Mohamad Junaid and David Barsamian

Deep Dish TV: Conversation on Kashmir

[Also on Alternative RadioInside Kashmir January 17, 14:00–14:59]

Historical Background/Class and Community

On Azad Kashmir

Pandit Kashmiris

Mass Graves, Differences from Other Struggles in South Asia, Deportations, Habba Khatun

From Armed Struggle to Civil Disobedience

Half Widows, Custodial Deaths, Fake Encounters



  1. Criticizing the Indian army’s actions in Kashmir is all very well, but it does no one any good to whitewash anything. Unfortunately, Mr. Junaid’s coverage is not without significant omissions that distort the historical narrative. For instance, when talking about Kashmir’s accession to India, he says that Sheikh Abdullah was jailed because PM Nehru had “backtracked on his promise” for a plebiscite. However, the only way a plebiscite could be held, as UN Resolution 47 points out, is if Pakistan withdrew from Kashmir, and India withdrew in stages, keeping only what military presence was necessary to maintain order and hold a plebiscite. Nehru could not implement that plebiscite as Pakistan refused to withdraw. Further, Sheikh Abdullah himself seemed to have little regard for the necessity of a plebiscite himself, as he served as PM of Kashmir from 1947 to 1953, despite the fact that no plebiscite had yet been implemented. Abdullah was jailed for attempting to secure independence for Kashmir, not a plebiscite. Furthermore, Abdullah eventually signed the Indira-Sheikh Accord, giving up the idea of a plebiscite in favor of a democratically elected government

    In addition, though mentioning Hindu activists and the Maharajah’s soldiers attacking on Muslims in Jammu in 1947, he does not go into anywhere near as much detail when talking about Hyderabad. When talking about the Indian invasion of Hyderabad State, he completely fails to mention the rapacious attacks on Hindus by the Nizam’s private militia, the Razakars in an attempt to maintain the Nizam’s rule. Incidentally, Hyderabad was given considerable autonomy by the British; Kashmir was, therefore, not unique in this situation as Mr. Junaid says.

    Further, his account of the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits does not do them justice. He ignores the fact that the state government had resigned in disgrace after law and order had broken down in 1989 as a result of militancy. He says that Governor Jagmohan had helped Kashmiris leave Kashmir instead of ensuring them state protection, when in fact Kashmiri Pandits were ethnically cleansed from Kashmir by fanatics shouting that Kashmir belonged only the Muslims. This has been documented by Kashmiri Pandit human rights organizations like the Kashmir News Network and the Kashmir Information Network, and therefore cannot be dismissed as mere propaganda. Hindu temples were attacked, men killed, and women raped by religious fanatics shouting “Kashmir mei agar rehna hai, Allah-O-Akbar kehna hai!” (If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allah-O-Akbar) and “Yahan kya chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa!” (What do we want here? Rule of Shariah). The Abdullah government had resigned in disgrace, and Jagmohan, as Governor, had no choice but to use his emergency powers to restore order. He may have helped the Pandits leave, but it was clearly to save their lives. That is not to say that all Muslims in the Kashmir Valley hated the Pandits and wanted them gone. But to downplay what was definitely an ethnic cleansing is not at all fair.

  2. The reason the Indian state uses an “Islamophobic line” is because there is indeed Islamic zealotry in Kashmir. As previously mentioned, the Kashmiri Pandits were ethnically cleansed from the state by Islamic zealots, something that Mr. Junaid unfortunately whitewashes. Lashkar e Taiba openly calls for an Islamicized India. Syed Ali Shah Geelani calls for Islamic sharia law in Kashmir, which would make Hindus and other religious minorities in Kashmir dhimmis, or “protected people”, legal and social third class citizens. Al Qaeda has in fact, expressed support for the Kashmiri “freedom struggle.” A phobia is an irrational fear. But this is simply grim reality.

    Furthermore, Mr. Junaid claims that there was no communal violence in Kashmir in 1947. However, as the Kashmir New Network points out, there was indeed communal violence during that time between Hindus and Muslims, instigated by the British for political purposes. Mr Junaid also claims that the idea that Kashmir is an integral part of India has no validity in the eyes of Kashmiris. However, the state constitution states that Kashmir is indeed an integral part of India, and this was approved of by Sheikh Abdullah himself, whom Mr. Junaid himself admits was a popular leader.

    Mr. Barsamian claims that there are 700,000 security forces in Kashmir. However, this number is disputed. BBC News, for instance, claims that there are between 300,000 and 500,000 Indian troops in Kashmir.

  3. As an outsider to this issue, I had long stood by the arguments put forth by “The Indian” commenting above. Having now investigated the otherside of the argument for the past couple years, I now stand 100% in support of the views given here by Dr. Mohamad Junaid and David Barsamian.

    1. Absolutely Right Tommy. Indian talks about Islamphobia in kashmir. Why doesn’t Indian try to compare Hinduvatva in Gujatat and what went on there. Many people like Indian recognise that there are many temples, Hindu Pandits, Swami organisations in The U.K and the U.S. How come Indian is not clammoring for a Hindu State in The USA and The UK.. Sad Indian does not know the political Structure and History of how India gained Freedom from the british Rule. It took Lady Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru’s ever so cosy relationship to destroy a people.

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