Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that there was a “yearning” in Kashmir’s majority community for the return of the Kashmiri Pandit community but underlined the need for instilling a “sense of security” in the refugees who fled the Valley 20 years ago.

“The Kashmiri Pandits’ problem is neither political nor economic, but it is a sense of security which they need,” he told reporters after inaugurating a renovated hospital here.

“They fled the Valley because their sense of security was snatched from them,” Abdullah said, underlining the major factor that led to the exodus of the community.

Noting that the Dussehera festival was celebrated in the Valley last October after a gap of 20 years, he said the function was attended mostly by the majority community (Muslims) than Hindus. “It showed the yearning of the majority community for the return of the community to the Valley,” he said.

More than 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits fled the Valley since December 1989 with many locking up their homes and giving the keys to their Muslim neighbours, in the hope that they would be returning soon.

On the state government’s plans to draw the community members back to the Valley, Abdullah said various steps have been taken, including reservation of a certain number (3,000) jobs for Kashmiri Pandit youth.