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Indian Media Wakes-Up After 30 Years To Cover Kashmiri Pandit Genocide



As Zee News, India’s leading media house is doing an extensive series on 30 years of exile of Kashmir Pandits (KP), I could not stop myself from sharing my experience of our painful exodus with the EurAsian Times.

As I go down the memory lane and reflect on the grave tragedy that befell our Kashmiri Pandit community 1989 onwards, a myriad of images come to my mind of the painful displacement of an educated, gentle and hardworking community.

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However, one very painful memory stands starkly etched in my psyche that on one hand shows the wounds that displacement inflicted on our people and on the other hand highlights the stoicism and the resilient survival instinct of Kashmiri Pandits.

This in the face of grave and life-threatening ordeals caused by the mass exodus (which happens to be the seventh to date in the last 800 years) out of the valley where our ancestors had lived for thousands of years.

Kashmiri Pandits were the targeted victims of a terror campaign carried out by the radicalised Kashmiri Muslim youth (aided and abetted by the Pakistani state) who picked up the gun to terrorize the peace-loving inhabitants of Kashmir valley.

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I had just completed my MBBS  from  Government  Medical College, Jammu in 1988 and had started my house surgeon job in the surgical department of SMGS hospital in Jammu.

I had already observed for a few months a steady flow of Kashmiri Pandit families arriving in Jammu, being forced to leave due to rising political and religious intolerance and harassment that they were having to face on a daily basis.

Many such displaced families had never ventured outside the comforting lap of nature in Kashmir and as a result of the forced exodus were only just starting to realize the inhospitable and unhygienic conditions into which they were forced to live in Jammu.

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As a consequence of living in overcrowded camps with makeshift tents and temporary brick sheds as shelters with poor sanitation facilities many especially the very young and the old suffered numerous illnesses, heat strokes and snake bites.

They ended up in the accident and emergency and outpatients department in SMGS hospital on a  daily basis. It was in one such surgical outpatient clinics that I noticed a very anxious young lady enter along with an emaciated gentleman who looked pale and drawn and was seen by the surgical registrar.

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Later during the ward round next morning, I came to know that this gentleman was a Kashmiri Pandit farmer who had fled from a  village in Kashmir along with his wife and four children, youngest being 5 years old and were living in one of the shanty camps set up for displaced Pandits in Jammu.

As fate would have in store, it was very bad news for Pandit Sahib as he was diagnosed with an intestinal malignancy. The news of this diagnosis hit him and his young family devastatingly hard. He had to undergo multiple operations and chemotherapy and as the weeks and months went by I could see him wither away from the adverse effects of his treatment.

It broke my heart to see his very young children visit him and all had the look of despair and uncertainty on their faces. His wife would express her grief and daily struggle to get support and survive the hardships that had befallen her and her children. There was no hope in sight as her husband was clearly very poorly and except for the meagre monthly paltry relief given by the authorities, there was no other financial support or savings to fall back on for her husband’s treatment.

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I found it very difficult to bear the pain that they were going through and in an effort to lessen the impact of the pain decided to offer some monetary help to Pandit sahib. Despite their hardships and despite my assurance that I was no stranger but one of their own community and considered them as my family they did not accept it.

Pandit sahib politely but persistently refused this assistance and so did his wife. They said they would manage somehow. All I could offer was that he should not hesitate to approach me for any assistance in the future if need be.

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Time flew by fast and I realized that soon my six months of surgical house job tenure was coming to its end. I went around the ward to bid farewell to Pandit sahib but to my utter shock, I was given the sad news by his team doctor that he had succumbed to his illness, 2 weeks back.

I tried to make some enquiries from the local Pandit Sabha but I was not able to locate the family. I subsequently had to leave  Jammu for Delhi on the 19th January 1990 after completing my house job to pursue further training. During my overnight train journey on this fateful day, I came to know of the night of terror for our community.

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I sat thinking to myself how destiny had brought me face to face with a Kashmiri Pandit family who were caught in the whirlpool of displacement and homelessness for no fault of theirs and now leading a life of destitution and misery in Jammu without the protective hand of their father on the four children and a wife who was going from pillar to post to make ends meet in very difficult makeshift and squalid conditions of a migrant camp.

Soon after there followed an en-masse Kashmiri  Pandit exodus from the valley to camps in Udhampur, Nagrota, Jammu and the community kept on enduring through pain and suffering but never gave up hope.

