Probe Into Killings of Kashmir Pandits in 1990s May Reopen as NGO Seeks Justice in India's Top Court
08:42 GMT 25.03.2022 (Updated: 14:40 GMT 06.08.2022)
The Bollywood movie 'The Kashmir Files' has brought to light the real stories of the victims of Kashmiri Hindus and their families who were brutally killed by Islamic militants in the 1990s and had to flee the area en masse.
A Kashmiri Pandit NGO, 'Roots in Kashmir', has once again filed a petition in India's Supreme Court to reopen a probe into the brutalities committed
in the 1990s against the Kashmiri Pandits after 32 years.
The NGO has approached the Supreme Court of India and filed a curative petition nearly five years after their Public interest litigation (PIL) and review petition was dismissed.
Citing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which the courts had taken cognisance of the crime three decades later, the petitioner said that if anti-Sikh riots could be probed after a lapse of 30 years, the case of the Kashmiri pandits' exodus and killings in the valley could be reopened too.
The NGO hopes that its curative petition and people's demand for justice in the case could convince the court to reopen the PIL to investigate the crimes against the Kashmiri Pandit community.
The curative petition also quotes the Delhi High Court's judgement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, where it was said, "It is important to assure those countless victims waiting patiently that despite the challenges, the truth will prevail and justice will be done..."
The 'Roots in Kashmir', in its 2017 PIL, had sought "investigation and prosecution of terrorists like Yasin Malik and Farooq Ahmed Daar aka Bitta Karate, Javed Nalka and others, for hundreds of Firs Information Reports (F.I.Rs) of murders of Kashmiri Pandits during 1989- 90, 1997 and 1998, and which are lying un-investigated by Jammu and Kashmir Police even after expiry of 26 years."
The NGO has also accused the Jammu and Kashmir state police of not taking any action against hundreds of police complaints pending with them against the terrorists.
The PIL sought the "transfer of investigation of all police cases of murder, rape and other allied crimes against Kashmiri Pandits" to India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or National Investigation Agency
(NIA) or any other agency as appointed by the Supreme Court.
A lot of people, including the families of the victims, are thronging cinemas in India, the UK, US, and other countries to watch the film and support the call for justice for the Kashmiri Pandits on social media.
Kashmiri Pandits Exodus at a Glance
Back in the 1990s, the killing and rape of Kashmiri Pandits in broad daylight by the Islamic militancy gripped the people of India's Jammu and Kashmir state in fear and horror.
In the wee hours of 19 January 1990, thousands of people took to the streets and knocked on the doors of Kashmiri Pandits and told them to flee their houses. The slogan of 'Leave, Die, or Convert' was made on a loudspeaker.
Because of escalating violence that led to many people dying, tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandit families fled the Kashmir Valley
and started living as refugees in other Indian states.
The erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state was given a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in which the seven-decade quasi-autonomy of the state had allowed the region's legislature to make its own laws. It also banned people from outside the state from getting state government jobs.
However in 2019, the Narendra Modi-led government scrapped Article 370, revoked the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir's special status and turned it into a federally administered Union Territory of the country.