Kashmiri Pandits hail axing of Article 370

New Delhi: Hindu Pandits who have been displaced from the Kashmir Valley on Monday hailed the decision to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said they hoped this will help them return to their lost homes.

“This is certainly a historical and bold decision. The people of Kashmir will soon get closer to the government of India and this will boost the economy of the two newly formed Union Territories,” said Manoj Bhan, a member of Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch.

“We must congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for introducing a historic measure. I hope this fulfils our dream of getting back to the Valley,” said Satish Mahaldar, another Pandit leader.

The comments came soon after Home Minister Amit Shah announced that Article 370 was being scrapped and that Jammu and Kashmir would be split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.

Both Pandit leaders said the steps would help Jammu and Kashmir’s economy and allow industries to flourish in the area.

Mahaldar added: “Apart from revoking 370 and bifurcating the state, the government must also constitute a SIT to investigate the genocide committed 30 years ago.

“We demand that the guilty must be booked for their crimes and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir must be assured.”

Thousands of Hindu Pandits fled the Kashmir Valley in 1989 following the start of an armed separatist campaign to secede in Jammu and Kashmir.