Will victims of 1990 Kashmiri Pandit Exodus & 2000 Chittisinghpura massacre get justice?

Rozana Spokesman  | Rajan Nath

News, Nation

Supreme Court Judge Justice Kaul recommended to set up Truth & Reconciliation Committee to probe violation of human rights since 1980s.

Supreme Court Judge Justice Kaul on Truth and Reconciliation Committee

1990 Kashmiri Pandit Exodus and 2000 Chittisinghpura massacre: In a significant move, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the validity of the Presidential order abrogating Article 370 of the Indian constitution in Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, Supreme Court judge Sanjay Kaul recommended the setting up of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee for Jammu and Kashmir to investigate and report on the violations of human rights. 

Justice Kaul said, "I recommend the setting up of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate and report on the violations of human rights both by the State and non-state actors at least since the 1980s and recommend measures for reconciliation."

Notably, there have been two major stains in the history of Jammu and Kashmir when human rights were majorly violated. These include the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus or Pandits in 1990, and the 2000 Chittisinghpura massacre. Now, since these two atrocities took place after 1980, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (if formed) would investigate these as well.

1990 Kashmiri Pandit Exodus

It was particularly vicious as the events that happened on January 19, 1990, left everyone shaken. On that day, the mosques issued declarations that the Kashmiri Pandits were 'Kafirs' and that the males would have to either leave Kashmir or convert to Islam, or be killed. Those choosing to leave Kashmir were told to leave their women behind.

As per the number of authors, over 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 had left the valley during the 1990s.  Likewise, several reports allege that a lot of people were killed during this period. 

2000 Chittisinghpura massacre

This tragic event refers to the mass murder of 35 Sikh villagers on 20 March 2000 in the Chittisinghpora (Chittisinghpura) village of Anantnag district, Jammu and Kashmir, on the eve of the US President Bill Clinton's state visit to India. While the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown, the Government of India asserts that the massacre was conducted by Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Truth and Reconciliation Committee for Jammu and Kashmir

As per Justice Kaul, "The Commission must be set up before memory escapes. The exercise must be time-bound. There is an entire generation of youth that has grown up with a feeling of distrust and it is to them that we owe the greatest day of liberation."

He further said, "It is for the government to decide how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission must be set up, considering the sensitivities of the issues involved. The Commission must not turn into a criminal court and must be offering a platform for dialogue." He referred to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in South Africa. 

Furthermore, he said, "Truth and Reconciliation Commission could facilitate a reparative approach, that enables forgiveness for the wounds of the past and forms the basis of achieving a shared national identity." 

Article 370 verdict HIGHLIGHTS: SC upholds validity of Presidential order abrogating Article 370