SRINAGAR, Aug 12 (2003): An influential Kashmiri rebel group on Tuesday urged hundreds of thousands of Hindus who fled India’s Muslim-majority Kashmir to return to their homes.
At least 250,000 Kashmiri Hindus, known as Pandits, have left the strife-torn valley since a revolt against New Delhi’s rule erupted in 1989. Some 10,000 remain behind.
It has been the largest migration of people since the 1947 partition of the subcontinent into mainly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan. “Under a conspiracy, Indian authorities forced the migration of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990,” Syed Salahuddin, chief of the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen, said in a statement.
“I appeal to them to return home and, God willing, the Mujahedin will provide them all possible protection,” he said in the statement faxed to newspaper offices in Srinagar from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.
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