I have often reflected on the ordeals of this family and to this day whilst on one hand I have great respect for the sense of pride and stoicism shown by Pandit sahib even in the face of grave physical, emotional and financial threat faced by his family but another part of me still harbours a deep-seated regret that I could not be more forceful in putting across arguments to make  Pandit sahib accept the monetary assistance.

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Once in Delhi, I set about pursuing my medical career and left India to go abroad in 1992. For decades Kashmir continued to be rocked by the carnage of terrorism and the homeless  Kashmiri  Pandit community continued to languish in exile in Jammu camps with not the faintest of hope to return to their lost homeland  Kashmir.

My next opportunity to return to Jammu was in 2008 to visit the Kashmiri Pandit migrant camps where I made enquiries about the whereabouts of Pandit sahibs family but again to my disappointment nobody was able to give me any information and somehow left me with a hunch that something terrible had happened to all of them that people did not want to share with me.

I feel sorry even to this day that I could not help this beleaguered family in any way but I do know for sure that Pandit sahibs’ sense of duty and devotion towards his family and his pride and dignity have inspired a deep sense of respect in my heart for my brethren.

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As a tribute to the memory of the sacrifice made by Pandit Sahib in the face of grave adversity, I vowed that henceforth  I will always be there for my community and serve it in whatever humble way I can and in doing so pay homage to the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of Pandit families who suffered immense physical and emotional trauma as a result of the forced exodus.

Let’s all pledge not to rest till justice is delivered to the families of all Pandit brethren who have been the victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide. My salutations to the fallen heroes of my community whose sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Kashmiri Pandit Cultural Society, UK



Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted – I have tested COVID positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests , results awaited. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested,” he wrote.



Amitabh Bachchan – Bollywood superstar has tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday evening and was admitted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. Bachchan confirmed the same in a tweet.

“I have tested covid positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests , results awaited. All that have been in close proximity to me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested,” he wrote.

Bachchan was last seen in Shoojit Sarkar’s Gulabo Sitabo that released on Amazon Prime Video. Two films, Jhund and Chehre are ready for release while he is yet to complete Ayan Mukherji’s Brahmastra along with Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

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US threatens Russia with consequences for paying bounties to Taliban in Afghanistan



The US has threatened to respond if the Pentagon confirms reports of Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. While Russia denies its involvement in any such operation, US-Russia relations could further deteriorate if the reports are confirmed.

The Pentagon is investigating reports of Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan and if found to be true, the US has promised to retaliate. Moscow on the hand has denied involvement in any such operation.

Speaking in front of the House armed services committee, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said that the Pentagon was committed to discovering whether Russian military intelligence had paid the Taliban for attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this bounty thing. If there are bounties, I’m an outraged general, just like every one of us in uniform is,” Milley said. “That’s a real big deal. We don’t have that level of fidelity yet, but we’re still looking.”

Despite vowing to retaliate, Milley suggested that the US may not be responding to the reports as robustly as necessary in non-military ways. The 62-year old admitted that the US was perhaps not doing enough.

The issue is at the strategic level,” he said. “Is there diplomatic, and informational and economic … sanctions, are there démarches, are there phone calls, is there pressure, those sorts of things. And I can tell you that some of that is done.’’

Mark Esper, the defence secretary, was also testifying to the House armed services committee. Esper said that the reports did not come from any of the nine of the total of 17 US intelligence agencies under Pentagon’s authority, implying the information leaked to the press in recent weeks came from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or another civilian agency.

The reports first came to notice in January and were ignored because they lacked credibility. It was only in February that Gen Kenneth McKenzie and the defence secretary became aware of them in February.

Milley confirmed that the investigation is not over and promised to get to the bottom of the situation. President Donald Trump has insisted he was not briefed on the Russian bounties.

Russia Denies Involvement

While American intelligence agencies work to confirm reports, Russia denies the existence or its involvement in any such operation. Moscow says the U.S. is trying to portray Moscow as an all-purpose bogeyman.

“I would like to say officially that these allegations, distributed by the media, are downright lies. No concrete evidence has been presented,” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said this week in an online forum with the Center for the National Interest.

Other Russian officials point out that Moscow would have little incentive to establish such a program given the high risk of getting caught.

