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Kashmiri Pandit families return home after 18 years
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | May 04, 2008 22:52 IST
Nine migrant Pandit families returned to their south Kashmir native village after 18 long years.
The Pandit families were received by their Muslim neighbours with love and warmth in the Verinag town in the foothills of Pir Panjal mountain range in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
"We have been planning to return to our village for the last three years as our Muslim neighbours had been constantly encouraging our return. We hope other migrant families would also return to their homes to keep the composite Kashmir culture alive," said Ratan Lal Koul, one of the returnees.
Thousands of local Hindus migrated out of the Kashmir valley with the beginning of the ongoing militancy in Kashmir in 1990.
The Prime Minister in March announced a relief and rehabilitation package of Rs 7.5 lakhs and a government job for each family returning to the valley.
Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag Jaipal Singh told rediff.com, "We hope they will stay back here permanently. The Prime Minister's recent package should encourage more such migrants to return to their homes in the valley".