Since they migrated to Jammu two decades ago, the family has not visited their native place in Srinagar city, but hope that the new state government would guarantee the return of the community with "honour, dignity and security".

"Shruti was born post-migration. She has never seen Kashmir, but she grew up listening to our experiences-- good and bad -- in Kashmir. She always felt excited when we told her about the days of our childhood. But she was saddened when we narrated her our ordeal of exodus," said Kakaji Pandita, Shruti's father.

Shruti, a final year student at Women’s College in Parade, Jammu, has been keenly watching the election campaign in the state. "I have been following the election campaign and I feel excited that I will get a chance to vote for the place where I belong to. I will definitely go to vote to elect a representative who could resolve our long pending demands,” she said.

After the onset of militancy in the Kashmir, around five lakh Kashmiri pandits were forced to leave the Valley and migrate to various parts of the country.

Leaving their houses, they had no other option but to stay in tents and makeshift refugee camps under inhumane conditions.  "I saw how my grandparents breathed their last in those makeshift huts. Their last wish was to die in their ancestral house but it remained unfulfilled. My parents always used to tell me how they lived in a three-storey house in Srinagar, but after migration were forced to live in a tent for several years.

"Now it's my time. I want the government to help us reclaim what actually belongs to us," Shruti said. Shruti is not the only one who will vote for the first time for the constituency that she has never visited. Like here, there are hundreds of Kashmiri pandit youths who are excited to vote for the first time.
"My parents used to tell me that there was a time when Kashmiri pandits had proper representation in the state assembly, but since our exile things have changed," said Amit Dhar (22,) who was born in a migrant camp in Jammu after his family migrated from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The votes of Kashmiri pandits are being considered crucial in various assembly constituencies in Srinagar and candidates are making a beeline to various Kashmiri pandit migrant camps in Jammu region to woo the migrant voters. There are around registered 93000 migrant voters, an official at the relief commissioner's office said.

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