According to the government, more than 62,000 families are registered as Kashmiri refugees including some Sikh families. Most families were resettled in Jammu, National Capital Region surrounding Delhi and other neighbouring states.
Under the 1975 accord, Sheikh Abdullah agreed to measures previously undertaken by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir to integrate the state into India Sociologist Farrukh Faheem states that it was met with hostility among people of Kashmir and laid the groundwork for the future insurgency. Those opposed to it included Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir and People’s League in Indian Jammu and Kashmir, and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) based in Azad Kashmir. Since the mid-1970s, communalist rhetoric was being exploited in the state for votebank politics.
ISI’s initial attempts to create unrest in Kashmir against the Indian government were unsuccessful until it started growing in late-1980s. The Afghan jihad against the Soviets, the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the armed struggle of the Sikhs in Punjab against the Indian state became sources of inspiration for large numbers of Kashmiri Muslim youth. Both the pro-Independence JKLF and the pro-Pakistan Islamist groups including Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir mobilised the fast growing anti-Indian sentiments among the Kashmiri population. The year of 1984 saw a pronounced rise in terrorist violence in Kashmir. When the JKLF militant Maqbool Bhat was executed in February 1984, strikes and protests by Kashmiri nationalists broke out in the region, where large number of Kashmiri youth participated in widespread anti-India demonstrations, which faced heavy handed reprisals by the state forces.
Critics of the then Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, charged that Abdullah was losing control. His visit to Pakistan administered Kashmir during then became an embarrassment, where according to Hashim Qureshi, he shared a platform with JKLF . Though Abdullah asserted that he went on behalf of Indira Gandhi and his father, so that sentiments there could “be known first hand”, few people believed him. There were also allegations that he had allowed Khalistan terrorist groups to train in Jammu province, although those allegations were never proved. On 2 July 1984, G. M. Shah, who had support from Indira Gandhi, replaced his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah and became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, after Abdullah was dismissed, in what was termed as a political “coup”.
G. M. Shah’s administration, which did not have people’s mandate, turned to Islamists and opponents of India, notably the Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, Mohammad Shafi Qureshi and Mohinuddin Salati, to gain some legitimacy through religious sentiments. This gave political space to Islamists who previously lost overwhelmingly in the 1983 state elections. In 1986, Shah decided to construct a mosque within the premises of an ancient Hindu temple inside the New Civil Secretariat area in Jammu to be made available to the Muslim employees for ‘Namaz’. People of Jammu took to streets to protest against this decision, which led to a Hindu-Muslim clash. In February 1986, Gul Shah on his return to Kashmir valley retaliated and incited the Kashmiri Muslims by saying Islam khatrey mein hey (trans. Islam is in danger). As a result, Kashmiri Pandits were targeted by the Kashmiri Muslims. Many incidents were reported in various areas where Kashmiri Hindus were killed and their properties and temples damaged or destroyed. The worst hit areas were mainly in South Kashmir and Sopore. In Vanpoh, Lukbhavan, Anantnag, Salar and Fatehpur, Muslim mobs plundered or destroyed the properties and temples of Hindus. During the Anantnag riot in February 1986, although no Hindu was killed, many houses and other properties belonging to Hindus were looted, burnt or damaged. An investigation of Anantnag riots revealed that members of the ‘secular parties’ in the state, rather than the Islamists, had played a key role in organising the violence to gain political mileage through religious sentiments. Shah called in the army to curb the violence, but it had little effect. His government was dismissed on 12 March 1986, by the then Governor Jagmohan following communal riots in south Kashmir. This led Jagmohan to rule the state directly. The political fight was hence being portrayed as a conflict between “Hindu” New Delhi (Central Government), and its efforts to impose its will in the state, and “Muslim” Kashmir, represented by political Islamists and clerics.
