Hindus reconnecting with deep roots in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar, June 6(ANI): Twenty years after nearly 400,000 Hindus fled Jammu and Kashmir, fearful of an anti-Hindu rhetoric from separatist militants, they are now reconnecting with their ancestral home.

It may be seen as a sign that after years of violence and turmoil, the Kashmir Valley is settling back to peace.

M. L. Dhar, a 75-year-old Kashmiri Pandit who lives in New Delhi, recently returned to Jammu and Kashmir for the first time, and was astounded at the warm welcome that he received from the valley's Muslims.

"I have never been as peaceful as I have been here in the last seven days," The New York Times quoted Dhar, as saying.

Meanwhile, the Muslim community of the state is also wondering if the religious divide was unwanted.

"They ran away, and we drove them out. Now they regret it, and we also regret the loss," said Gulam Rasoul, a retired police officer.

He further quoted an old Kashmiri saying. "Kashmir is like a Mughal garden. If you have only one tree in the garden it will have no fragrance. When the Pandits left, the fragrance was gone." (ANI)

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