The Vishwa Kashmiri Samaj (VKS) – a leading organization of internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits, on Wednesday urged the Center to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a retired judge from the Supreme Court to investigate “genocide and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits”. and bring all these cases of murders and gang rapes perpetrated against the community to their logical conclusion.
The request follows a criminal complaint filed against former terrorist turned Kashmiri separatist Farooq Ahmed Daar, aka Bitta Karate, in a Srinagar court on Wednesday.
“We will do our job but demand that the Government of India immediately constitute an SIT under the leadership of a retired Supreme Court Justice to investigate the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Pandit community and that all cases of murders, rapes and gang rapes are investigated and dealt with. logical conclusion,” said Kiran Wattal, head of VKS.
He said he had also requested the legal cell of the VKS to obtain police records of such killings, gang rapes and other violence against nationalists including Pandits from all police stations in Kashmir.
“From 1988 the killings of pundits started in the valley and then many women in the community were raped, killed and thrown into the Jhelum River. Although all nationalists in the valley including Muslims and others were targeted by the terrorists, the Kashmiri Pandits were the hardest hit,” Wattal said.
He recalled how four to five months before the mass exodus of the Pandit community, the selective assassinations of prominent Kashmiri Pandits like High Court Judge Neelkanth Ganjoo, Barrister Tika Lal Taploo and Barrister Prem Nath Bhat had created an atmosphere of fear within the community.
“Many Pandit women were raped, brutally killed and thrown into the Jhelum River. By our estimate, there are over 1,000 such cases, which need to be reopened and investigated,” Wattal said.
“Our legal cell has been activated and we will request data from the police before asking the court to reopen all these cases and punish the culprits. The government at the time was itself involved in the ethnic cleansing of the community. The CM at the time (Farooq Abdullah) was part of the conspiracy and in the Center (in Vice President Singh’s government), the Home Minister was from J&K (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed), and for the release of his daughter , feared terrorists have been released,” Wattal said.
He also referenced a 1991 Bitta Karate interview in which he openly admitted that he had killed 30 people.
In the interview, Karate, now head of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), admitted to killing dozens of pundits, including Tickoo, during the insurgency in the valley that led to the exodus of the community.
He later said he did not kill anyone and claimed his statement was made under duress.
Hope Karate receives exemplary punishment: Kavinder Gupta
Former Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Kavinder Gupta said on Wednesday that ‘The Kashmir Files’ film revealed many events in Kashmir in 1990 and hoped the court would give an exemplary sentence to the former terrorist turned separatist Bitta Karate.
A criminal petition was filed on Wednesday against Farooq Ahmed Daar, aka Bitta Karate, in a Srinagar court asking for an inventory of all FIRs, or first information reports registered against him, including one in connection with Satish’s murder. Tickoo, a member of the Kashmiri Pandit community.
The criminal request was filed by a lawyer, Utsav Bains, on behalf of Tickoo’s family.
“The Kashmir Files movie revealed a lot and showed the tragedy that befell the Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-90. The mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits was a big conspiracy. In his interviews, Bitta Karate had loudly asserted that he had killed many people and committed other crimes. These people cannot move freely. This is not good for civil society and such cases should be reopened,” the official said. former deputy chief minister.
Gupta added: “It is good that such cases are reopened. Fearsome terrorists like him, who carried out murders and created fear which then caused a mass exodus of Hindus and Sikhs to their own country”.
He regretted that the governments of the time did not take notice of it. “But today such cases are being reopened and justice will be served for the victims and their families. I hope the court will severely punish the perpetrators of these heinous crimes,” he said.