Today: Jun 17, 2024

HC asks govt to allay fears, suspicions of Pandits vis-à-vis target killings

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Srinagar: The High Court has advised the government to resolve the issue of targeted killings of the Kashmiri Pandits with a local Pandit organization which demanded investigation into the matter and examining the role of officers involved in it.

The advice followed a representation by Sanjay K Tickoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, to Pankaj Mithal, the Chief Justice of the J&K & Ladakh High Courts. The representation was treated as a public interest litigation by the court.

The Samiti requested “protestation of the lives of the religious minorities in the J&K as their lives are at stake due to callous approach of the Union Territory/Central Administration”.

It sought the “concerned officials of the administration be summoned to explain the policy and mechanism they have devised since 08.06.2020, the date on which one Kashmiri Ajay Pandita (Bharti) was killed in Anantnag district”.

It also demanded “investigation in all targeted killings that took place since 08.06.2020 , examining the role of all the officers involved in it and suspend them without any delay in negligence on their part.”

The Samiti further requested “to investigate all transfers prior to 12.05.2022, which have been made at the behest of the blue-eyed persons”.

A division bench including Chief Justice Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal after hearing the petition observed “it is common knowledge that the administration is making all efforts to provide security and protection to the religious minorities in J&K. A robust mechanism is being deployed to avoid targeted killings and to investigate the incidents of all such killings.”

They perused a note by Special Director General, CID, J&K, in a sealed cover to contend that all possible care is taken to address all the issues raised by the Samiti in the petition.

The judges said “we do not want to enter into the merits of the issues which have been raised by the petitioner Samiti in the representation to the court.”

They said “we consider it appropriate to leave the (petitioner’s) issues to be considered, negotiated and resolved at the level of the government in consultation with the representatives of the petitioner Samiti”.

They left it open to the petitioner Samiti to submit a fresh representation highlighting their grievances before the Secretary, Home, Union Territory of J&K in a comprehensive manner.

Once such a representation is submitted, the Secretary, Home, will sit with the president of the Samiti or any other nominee of the Samiti so authorized, said the bench.

The Secretary will “consider the grievances of the petitioner and after receiving the suggestions, if necessary, may take appropriate remedial steps that may be considered necessary in the overall interest of the Union Territory and the members of the minority community as claimed,” said the court .

The petition was disposed of, accordingly.