According to NPR, the Russian military intelligence known as the GRU is believed to be behind the suspected Russian bounty program in Afghanistan. The GRU has an aggressive and high-risk culture and is hence preferred by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The New York Times was the media outlet to report about Russia secretly offering money to the Taliban in exchange for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan.

If confirmed, it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops and could have a severe impact on Washington-Moscow relations.

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Srebrenica genocide: Pakistan draws similarity between 1995 Srebrenica massacre with Kashmir

Drawing a parallel between Srebrenica genocide, and the current situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Khan said he feared a massacre similar to that in Srebrenica could happen in the disputed Himalayan valley.



Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan on Saturday urged the world community to “learn a lesson” from 1995 Srebrenica genocide, and “not let such massacre happen again.”

“Today, we are observing the 25th memorial anniversary of the genocide that took place in Srebrenica. I still remember the day very well along with most people who have humanity in their hearts. I remember when it happened. we were shocked. We were appalled how in a what was a safe haven of United Nations peacekeeping forces, this massive massacre was allowed to happen.

“I still feel the shock how such a thing could have been allowed by the world community, Khan said in a video message aired by state-run Pakistan Television. “I think, It is important that we learn lessons from that, the world community must never let such things to happen again,” he went on to say.

Drawing a parallel between Srebrenica genocide, and the current situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, Khan said he feared a massacre similar to that in Srebrenica could happen in the disputed Himalayan valley.

“Today, 800,000 Indian troops have besieged 8 million people of Kashmir. And we all fear a similar sort of massacre might follow there,” he said, adding: “So the world community must take notice, and never allow such acts to take place there.”

Kashmir and Palestine

In a Twitter post, in connection with the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “July 2020 marks 25 years since the Srebrenica Massacre, the murder of over 8000 Bosnian Muslims & ethnic cleansing of over 20’000 people. The world has a collective responsibility to ensure history is not repeated.”

“What is happening in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine is chillingly similar,” he added, referring to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and New Delhi’s scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s longstanding special status in August 2019.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thousands of visitors from various countries attend the funeral services and burials.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will participate in this year’s memorial program via video link. During a two-day visit to Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo last year for a similar event, Erdogan attended a procession to commemorate thousands of innocents who fell victim to the genocide.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN “safe area” of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic — later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide — overran the UN zone.

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica residents fled into the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.

UK ‘stands with’ all feeling Srebrenica genocide pain

British administration on Saturday “reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting reconciliation across the Western Balkans,” on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Today (11 July) marks twenty-five years since the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of the Second World War,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) statement said.

“Today I stand with all who continue to feel unimaginable pain from the genocide 25 years ago at Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter.

“The United Kingdom has worked to support justice for the victims, find the missing & promote reconciliation,” he added.

Underlining that more than 8,000, mostly Muslim men and boys, were murdered and over 20,000 women and children were forcibly expelled from their homes, the UK urged “all parties to reject hate speech and the glorification of the perpetrators of genocide and war crimes.”

The statement also said the “verdicts from international and domestic courts must be respected.” Raab said: “On the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, we remember the victims and the anguish of their families.

“During my time in the Hague between 2003 and 2006, pursuing those responsible for this dark chapter in European history, I was reminded daily of the heinous cruelty perpetrated against the innocent.

“The UK is determined to end impunity and help rebuild those countries affected – as our commitment to the ICC, and UK investment and support for Bosnia demonstrates.”

Turkey pays homage

he Turkish president on Saturday remembered the Srebrenica martyrs on the 25th anniversary of the genocide. “We will always stand by our Bosnian brothers in their search for justice. The Srebrenica Genocide will never be forgotten,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message.

As part of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, Erdogan spoke via video link at the memorial ceremony held at the former accumulator factory used by the United Nations troops as a base in the war in Bosnia.

Erdogan stressed that despite all tragedy and tears, European politicians have learned no lessons from Srebrenica Genocide, adding that free use of words that “fuel enmity towards Islam and support xenophobia is a source of concern for our future.”

“Even though it has been a quarter of a century since the genocide, our pain is still fresh. Our hearts wrenched with every mass grave unearthed,” he said. Erdogan wished God’s mercy on Srebrenica martyrs and patience to their families, their loved ones and to all who feel pain in their hearts.


By Aamir Latif, Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

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