Kashmiri Pandits’ Killings: Bitta Karate’s Court Hearing Adjourned

Srinagar Sessions Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of terrorist Bitta Karate, who had admitted to killing over 40 Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s.

The trial proceedings began nearly after 31 years following a plea filed by the family of Satish Tickoo, one of the first victims of terrorism in the Kashmir valley. The court will hear the case again on April 16.

Advocate Utsav Bains will be filing the application on behalf of the family of victim Satish Kumar Tickoo in Srinagar Sessions Court for status reports of all the FIRs registered against terrorist Bitta Karate.

Speaking to ANI, Bains said, “Today was the first hearing of the case. The court heard the matter positively, reprimanded Jammu and Kashmir government for not pursuing the killings of Kashmiri Pandits to logical conclusions in the last 31 years, and also for not filing chargesheet against the accused Bitta Karate.

He stated that today’s hearing was a ray of hope for Tickoo’s family. The next hearing is on April 16, he added.

The hearing was allegedly adjourned following disruption by Bitta Karate’s lawyer.

An NGO working for the Kashmiri Pandits on March 24 had filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking a probe into the killings in the Valley in 1989-90, during the height of militancy.

The curative petition by the NGO, Roots in Kashmir, was filed against a 2017 order of the top court, which had dismissed the organisation’s petition for probe citing a long delay.

On July 24, 2017, the Supreme Court had dismissed the plea filed by the NGO saying it is difficult to hold any probe and collect evidence on incidents that are more than 27 years old after the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

The curative petition sought direction from the apex court to decide the case afresh on merit by way of providing hearing opportunities to the parties.

It also said that the apex court “completely failed to appreciate that more than 700 Kashmiri Pandits were murdered during 1989-98 and FIRs were lodged in more than 200 cases, but not even a single FIR reached the stage of filing of Chargesheet or conviction.”

The petition filed in 2017 by the NGO had sought that separatists like Yasin Malik and Bitta Karate, named in the FIRs, be investigated and tried for the murders. (ANI)

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