There have been innumerable narratives by Kashmiri Muslims about their lives during the turmoil, but very few from the Pandits. Basharat wrote his own story and I wrote mine. .
Many Kashmiri Muslims seem to feel perturbed about the incidents you mention in your book. Many are known to come to ‘Kheer Bhawani’ shrine when Pandits visit the place during ‘Jyeshtha Ashtami’, urging them to return. Do you equate them with the property dealers in your book who use these tactics for ulterior motives?
Everyone knows what happened. The bigger betrayal is the denial.
The man hiding in the half-filled rice drum was not killed by militant’s bullets but by the neighbour who gave away his hiding place.
No one from the majority community acknowledges the misdeeds of some among them. Only a handful of youngsters want to know about what really happened to our Kashmiri Pandit community, that too out of curiosity. But I am happy they want to know.
At least there would be some, who would know both sides of the story, about the lies and the truth.
No, I cannot equate them with the property dealers; I still have faith in humanity.
Would you return to Kashmir if you were given an opportunity to make a living there - Despite the mindset still prevalent there about Kashmiri Pandits?
Yes, in any circumstances I would return one day soon to Kashmir. Only thing that holds me back is to reclaim my home and live there when I come back.
Image: A file picture shows Kashmiri Pandit women cleaning rice for a hawan in Mattan Teertha of Kashmir in happier times.
Picture copyright: Autar Mota. Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
Also see: Amandeep Sandhu on 1984 riots and the myths about Sikhism