Nishita Trisal is a doctoral candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
This month, the Indian government unilaterally abrogated Kashmir’s special status, in a move that disregarded multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that call for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kashmir dispute. With this sleight of hand, the government has resuscitated an old strategy of instrumentalizing the pain and loss of Kashmiri Pandits to legitimize its violence against Kashmiri Muslims. As a Kashmiri Pandit and first and foremost a Kashmiri, I unequivocally oppose this position.
Kashmiri Pandits are a minority Hindu community who fled Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region controlled by India, in the wake of the 1989 armed insurgency against the Indian state. Official accounts of the number of displaced Kashmiri Pandits vary greatly, from 150,000 to 300,000 individuals, but arguments over these calculations of suffering obfuscate the deeper truth: The events of 1989 and those that followed have radically altered Kashmiri Pandits’s self-understanding and their relationship to Kashmiri Muslims. They have created a trauma that refuses to be buried and a rage that it is time to address.