Farooq Khan's assume significance amid media reports that J&K government has issued notices 100 illegal occupants of flats to accommodate Kashmiri Pandits

The first and foremost target for the government is to bring back Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to flee the region under the 'sceptre of the gun', said Farooq Khan, Advisor to Jammu-Kashmir's Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu on February 29.

Khan's comments assume significance amid media reports that the Jammu and Kashmir government has issued show-cause notices to as many as 100 illegal occupants of flats meant to accommodate Kashmiri Pandits who were rendered homeless owing to targeted terrorism in late 1989 and early 1990.

Kashmir was a 100% Hindu state, museum in Valley gives a clear picture of the ancient Kashmir history

"First and foremost target for us is that all our Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters who had to leave under the threat of a gun, come back with full respect and enjoy their position in Kashmir without any threat or fear," said Khan while addressing a gathering at an event in Gujarat.

Commenting on the historical demography of the state, Khan claimed that J&K used to be a "100% Hindu state". His comments at a time when some Kashmiri politicians, including three former chief ministers, continue to remain under preventive detention, amid a fragile peace in the Valley is bound to raise eyebrows.

"Very few among us Indians know that Kashmir was a 100% Hindu state, those who go there must visit the Kashmir museum and see what is there, which gives you a clear picture of the ancient Kashmir history," he said.

It is to be noted the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped on Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah who remain in detention since August 5 last year. Nealy all Kashmiri politicians were detained last year as the government moved to abrogate sections of the Article 370 of the Constitution which accorded special status to J&K. The Parliament in the first week of August 2019, also passed the Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019, which split the state into two Union Territories (UTs).

The moves were widely popular as MPs cutting across party lines voted in their favour when they were introduced in both the Houses of the Parliament.

Hindu exodus from Kashmir
Towards the end of 1989 and early 1990s, the Hindu community witnessed unprecedented deadly violence by Islamic terrorists to drive them out of the Kashmir Valley. The violent campaign against the native Pandit and Sikh communities was commensurate with the rise of Pakistan-backed insurgency in the erstwhile state.

In the initial months of 1990, members of the Hindu community were tortured, killed and raped forcing them to flee the region and settle in immigrant camps across India. By the end of 1990, as many as 3,50,00 members of the community escaped with their lives and took refuge in other parts of the country.

After decade-and-half, the beleaguered Pandits have failed to return to their ancestral lands despite various governments.

The Northlines