behind the planning and architect of Shah Masjid within the premises of
an ancient temple inside the New Civil Secretariat area at Jammu was Mr.
Gul Shah 'Padsha' and his brigade of hoodlums and hooligans (sirwallas),
after he had snatched political power from his estranged brother-in-law
Dr. Farooq Abdullah. Gul Shah held the reigns of power as Chief Minister
for a spell of twenty months. His regime was the worst ever in the post
independence history of the state. Every Kashmiri, even every child
who had attained age of consciousness then, will testify that Kashmir saw
maximum number of curfew days during Shah Sahib's mis-rule. He earned the
appellation 'Gul Curfew' not unjustifiably and undeservedly. Chaos and
confusion held its sway all over. Law and order suffered a complete break
down. Anarchy spread its tentacles in political, social and economic area.
Corruption was rampant.
The valiant people
of Jammu did not take Shah Sahib's heroic deed lying down. They poured
out into the streets. There were demonstrations and protest marches throughout
Jammu against this avowedly Islamic act of the CM in a secular state. Shah
was not only haughty but also unpredictable and deeply vindictive. Accompanied
by some of his trusted Muslim officers and bureaucrats like Sheikh
Gulam Rasool, the former chief secretary, who could boast of brave exploits
of having evicted some KPs from EP Quarters, Gulshah entered Srinagar on
20th February, 1986 and provoked the Muslims to communalise the situation
in Kashmir in view of what had happened in Jammu and deliberately raised
the boggy of 'Islam Khatre Mein Hai' (Islam is in danger) and excited
and raked his Lushkar (Brigade) known as Lushkari Gulshah Padshah among
the local people into a violent and bloody stance end then directed them
towards Kashmiri Pandits for no fault of theirs. At his behest they went
on a unleashed spree of desecrating their temples and places of worship
and shrines, torching their cowsheds and molesting their womenfolk. This
time it was in south Kashmir that had in the post-independence time remained
untouched by the loot arson, murder, molestation and rapes by the tribal
invaders with the active support of Pakistan in league with its stooges
in Kashmir. They had not suffered the ordeal and trauma that the KPs in
Baramulla district had passed through in the wake of partition in 1947.
The then Congress (I) President, Mufti Mond. Syed, the former Union Home
Minister, patronized a member of his clan Qazi Nissar, a crude and
confirmed fundamentalist and theologian to spearhead the movement
against the KPs in Southern Kashmir where the latter commanded a vast influence
and audience. This provided the hawk like Farooq Abdullah a golden opportunity
to go for fishing in the troubled waters. The anti-KP tirade of repression
spread like wild fire. The main targets were their temples to what was
a lightning operation temples at Vanpoh, Lukbhawan, Anantnag, Salar, Fatehpur,
Akoora and so many places in South Kashmir and those in and around Sopore
in north Kashmir the birth place of Jamaite Islami leader, Ali Shah Gillani
were rampaged, demolished and leveled to ground and destroyed in fire.
It was like Sultan Slkandar the iconoclast (butshikan) having been recalled
to life. Putting the pieces together it is very easy to discover that it
was a planned design of the pseudo secularists and the Muslim fundamentalists
with Qazi Nissar in the vanguard hatched not only to destroy the property
of the KPs but also it bred a fear psychosis in their mind so as to facilitate
and precipitate their early flight from the Valley. It was the shadow of
the coming events. It did cause a tremor in the KP psyche and many a sagacious
person was wakeful enough to read the writing on the wall and take time
by the forelock. Not a tear was shed by the then Government of the State
or the Central Government. The light that Mahatma Gandhi had sighted in
Kashmir was beginning to fade. The KPs were frightened and armed by the
psychological onslaught by the forces inimical to India on the patriotic
community of the KPs. The episode of 1986, in fact, made two things crystal
1. Kashmir is for
Kashmiri Musalman only. Islam can exist and flourish there and there is
no place or scope for any other religion or it followers to co-exist in
2. The slogan of
secularism with reference to Kashmir in particular is a farce and a facade
rendered hollow and a hoax by the passage of time and the behaviour of
the State and Central Governments viz. Kashmir secularism as a concept
and way of life had become cold and dead and lay buried deep in the same
Kashmir where, during the bloody days proceeding and following the partition
of India, the Father of the Nation, Bapu had seen a ray of hope of survival
of communal amity and harmony; It turned out to be a myopic sight. The
myth had got exploded with a bang, whether they heard it in India or not.
They heard it in deed, but they paid no heed or were indifferent or did
not care about it, since it touched neither their skin nor their heart.
It touched them no where at all.
The Indian intelligentsia
and leadership of all hues and labels remained mute spectators. The
mass media looked the other way. The Indian Army and security forces stationed
in the Valley could not come to the rescue and succour of the unhinged
and terrorized KPs. The State administration gloated and laughed up
its sleeve at their plight and anguish. It was at this juncture that the
KP lost his forth and trust in both the State and the Central administration.
Both betrayed his faith and turned out to be pusillanimous in the extreme.
The very soul of India was gasping for breath; the very corner stone of
India's composite cultural tradition was dislodged; the backbone of Indian
polity was broken; the spirit of the constitution of India was hacked.
It appeared that the State Administration and the anti-KP and anti-national
elements were in league with each other for the former did nothing to assuage
the emotional pain caused by the communal violence. The KP looked at the
situation in a historical perspective and its analysis left him in no doubt
that it formed a link in the chain of persecution of KPs at the hands of
the Muslims. Those who were not complacent and doubted the effectiveness
of the Indian polity took the cue and planned their quiet exit from the
Valley where the latter-day Chengezes and Tartars in the form of Gulla
Shahs, Farooqs, Syed Mir Qassims, Qazi Nissars etc. with their inherited
convert's blood and zeal were there to carry on their tradition in a modern
drafty manner. Thousand of KPs saw no redeeming feature in the way things
were shaping and found no option but to make preparation or rather be in
a state of preparedness for deserting their motherland physically and mentally.
The truth is that numerous families disposed of their immovable property
and left the valley for good.