New Delhi| Sept, 2: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed an NGO named “We The Citizens” to approach the Union Government with a plea seeking probe into the targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir during 1990.
A bench comprising Justices BR Gavai and CT Ravikumar expressed disinclination to entertain the matter and asked the petitioner to approach the authorities. Accordingly, the petition as disposed granting liberty to the petitioner NGO to file a representation before the Central Government. The petition also sought a direction to the government to conduct a census of those victims who were forced to flee the state and reside in different parts of the country. During the hearing, the advocate appearing for the petitioners submitted that it was a “genocide of more than 1 lakh Hindus in Kashmir”. He relied on the study in the book “Our Moon Has Blood Clots” by Rahul Pandita, which described the first-hand account of incident of murder, arson and migration of Hindus & Sikhs from Kashmir. He argued that the book contained detailed accounts of the incident and that the author of the book himself was a victim of the said attacks. He also referred to a book written by Jagmohan, the Governor of J&K during 1990, describing the atrocities committed against Pandits.
Further, he argued that the Jammu & Kashmir government never investigated into the alleged conspiracy. The counsel submitted that the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure was implemented in J&K only in 2019 after the abrogation of its special status under Article 370 and the Ranbir Penal Code was governing till then. Therefore, appropriate action under IPC and CrPC has not been taken with respect to the crimes. “The Government has not seen our plight…”, he argued. The Court then asked, “Approach the government. Why should we hear it?.. Have you made representation to the Government of India?” Post this, the court granted liberty to the petitioner NGO to move the government.
The petition filed by the NGO submits that attacks on Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-1990 was a “Genocide of the highest order” with the intent to ethnically cleanse the Kashmir valley from Hindus and Sikhs.
In March 2022, Kashmiri Pandits organization “Roots in Kashmir” filed a filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking probe into the killings of Kashmiri Pandits during the height of militancy in the valley during the 1990s. The curative petition was filed against a 2017 verdict of the Supreme Court which had dismissed the organization’s petition for probe citing long delay.