Justice Markandey Katju-
The killing by terrorists of Ajay Pandita, a 40-year-old Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch in a village of Anantnag district of Kashmir, has opened up the old wounds of Kashmiri Pandits and has revived the haunting image of the terrors and horrors of the community who were hounded out of the Kashmir valley in the 1990s. However, this needs cool deliberation, not an emotional response.
Ajay Pandita’s family had migrated from Kashmir in the 1990s when militancy and attacks on Kashmiri Pandits were at its peak. It was only about 2 years back that Ajay Pandita returned to Kashmir. He contested and won the election of Sarpanch in his village. The fact that probably 95% of the voters were Muslims implies that the majority of Kashmiri Muslims are today not against Kashmiri Pandits, rather they realize the great wrong done to the Pandits in the past. It is only a small minority who are hostile to Pandits, but this minority is armed. An unarmed majority can only remain mute spectators in the face of even a handful of persons armed with machine guns, for fear of losing their own lives.
Though Kashmiri Pandits were only about 4 lacs out of the total population of Kashmir of about 80 lacs, i.e. about 5% of all Kashmiris, for centuries they lived in amity and harmony with Kashmiri Muslims. Their trouble began only in 1947 when India was partitioned on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory.
The whole purpose of Partition, which was a historical swindle by the British rulers ( see my article ‘The truth about Pakistan’) was to ensure that united India does not emerge as a modern industrial giant, like China, and a powerful rival to Western industries. With the cheap labor available in India Indian industries could sell their products at a much cheaper price than Western industries with their expensive labor (the cost of labor being a big chunk of the total cost of production). If that happened, who would buy the expensive goods of Western industries? Will, they do not have to close down, resulting in massive unemployment?
So the whole game of the developed countries is to prevent India from becoming a modern industrial giant, like China, and the way to do it is by inciting strife between the Indian people on religious, caste, lingual, ethnic, and regional lines, through their local, agents.
Once this is understood everything happening in the Indian subcontinent, including Kashmir, becomes clear. The communal fire will be kept stoked up, using agent provocateurs (who in Kashmir are the terrorists).
I believe that 99% of all people, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, etc. are good. Hence 99% of Kashmiri Muslims are good people, having no animosity with Kashmiri Pandits.
The only solution to the Kashmir problem is the reunification of India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh ) under a secular government with patriotic modern-minded leaders determined to rapidly modernize and industrialize the Indian subcontinent, with Kashmir as part of this reunified India. Though I am convinced this reunification is inevitable since India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are really one nation with a common culture, having been one since Mughal times ( see indianreunificationassociation.weebly.com ) it will only happen after 10-15 years from now. Till then, I am sad to say, the turbulence in Kashmir will continue, and Kashmiri Pandits will remain unsafe in Kashmir.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own].