Along with dead bodies, much more was buried in the Nadimarg Massacre in Jammu and Kashmir more than 15 years ago.
On March 23, 2003, the murder of 24 Hindus in the Nadimarg village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district came to be known as the Nadimarg Massacre. In the 1990s, most Kashmiri Pandits had migrated out of the state due to periodic, targeted killings. In Nadimarg too, most Kashmiri Pandits fled during the 1990s exodus, but a few families stayed on in the village. But after the massacre, the final straw, they too left. It has been 15 years since, and not much has changed – the Pandits have not returned, their houses remain unoccupied, and no justice is in sight.
We decided it was futile to report on what happened and how families haven’t received justice, thereby avoiding treating the bloodbath as just another event on a journalist’s calendar. Instead, we decided to pursue the story from the angle of how this massacre created a rift in the social fabric of Kashmir by forcing out the people whose participation in society along with their Muslim partners created “Kashmiri culture” to begin with. Through his reportage, Community Correspondent, Basharat Amin, highlights how violence – which of course costs lives that could have otherwise been saved – has more far-reaching consequences: subtle, but detrimental.
The concealed consequences of this massacre are captured poetically by Abdur Rahman, a resident of Nadimarg village: “It was beautiful. Different religions, Pandits, Muslims, Sardars, all living together like different flowers in a garden.”
Another resident, Iqbal Mir, says his parents have told him that “Kashmiri Pandits living here were good people”. Targeted violence against one section of society at the time, has deprived the younger generation in Kashmir of experiencing a vibrant multicultural social milieu of the kind his parents’ generation lived in.
There are some strings that simply cannot be politicised. The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has been condensed to a political issue – a string that politicians pull to inflate their vote bank. However, as Sanjay Tikoo, President of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, points out, it is the people who ultimately suffer and it is the people who will have to look past and through the political jargon to unite and fight for their rights.
Video by Community Correspondent Basharat Amin
Article by Shreya Kalra, a member of the VV Editorial Team