Who were the Chaks?
The Chaks belonged to the Shia sect of Islam and there is a consensus that they came to Kashmir from the land of Dardistan of the Gilgit-Hunza Region. Ferocious, rugged, and wild by nature they possessed great physical powers. When Shams-ud-Din Shah Mir founded the Sultanate in Kashmir he found them the most suitable to be recruited to his armed forces, bringing them into prominence. While the power of the later Sultan ebbed, the Chaks correspondingly gained supremacy at the court and ultimately succeeded in usurping the throne and establishing their suzerainty over Kashmir. When Fatah Khan (1506-16) proclaimed himself the ruler and ascended the throne under the title of Sultan Fatah Shah, the situation in the valley was depressing and deplorable. He tried his best to restore normalcy and rule of law and order by curbing the power of nobles but met with no success. Contrarily he ended up in becoming a mere tool in the hands of those who counted in the echelons of power. Foremost among those were the intriguing Shams Chak, and his three trusted friends. Nasrat Raina, Sarhang Raina, and Moosa Raina. Moosa Raina succeeded Shamas Chak as the Prime Minister of Sultan Fatah Shah.
Persecution of Hindus
Before Chak Rule in Kashmir, Sultan Muhammed Shah appointed Kazi Chak as his Prime Minister, who devoted himself with fiendish zeal to persecute Hindus and convert them to Islam. Kazi Chak left no stone unturned inflicting pain and heaping disasters and miseries on the Pandits. He initiated a systematic and planned campaign for the desecration and dismantling of Hindu temples and sacred places. The movable and immovable property of Pandits were looted and ravaged and ruined. It is attributed to him that he used to get 900 Kashmiri Pandits beheaded every day for not having accepted Islam as their only mode of faith. Such kind of cruelty was unheard of before. The Chaks ordered that one thousand cows be slaughtered every day to wreak vengeance on the Kashmiri Hindus to shock them into accepting Islam. They re-imposed the Jizya tax on Kashmiri Pandits and snapped all means of sustenance from them. During the Chak period, the Kashmiri Pandits were persecuted, snubbed, humiliated, held low, and trampled mercilessly. They had to pay tax even for performing their religious rites and obligations, rituals, and customs. To preserve the distinctive traits of their sect and creed the Kashmiri Pandits were bound to pay 40 precious stones to the ruler. The Chak rulers were cruel and heartless and peerless in devising ever-new methods of inflicting pain and misery to the Kashmiri Pandits without the slightest tremor of scruple. Those Kashmiri Pandits who somehow escaped getting converted to Islam fled their native places to seek refuge and sustenance at safer places in the neighborhood of Kashmir Valley. It was a massive exodus in that innumerable Kashmiri Pandits left their homes and marched out of Kashmir.