Apex court’s refusal to reopen cases of Kashmir Pandits disappointing: Amnesty

Srinagar

Reacting to Supreme Court’s rejection of a review petition seeking to re-open 215 cases involving the killings of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989-90, Amnesty International Indian chapter on Saturday said the decision of the apex court is a “setback for justice and accountability” in the state.

“The Supreme Court’s decisions are a setback for justice and accountability in Jammu and Kashmir. All allegations of unlawful killings must be investigated by independent civilian authorities and those responsible brought to justice,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India, in a statement issued today.

“In July this year, the Supreme Court had directed an independent investigation into over 80 cases of alleged extra-judicial executions in Manipur dating back to 1979, ruling that crimes cannot be overlooked only because of the passage of time. This principle should be applied in all cases of alleged human rights abuses.”

On 27 October, the Supreme Court rejected a plea urging it to review its 24 July order when it had dismissed a petition seeking the re-opening of the 215 cases, ruling: “…more than 27 years have passed… No fruitful purpose would emerge, as evidence is unlikely to be available at this late juncture.”

In the early 1990s, unknown armed groups carried out several attacks on members of the Kashmiri Hindus also known as Kashmiri Pandits, following which hundreds of thousands of them migrated from Kashmir.

A Jammu and Kashmir Police report in 2008 stated that 209 Kashmiri Pandits had been killed in the state since 1989, but that charges had been filed in only 24 cases.

Several cases in which Kashmiri Pandits were killed by suspected armed group members – such as the killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in 2003 in Nadimarg, Shopian – have not led to convictions.

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