In an interview to the YouTube channel, “Defensive Offence”, Senior Indian journalist from Kashmir, Aarti Tikoo Singh has recalled the nightmares suffered by Kashmiri Hindus in the year 1990.
Aarti Tikoo Singh is a Kashmiri Indian journalist, who was born in Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir. After the Kashmiri Pandits were killed and thrown out of Kashmir by radical Muslims in early 1990s, she also moved to Jammu.
Recalling communal violence in Kashmir, Aarti Tikoo said that in January 1986, massive communal riots occurred in Anantnag (Southern Kashmir), in which the minority community (Pandits) lost nearly 300 homes and two temples were burnt down. She said People could not understand that it was the preface of massacre which further took place in 1989.
She said that the 30 years of Islamic jihad and terror in Kashmir perpetrated by Pakistan has been completely ignored and overlooked by the world press.
She said that we had our own business and we used to distribute newspapers around the district. A Muslim boy used to work at her home. My mother loved him as much as she loved us. We had a joint family and we would play together. One day the boy told us that the explosion would take place today at 7:10 o’clock, but we did not take him seriously and we thought that he was joking but within no time, all his predictions turned out to be true.
When we asked him how he got to know about the bomb blast, he said that it was decided at the Mosque where the explosion would take place. So Mosques used to decide where they would do Bomb Blasts to kill Kashmiri Pandits. I was not aware of the conspiracy as I was 12 years old at that time.
It was of great concern to my family, then my family started discussing whether this place is safe for staying or not. Finally, the day came and a Kashmiri Pandit was killed in front of me. That incident left my entire family in shock. My family was deeply secular, my mother used to go to Sufi Saint every week. But after this incident, we got scared and we realized that we were not safe.
Our neighbours also told us that we were not safe in Kashmir. The communal riots of 1986 in South Kashmir and the killing of Pandits began systematically. Militants set shops on fire and males were brutally beaten up. My father was bleeding and many Hindus were killed. The surprising thing was that Police were associated with militants.
Using loudspeakers, almost all mosques openly warned Hindu men to flee from the valley leaving their women for Muslims. Ultimately many Hindus were killed cold blooded, their women were raped and their chindren thrown away. There was no option but to leave Kashmir if one was not Muslim. And there started the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits. They became refugees in their own country.
Singh said, “All women gathered at the colony and it was decided that we would commit suicide before militants entered our house. Since I was just 12 years old so I did not understand why they told us to take such a drastic step. Women told us to commit suicide because militants were raping unmarried women.
10 days later, my parents decided to send us from there. My parents made me, my sister and other girls sit in the truck and the truck drove us to Jammu. Other members of my family stayed there, basically, unmarried women were sent to Jammu where my uncle used to stay. All members of my family gradually shifted to Jammu and we all stayed in a single room for months. Around 20-25 people were staying in one room.
“Islamic jihad and terror in Kashmir perpetrated by Pakistan has been completely ignored and overlooked by the world press,” said Aarti Singh.