, is said to have allotted their shops to Muslims with the result their shops were broken open and goods pilfered or looted. The tenants moved earth and heaven for the redressal of injustice perpetrated on them, but to no effect. They called on the concerned Minister, Molvi Iftikar Hussian Ansari, who is an expert in prevarication and procrastination and has dragged his feet from using the whip of law against the intruders and defaulters for the fact that all involved are of the Muslim brand.
In a representation to the Chief Minister the tenants wrote: –
a) We were allotted shops in the complex by Srinagar Municipality in the year 1977 for a period of 17 years with the clause that the lease period would be “renewable thereafter in favour of the lessee.”
b) In the year 1990 we along with lakhs of other members of the minority community were forced to migrate from Srinagar in the wake of wide spread violence. We locked our shops as we could not take them out because of turbulent conditions.
c) While in migration we learnt that the shopping complex had been partially gutted in an incident of fire in July, 1990. However some shops including the one belonging to the applicant No.2 remained unaffected by the fire.
d) Early this year we learnt that by taking advantage of the absence of the members of the minority community some unscrupulous officials of the Srinagar Municipality were reallotting their shops to third parties without following the process of law or without sending proper notices to the bona fide allottees of the said-shops.
e) We have reasons to believe that the papers of allotment have been prepared illegally in a clandestine manner by the Executive Officer of Srinagar Municipality, Mr. Ganai. In certain cases he has also forged the signatures of the earlier Administrator of Srinagar Municipality for illegally allotting the shops to others.
f) The shops have been re-allotted at a premium of only Rs.30,000 per shop while the current market value of the shops is around Rs.7 lakhs each. We have authentic information to believe that Mr.Ganai has reportedly accepted Rs.2.00 lakhs per shop as illegal gratification from the illegal allottees of the said-shops.
g) In case the shops that were not gutted in fire, the locks were broken open and goods worth lakhs stolen by the said official before allotting the shops to some other person.
h) While none of the tenants of the shops of the said complex including those who have been running their business from these shops for all these years has been paying rent to the Srinagar Municipality due to the troubled conditions in the valley. Only the migrants who have at least paid partial rent have been singled out for this treatment.
i) In view of the foregoing it will be clear to your goodself that certain officials of Srinagar Municipality have tried to tarnish the image of the administration by acting in a manner contrary to the declared policy statements of the J&K Government as well as the Government of India. While the Union Ministers and bureaucrats belonging to both the Union Government and the State Government have time and again been voicing the resolve of the government regarding return of the Kashmiri migrants to the valley soon, these officials of the Municipality, just in order to make a quick buck, have been working against this policy by making all efforts to ensure that the migrants do not return to the valley.
Their action of re-allotment of the migrant shops is one step in this direction.
We, therefore, request your goodself to please use your good offices to ensure that the culprits in this case of blatant misuse of power and corruption are brought to book and the shops are restored to the original owners of the said-shops after making good the loss caused to them.
Dr. Kashi Nath Ticku’s House Grabbed by the Government Department
Dr. Kashi Nath Ticku now an octogenarian has been in banishment for the last eight years. It is reliably learnt that he has been spending the evening of his life in Gujrat. He is pained and anguished to learn that his posh house at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar city has been grabbed. After making thorough enquiries about the grab he learns that it is not a Muslim who has broken open his house and spirited away all the goods from his house but it is a Government Department that has occupied his house in his absence in exile. The Department in the hands of frauds, fanatics and unscrupulous elements has been in occupation of his house for purposes of running a school. Dr. Ticku has been on jaunts to Srinagar to get his house vacated and has been meeting the officers of the Department of Education to ensure the vacation of his house. It was after a long struggle that the officers of the Department agreed to pay him rent since the time the house has been under its occupation. But no rent has been paid to him so far. Every tin1e he flies to Srinagar he has to re-open his case as the officers suffused with communal venom feign ignorance about the illegal occupation.
Dr. Kashi Nath Ticku is a doctor be profession and has been vitally linked with the so-called nationalist movement led by Sheikh Abdullah. What his contributions have been to the movement can be learnt from the galaxy of freedom fighters who wore honestly motivated for heralding a new era of democracy, liberalism and religious Catholicism.
Felling of Poplars from a Kashmiri Pandit House and Hakim Ghulam Hassan
Hakim Ghulam Hassan is said to be a retired judge from the state judiciary. His house near Polytechnic, Gogjibagh, Srinagar is fringed by the house of a Kashmiri Pandit hailing from a respectable family of Mattoos from Rainawari. The house of the Pandit was deserted by the inmates when the Muslim killers started the murder of Kashmiri Pandits as they were labelled as the agents of India and anti-Muslim.
It was after a year or so that Hakim Ghulam Hassan is said to have informed his Kashmiri Pandit neighbour that he had sold the poplars growing within the premises of his house for a sum of Rs. 10,000 which he would be remitting to him very soon. The Pandit took Hakim Ghulam Hassan for his word and believed that the money would come to him sooner or later. Rut the hopes of the Pandit were belied. Money never came to him.
The Kashmiri Pandit in absolute despair is said to have gone on writing to his Muslim neighbour about the despatch of money. Ghulam Hassan is said to have proved callous and discourteous in not writing back to his Pandit neighbour Ultimately the Kashmiri Pandit is said to have phoned him from Jammu and asked his immediate neighbour to send him the money that had accrued from the sale of poplars. Hakim Ghulam Hassan reportedly informed him that he had deposited the money in the treasury. The Pandit put the word “treasury” to an incisive analysis but could not come to any satisfying rational conclusion.
Hakim Ghulam Hassan perhaps meant that the money was deposited in the coffers of Muslim killers who are said to have earned full-scale support and succour from men of his breed.
Courtsy : M.L.Koul