January 19, 1990, is one of the darkest days in Indian history. It was the gory day when Kashmir’s minority Hindu community was brutally assassinated and forced to flee their homes. On this day in 1990, ethnic cleansing of Hindus started in Kashmir valley, and it was their friends and neighbors who executed this genocide of Hindus.
Kashmiri Hindus have persistently clung to the idea of homecoming in spite of the fact that the clouds of terror haven’t faded in their homeland, Kashmir. It is the idea of returning to their homes one day, that has kept them going in their exile even when the chances of getting justice have only faded over the years.
Its been Thirty-Two years, since the whole generation of Kashmir Hindus, has been lost, while another generation is on the verge of departure. In the last 32 years, Kashmiri Hindus expressed their pain, protested, knocked on the doors of the judiciary, approached the government and human rights organizations, and whatnot. Kashmiri Hindus faced humiliation, and trauma, struggled hard to survive, strived to thrive, and tried to rebuild their lives.
This three decades-long peregrination in exile in their own nation has been marked with massive personal losses, the killing of their own people, religious hatred, and numerous heartaches. Kashmiri Hindus are bearing these wounds all these years with no effective remedy, or even honest efforts to rehabilitate them and ensure justice for them.
All attempts to seek justice for the ethnic cleansing and jihadi persecution of Kashmiri Hindus have been met with abysmal responses. We haven’t seen any visible justice for the community whose only crime perhaps was survival in trying times.
Instead of justice, Kashmiri Hindus have been mocked, abused, and received opinions and hollow assurances from various political parties. Above all, the supreme court has only rubbed salt in the wounds of Kashmiri Hindus and denied them the justice they are eagerly waiting for.
Supreme Court once again denied Justice
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking a probe by an SIT (Special Investigation Team) into the selective killings of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir in 1990, which had led to their exodus from the valley. In its plea, the NGO ‘We the Citizens‘ sought the constitution of a Special Investigation Team to identify the perpetrators who were involved, aided, and abetted the alleged genocide.
The Supreme Court has asked the NGO to raise the issue of the genocide of Hindus and Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir during 1989-2003 to make a representation before the Centre and the appropriate authority. At the outset, the bench said, “It is purely in the domain of the executive. You approach the government.” The counsel referred to Article 370 of the Constitution, which was abrogated by the Centre in August 2019, and also Article 35-A.
As expected, this decision attracts angry reactions and disappointment from the people, who were waiting with bated breath for justice.
This is not the first judicial Injustice to Kashmiri Hindus
This is not the first such instance of injustice. In December 2019, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea seeking a probe and prosecution of various persons, including separatist leader Yasin Malik, for offenses including the murder of over 700 Kashmiri Pandits during the height of militancy in the Valley in 1989-90.
A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said that almost 27 years have passed and it will be very difficult to gather evidence in cases of murder, arson, and looting which had led to the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. The bench said that “You (petitioner) sat over it for the last 27 years. Now tell us from where the evidence will come.”
The advocate Vikas Padora, who appeared for an organization’ Roots of Kashmir’, said Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their abodes in the Valley and could not join the investigation. He also submitted that the delay was certainly there, but neither the Centre nor the state government nor the judiciary took adequate note of it to do the needful.
Here it is important to note that Supreme Court and various governments have constituted SIT to investigate the matter of the 1984 genocide of Sikhs. Which is an older issue than the 1990 exodus of Kashmir Hindus. Here we are not demeaning the other such incidents, we are only asking for a fair chance to conduct a thorough investigation and provide justice to the needy. If an SIT could be formed for the 1984 genocide, then what’s wrong with forming an SIT for the 1990 exodus?
Should Kashmiri Hindus stopped demanding justice?
When the Executive and Legislature failed to address the grievances of the displaced Kashmiri Hindu community, some of them the mustered courage to went to the judiciary. Little did they know that the judiciary too disappoints them and shut its doors to the seekers of justice. The Supreme court’s decision is nothing short of rubbing salt into the wounds of the Kashmiri Hindu community.
Time and again, they have heard the hollow promises of governments about facilitating Kashmiri Hindu’s return to their homeland. But nobody talks about bringing the perpetrators to book and providing justice to these terror-affected Hindus, who have been homeless for nearly a quarter of a century.
One goes to the highest court in the land when all other avenues for justice have failed to deliver. Whom should the Pandits turn to for justice now that the apex court has ruled that seeking justice won’t lead to anything? Should they just stop demanding justice and redress of their grievances?