The Islamists had organised under a banner named Muslim United Front, with manifesto to work for Islamic unity and against political interference from the centre, and contested the 1987 state elections, in which they lost again. However, the 1987 elections were widely believed to be rigged so as to bring the secular parties (NC and INC) in Kashmir at the forefront, and this caused the insurgency in Kashmir. The Kashmiri militants killed anyone who openly expressed pro-India policies. Kashmiri Pandits were targeted specifically because they were seen as presenting Indian presence in Kashmir because of their faith. Though the insurgency had been launched by JKLF, groups rose over the next few months advocating for establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Rule of Allah). The Islamist groups proclaimed the Islamicisation of socio-political and economic set-up, merger with Pakistan, unification of ummah and establishment of an Islamic Caliphate. Liquidation of central government officials, Pandits, liberal and nationalist intellectuals, social and cultural activists was described as necessary to rid the valley of un-Islamic elements. The relations among the semi-secular and Islamists groups were generally poor and often hostile. The JKLF had also utilized Islamic formulations in its mobilization strategies and public discourse, using Islam and independence interchangeably. It demanded equal rights for everyone however this had a distinct Islamic flavor as it sought to establish an Islamic democracy, protection of minority rights per Quran and Sunnah and an economy of Islamic socialism. The pro-separatist political practices at times deviated from their stated secular position.
In order to undermine his political rival Farooq Abdullah who at that time was the Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister of Home Affairs Mufti Mohammad Sayeed convinced Prime Minister V.P. Singh to appoint Jagmohan as the governor of the state. Abdullah resented Jagmohan who had been appointed as the governor earlier in April 1984 as well and had recommended Abdullah’s dismissal to Rajiv Gandhi in July 1984. Mufti was convinced that such a move will irritate Abdullah and make him quit. Abdullah had earlier declared that he would resign if Jagmohan was made the Governor. However, the Central government went ahead and appointed him as Governor on 19 January 1990. In response, Abdullah resigned on the same day and Jagmohan suggested the dissolution of the State Assembly. On 21 January 1990, two days after Jagmohan took over as governor, the Gawkadal massacre took place in Srinagar, in which the Indian security forces had opened fire on protesters, leading to the death of at least 50 people, and likely over 100. These events led to chaos. Lawlessness took over the valley and the crowd with slogans and guns started roaming around the streets. News kept coming of violent incidents and those Hindus who survived the night saved their lives by traveling out of the valley.
Most of the Kashmiri Hindus left Kashmir valley and moved to other parts of the country, majorly to the refugee camps in Jammu region of the state.
On 14 September 1989, Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, who was a lawyer and a BJP member, was murdered by the JKLF in his home in Srinagar. Soon after Taploo’s death, Nilkanth Ganjoo, a judge of Srinagar High court who had sentenced Maqbul Bhat to death, was shot dead. In December 1989, members of JKLF kidnapped Dr. Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the-then Union Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed demanding release of five militants, which was subsequently fulfilled.
On 4 January 1990, Srinagar based newspaper Aftab released a message, threatening all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately, sourcing it to the militant organization Hizbul Mujahideen. On 14 April 1990, another Srinagar based newspaper named Al-safa republished the same warning. The outfit though did not own the statement and subsequently issued a clarification. Walls were pasted with posters with threatening messages to all Kashmiris to harshly follow the Islamic rules which included abidance by the Islamic dress code, a prohibition on alcohol, cinemas, and video parlors and strict restrictions on Kashmiri women. Unknown masked men with Kalashnikovs used to force people to reset their time to Pakistan Standard Time. All offices buildings, shops, and establishments were colored green as a sign of Islamist rule. Shops, factories, temples and homes of Kashmiri Hindus were burned or destroyed. Threatening posters were posted on doors of Hindus asking them to leave Kashmir immediately. During the middle of the night of 18 and 19 January, a blackout took place in the Kashmir Valley where electricity was cut except in mosques which broadcast divisive and inflammatory messages, asking for a purge of Kashmiri pundits.
The local organisation of Pandits in Kashmir, Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) after carrying out a survey in 2008 and 2009, said that 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by insurgents from 1990 to 2011 with 75% of them being killed during the first year of the Kashmiri insurgency, and that during the last 20 years, about 650 Pandits have been killed in the valley. Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, estimates 357 pandits were killed in Kashmir in 1990.
Panun Kashmir, a political group representing the Pandits who fled Kashmir, has published a list of about 1,341 Pandits killed since 1990.2] An organisation called Roots of Kashmir filed a petition in 2017 to reopen 215 cases of more than 700 alleged murders of Kashmiri Pandits, however the Supreme Court of India refused its plea.Agency.