Times of India: Article 370: How Hyderabad became home for Kashmiri Pandits

HYDERABAD: Early morning of April 22, 1990, wearing a pheran, IK Pandit in his 20s left his homeland Kashmir and has never looked back. Now 50, he is one of the 2,000 odd Kashmiri migrants settled in mana Hyderabad.
The Central government’s decision to revoke special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) brought relief to many Kashmiri Pandits settled in Hyderabad who are rejoiced that they will finally be able to return to their homeland – this time not as a tourist but as someone who belongs there. “It was in 2008 that I last visited J&K with my family. The purpose was to acquaint my children of the region where I grew up. However, it was unfortunate that I had to visit my own land as a tourist,” said Pandit, who hails from a Krangsoo village in Anantnag district.
Owing to terrorism, militarization and prevalent violence in J&K during 1990’s, many Kashmiri Pandits moved out seeking education and employment. While majority families first moved to Jammu and then to Delhi among states, Hyderabad emerged as a destination for Kashmiri migrants only after the erstwhile AP government offered educational concessions to them.
“The then AP government was considerate enough to provide educational concessions to Kashmiri migrants resulting in influx of Kashmiri Pandits coming to Hyderabad. The IT boom in the 1990s also provided employment to many thereby developing a sense of safety among Kashmiri migrants,” said Sunil Saraf, president of the Kashmiri Hindu Maha Sabha, Telangana chapter.
“Telugus are rice eaters like us. Our calendar matches almost 99 per cent of Telugu calendar,” added Saraf.

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