An archive of oral history of Kashmir, recorded in video, audio, and writing. Let the people speak.
Name: Brij Krishan Dass
Lives in: Jammu
Writing date: November 2014
“I used to go to plains during winter vacations. 1990, I intended to stay back in the valley as my daughters in 11th and 12th classes needed coaching for their board examinations. For one week until 12th January, both returned without attending coaching for curfew and hartal-civil curfew. I phoned my friend Prof. B L Raina HOD Mathematics at Science College Jammu and expressed him the inability to continue with education especially when militants notified that girls should not continue their education beyond 8th. Prof. Raina suggested that he would manage special group for November session for them. I left for Jammu on 16th Jan. 1990 at 11 AM. En route I managed to operate upon the locker at PNB Mahraj Gunj. Manager Bank Raj Kumar Sharma, my student handed me the jewelry box on top priority and asked me if I had a locker at Jammu. I said that I never stayed at Jammu and so did not have any locker at Jammu. He suggested that in that case let the box be left back at the Mahraj Ganj Locker. I agreed and put the box back at Mahraj Ganj that I retrieved in 1994 by courtesy of my friend Professor Masood Sheikh (Retired Principal Govt. Degree College).
28th February 1990, rumour of my assassination was spread. Yasir Arfat Qadri my student in excitement rushed to convey the breaking News to his classmate and friend Arvind Razdan that Sir ‘ha khetovukh’(Sir has been eliminated) 2012, Sheikh Syed one of my students on his return from Saudi Arabia wanted to call on me. I visited him at his Zainakot residence on my return from Gulmarg on 18th June, 2012. To my surprise, while gossiping, his elder brother Sheikh Din Mohammad told me that Ramzana was directed to kill me. Ramzan regretted when he came to know that target had already left for Jammu. I told him that I did not know any Ramzan. Please call him; I would like to ask him what enmity he had with me. I was grieved to know that in one of the encounters Ramzan was shot dead at Habbakadl. Later on I was told by my nephew that he used to play cricket with him and he was a fast bowler and used to ball with his left hand and so was known in his friend circle as Ramzan Khoesh (Left hander).
God had to save my life and so escaped his bullet. Munea Sadh (Sadhu) known to his Muslim friends as Munea Butea was approached by Nazir Puej, one Wazea and one more from Chotta Bazar at 9:30 in the night. They asked him to pack there and then, failing which one of them (From three different organizations) would shoot him before sunrise. He told them that he had no money to hire a taxi. The three friends pooled Rs.900 and arranged a taxi for him; bade goodbye to him in tears.
My elder brother was persuaded by his Muslim friends and neighbours to leave for sometime. None of us gained any thing out of this turmoil. It ended in loot khasoot and mayhem only. Altaf Bungri, Munea Bakhshi and many who initiated militancy, work for Indian Army now. Some live in exile in Indian Cities and some in Rawalpindi. None is a gainer. Each harmless Kashmiri Pundit was replaced by gun toting men in lacs- some in civil and some in uniform to cause mayhem in the peaceful valley where even a hardened criminal would not commit a murder.
Nanea Butea and his brother sons of Vasdev, both delinquents, and neighbours of Prince Salim were stoned to death to please Allah by the so called Jahadis. Hamid Tailor from Chotta Bazar, neighbour of Kh Javed Ahmad Mir Sahab (Chairman JKLF) seized the opportunity to mint money. He used to borrow two hundred rupees for me for thread and used to liquidate the debt in easy installments of Rs.10 each purchased a KP house in Karan Nagar in early nineties. He came with advance for one more KP house at Chanpora. I questioned his source of treasure. He confessed to Krishna Tailors that when a youth in jeans and action shoes was apprehended by BSF, his parents approached him, the officer being his customer, for his release. The officer demanded Rs 10,000 for the release irrespective of his being innocent or a dreaded militant. Hamid asked for Rs.35000 and managed his release at 5000 and pocketed 30,000. Altaf Chath a jeweler thanked Allah for roaring business in 1990. He said that in peacetime tourist visited the valley in thousands and that too for 3-4 months of summer. Now they have more that 6 lac armed people for the entire period, so a permanent source of income.
While I escaped Ramzan’s bullet, I gained enough as God saved my life and honour. Material losses are no losses. Had KPs not been hounded out, even KPs would join them under compulsion to save their life and honour. 1964, all Kashmiri Pundits joined the mammoth Moie-mukadas processions, little knowing what it was.”