Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) Chief A S Dulat has said that Kashmiri Muslims saved many Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) who opted to stay back in early in 1990s and that constructing separate colonies for Pandits would be a wrong.
“Many Pandits who chose to stay behind were protected by Muslims in 1990s. Many Kashmiri Pandit families did stay back. Even after the abrogation of Article 370, the Pandits have not been targeted,” Dulat said.
He said that the Kashmiri Muslims who could afford it also left for destinations like Delhi. “They returned when the situation seemed to get better. Many more Muslims than Pandits left, a large number. A lot were killed,” he said.
When asked about Kashmiri Pandits return to Kashmir valley, he said that he feels that if they go back, their neighbours and friends would try to protect them.
“But building separate colonies for them (KPs) would be entirely the wrong way to go about it. If you built a separate colony for them, they would be targeted,” Dulat said.
He said that when the then governor Jaghmohan Malhotra returned to Kashmir valley in January 1990, the atmosphere had changed beyond recognition.
“The Kashmir that he (Jaghmohan) come back to after four or five months, it was totally different from the Kashmir he had left. He was quite shaken himself,” Dulat said.
About the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, Dulat said that he hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t intend to. “I don’t see propaganda. It is a propaganda movie,” he said.
Dulat said that Jagmohan was quite relieved after Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir.
“When these killings started, he didn’t want the Pandits to bear the brunt of it. So once they started leaving, he was quite happy,” Dulat said.
“It was a natural reaction. If they are leaving, ‘Good.’ There was no way that we could provide any protection to them because things were so bad,” he said.
He said that Kashmir was a relatively peaceful place till the Rubiya Sayeed kidnapping.
“Everything changed overnight. Till then, we used to move out freely in the city. I also travelled all over the state. But after the five people were released, everything went out of control and there was a lot of bloodshed. I was there when it all began. It was pretty nasty times, you know, that winter of 1989-90.”
He said that there is no doubt about it that KPs were targeted. “Like a lot of other people were targeted. And Muslims were targeted, very much so.”