Kashmiri Pandits’ Killings In 1990 : Supreme Court Allows NGO To Approach Centre Seeking Probe

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.
“Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) and Sikhs have always been in the forefront of the struggle against secessionism, communalism and fundamentalism in Kashmir.The final exodus of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs began from the Kashmir valley in 1989. This was a Genocide of the highest order with the intent to ethnically cleanse the Kashmir valley from Hindus and Sikhs.”
Further, the petition said that the attacks in 1990 is a glaring example of complete failure of Constitutional Machinery in preventing the genocide and protecting the life, property of the Kashmiri Hindu and Sikh in the Kashmir valley. Owing to this, the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India were openly violated,” the petition argued.
Even though, hundreds of FIRs pertaining to the murders of Kashmiri Hindus were filed, they were taken to their logical conclusion even after lapse of more than 30 years. Highlighting this, the plea states,
“Because of shoddy investigations the perpetrators, terrorist, anti national have been allowed to aggravate the law and order in the valley which resulted into exodus of Hindu families from Kashmir. Thus, till date those migrated families are living life of refuges in other parts of India. Thus, their fundamental right is being violated on day to day basis as they are unable to return to their home please in Kashmir due to lack of security and settlement measures.”
On these grounds, the petition was filed.
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.