High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar
High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar
Litigation News

J&K HC issues notice in PIL for CBI/ NIA probe into death of Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch, Ajay Pandita

The PIL moved by Ramesh Kumar Pandita states that a Central agency probe is required as the J&K Police have been apathetic to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits and are likely to botch up the investigation.

Meera Emmanuel

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued notice in a PIL moved for a CBI or an NIA probe into the killing of Ajay Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit who was the Sarpanch of Lukbawan village (Ramesh Kumar Pandita v. UOI and ors).

The petitioner, Ramesh Kumar Pandita has contended that the investigation into the case should be taken up by a Central investigative agency on allegations that the J&K police have shown that they are apathetic to the safety of the Kashmiri Pandit community and are likely to botch up the investigation.

Notice was issued to the Union of India and the Government of J&K by the Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar last Thursday.

"Even after mass killings of Kashmiri pandits in the 1989 and early 1990’s, the Jammu and Kashmir police failed to act at that time and due to their inactiveness, no accused was prosecuted for the same. The inactiveness of Jammu and Kashmir Police shows their apathy towards the Kashmiri Pandit community", the petition states.

As recounted in the PIL petition, the deceased, Ajay Pandita had earlier expressed apprehensions that his life was in danger in a TV interview back in December 2019.

He is quoted as saying in the interview to the news outlet Mercury Times, "I ask the UT administration, do they know Ajay [Pandita] Bharti? Have they met the Panch and Sarpanch in Kashmir? We get elected. We get killed. They will say the ground situation is good. When I am not safe, how can I say that others are safe?”

Last month, Ajay Pandita was killed by terrorists of ‘The Resistance Front’ at his orchard. The petitioner further informs that the Resistance Front had claimed responsibility for the murder by a statement released through its channels on an online messaging platform.

Ramesh Pandita has now urged for a judicial probe as well as a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the National Investigating Agency (NIA) on concerns that the Jammu & Kashmir police have been apathetic to the plight of the Kashmiri Pandit community.

As such, the petitioner, who is also a coordinator of the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora, states,

"... if the investigation is done by the Jammu and Kashmir police, then there is a fair chance of botched up investigation and tampering with the evidence. There are strong grounds to believe that since no trial and conviction has happened in any killings of Kashmiri Pandits since 1990’s exodus, proper investigation will not be held this time also."
Ramesh Kumar Pandita

Therefore, the petitioner has urged that an "Urgent CBI Probe along with a Judicial Inquiry should be ordered by this Hon’ble Court for securing the justice to the victim’s family and the Kashmiri Pandit community."

The PIL was filed after a criminal writ petition moved earlier on the issue was dismissed as withdrarn by the petitioner. The present PIL plea has been filed through Advocates Siddharth Acharya and Pranjal Singh.

The matter will be taken up by the High Court next on August 26.

Read the Order:

Ramesh Pandita v. UOI and ors.pdf
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