Thursday, February 9, 2023

Take steps for protection of religious minorities: Jammu and Kashmir High Court to UT Home Secretary

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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to take appropriate remedial steps for the protection of lives of religious minorities in the Union Territory.

On July 20, President of Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS) addressed a representation dated June 1, 2022 to the Chief Justice of High Court.

The Samiti, through the medium of the aforesaid representation, made the following requests:

i. To protect the lives of religious minorities in J&K as their lives are at stake due to callous approach of the Union Territory/Central Administration;

ii. Concerned official of the administration be summoned to explain the policy and mechanism they have devised since
08.06.2020, the date on which one Kashmiri Mr. Ajay Pandita (Bharti) was killed in Anantnag District;

iii. To investigate all targeted killings that took place since 08.06.2020, to examine the role of all officers involved in it and
to suspend them without any delay in negligence on their part;

iv. To investigate all transfers prior to 12.05.2022, which have been made at the behest of the blue-eyed persons.

While considering the representation the Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mittal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani held that it is common knowledge that the administration is making all efforts to provide security and protection to the religious minorities in J&K and a
robust mechanism is being deployed to avoid targeted killings and to investigate the incidents of all targeted killings.

The Advocate General has placed a note of Special DG, CID, J&K in a sealed cover to contend that all possible care is being taken to address all the above issues.

The Court do not want to enter into the merits of the issues which have been raised by the petitioner Samiti in the representation to the High Court and rather considers it appropriate to leave those issues to be considered, negotiated and resolved at the level of the Government in consultation with the representatives of the petitioner Samiti.

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

“Once such a memorandum/ representation is submitted, the Secretary, Home, will sit with the President of the Samiti or any other nominee of the Samiti so authorized and 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” , directed the Bench while disposing the PIL.

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