Movie on Kashmir terrorism recalls the dark days

The first movie to recount the agony of Kashmiri Hindus who were forced out of the Valley by a secessionist movement that erupted in 1989 is set to hit the screen.

Tears rolled down the faces of hundreds of Kashmiri Hindus, known as Pandits, as they watched the trailer of "Sheen" here Saturday.

As it unwound, women could not help sobbing. Children snuggled to their mothers, overawed by what they saw on the screen.

"Sheen" means snow. And Kashmiri Pandits are nostalgic about the snow in the Valley as they have been living in the hot plains of Jammu for the past 14 years.

When the movie is premiered on February 6, "the world will know the reality of what Kashmiri Pandits have undergone," director Ashok Pandit told IANS.

"I'm sure about it," Pandit, a Kashmiri Hindu, said, adding the people's response had overwhelmed him.

"So far the world has about heard it, read about it in newspapers but there has been no attempt to picturise this tragic journey of migrants from the Valley," Pandit added.

Pandit chose Purkhoo, one of the largest camps of migrants in the outskirts of Jammu, to show the trailer and release the music of the film. Migrants from other camps too joined in.

Jankimal Koul, the eldest woman at the camp, who hails from the Hindu holy town of Mattan in south Kashmir, released the cassette.

The Nadeem-Sharavan duo have composed the music while Sameer has written the lyrics.

That the trailer made an impact was quite apparent.

"I feel as if I left the Valley just yesterday," said Shadi Lal, a migrant living in a one-room tenement, as he hid his tears.

"Let a curse fall on those who separated us from our homeland," he sobbed.

More than 350,000 Kashmiri pandits had migrated from the Valley when Islamic militants began to selectively target the community.

The Pandits have seen some of the worst massacres, the latest being in Nadimarg in south Kashmir last March when terrorists gunned down 24 of them.