Imagine this scene in India, happening to our people, in our beautiful state of Kashmir on January 19, 1990.
A curfew was imposed by the then governor, Jagmohan after he had dismissed the state government.
Militant groups JKLF and Hizb-ul Mujahideen were exhorting people to defy the curfew.
A week earlier, on January 4, 1990, the Hizbul Mujahideen in a press release to Al Aftab (a local Urdu newspaper) urged the young Muslims of Kashmir to wage Jihad against India and prepare for accession to Pakistan. The press release also issued a warning to Hindus and Sikhs to leave Kashmir.
Inflammatory slogans were relayed from mosques all day long on January 19, 1990. One of them said: ‘Kashmi mei agar rehna hai, Allah-O-Akbar Kehna hai’.
Blaring menacingly from loud speakers and posters plastered across the streets was one message for the Hindus and Sikhs of Kashmir – Ralive, Tasliv ya Galiye (Either convert to Islam or leave the land; or die)
There was a wild fervour in Kashmir to establish an Islamic order in the state and most dangerously to bring death to the non-believers of Islam (Kafirs) and death to India.
Several books that have been written about the fateful night of January 19, 1990 tells of a horrific story of how thousands of Kashmiri Muslims being encouraged to take to the streets and force the non-believers and infidels out of Kashmir.
Listening to the war cries of establishing an Islamic order, hordes of Kashmiri Muslims were on the streets; the Hindus and Sikhs had no choice but to flee or put their lives in danger.
Some of the slogans shouted by the thousands of Kashmiri Muslims on the streets: The seed of the Pandits has been destroyed by Allah; We want our Pakistan, without Pandit men, but with their women,
Kashmiri Pandits since 1989, witnessed selective abductions, torture and killing by Kashmiri Muslims, who wanted to bring Kashmir under Islamic order, but on January 19, 1990, the Kashmiri Pandits were finally warned by the whole populace of Kashmir, not just the terrorist groups, to quit and leave their women behind.
The exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits began that scary night on January 19, 1990.
The sense of vulnerability and insecurity was amplified by attacks on prominent Hindu politicians, postings of hit lists with names of specific Hindu individuals and various violent episodes in Srinagar and other places.
In the next few weeks and months, hundreds of innocent Kashmiri Pandits are tortured, killed and raped. People were shot outside their homes, at their workplaces or brutally on the streets.
By the year-end, reportedly about 150,000 Pandits had escaped from Kashmir valley.
Till today Kashmiri Pandits are fighting for the rights in their homeland. Successive governments since 1990 have only provided lip-service to the Kashmiri Pandits but no justice yet.
It is time we Indians fight for our Kashmiri sisters and brothers.