Indians mobilise for 'resettlement' amid warnings over Hindu nationalist occupation of Kashmir


Mr Khan meanwhile suspended all bilateral trade with Delhi, expelled the Indian High Commissioner and reported its neighbour to the United Nations Security Council. 

Kashmiris living under the current lockdown told The Sunday Telegraph that tension was already high. Residents said the strict curfew meant they would be shot on sight if they left their homes, adding that many were starving as they are unable to access food and dying in the streets as they were refused access to hospitals. 

Up to 500 people – including university professors, business leaders and political activists – have also allegedly been detained by the Indian authorities. 

At home in India Mr Modi is under fire from opposition Congress party who have accused the prime minister of “trivialising Kashmiri Pandit’s undoubted right to return”. 

“By doing so the BJP has taken their pain and converted it into a theatre of affliction for their own hateful, selfish purposes,” LaToya Ferns, a spokesperson for the opposition, said.

Mr Rao, the BJP spokesperson dismissed the “highly preposterous, wishful and speculative” allegations.    

In a stirring address to Indians on Thursday, Modi justified his actions in Kashmir arguing that the removal of Article 370 would “rid Jammu and Kashmir of terror and separatism.”

Unsurprisingly, emotional Hindu Pandits welcomed the BJP’s policy. 

Their plight is still fresh in the minds of many. The Pandit community, which made up 5 per cent of Kashmir’s population, were forced to flee in the mid-1980s after mobs belonging to the majority-Muslim community began killing, raping women and damaging their temples and properties.

“Even at that age you do understand what is murder and you do understand what is rape,” Rohit said.

The brutality peaked on 19 January 1990 when mosques in Kashmir began broadcasting messages that Pandits should either leave the state, convert to Islam or be killed. 

The exact number of those who fled is contested but it is thought to constitute almost the entire community, as high as 150,000 people. 

“If anyone can settle us back, it’s Prime Minister Modi,” said Renuka Dhar, now an Associate Professor at Delhi University, “no-one else has ever shown the desire or gumption.” 

For Kachroo, a historical wrong metered out to his people can finally be righted. 

His mother has kept the key to their beautiful lost bungalow ever since they fled Srinagar. She might now be finally going home.


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