Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 24
Citing inordinate delay, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking reinvestigation into the massacre of over 700 Kashmiri Pandits during 1989-90 when militancy was at its peak in the state, leading to their mass exodus from the Valley.
Petitioner ‘Roots in Kashmir’ – an NGO – which wanted prosecution of those responsible for the killings, including separatist leader Yasin Malik, said 215 FIRs were registered in connection with the murder of over 700 Kashmiri Pandits but hardly anything happened in these cases.
Filed on behalf of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, the petition demanded reinvestigation into the criminal cases and their transfer outside Jammu and Kashmir.
However, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar refused to order a fresh investigation. “No evidence will be available after 27 years. What happened is heart wrenching but we can’t pass orders now,” it added.
Petitioner’s counsel Vikas Padora said Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homes in the Valley and could not join the investigation. While conceding that here had been delay, Padora alleged that the Centre, the state government and the judiciary did not do the needful to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits got justice.
As Padora continued arguing, the CJI said: “You are making a drama here…you are making a political speech…you are only interested in headlines. Go out and talk to the media…You want something to tell them.”
“Why didn’t the community move courts earlier? You were so badly treated, you should have come to court then…You can’t keep shouting from the rooftops but not move courts,” the bench, also comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, said. The bench said 27 years had lapsed and it would be very difficult to collect evidence in these cases of murder, arson and looting. “You sat over it for the last 27 years. Now tell us where will the evidence come from?” it asked.
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