J-K: BJP, Kashmiri Pandits welcome reopening of Neelkanth Ganjoo murder case
The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP and several prominent Kashmiri Pandits on Tuesday welcomed the reopening of the Neelkanth Ganjoo murder case, with the latter saying “open wounds” are needed to be healed to restore the community’s “shaken confidence”.
The pandits also demanded the reopening of all cases of killings of innocent people by militants in Jammu and Kashmir in the past three decades.
Nearly 33 years after retired judge Ganjoo was shot dead by militants, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Monday sought information from the general public to unearth the “larger criminal conspiracy” behind the killing.
Ganjoo had sentenced Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat to death in the 1960s in a case related to the murder of police officer Amar Chand.
He was shot dead by militants in Srinagar in November 1989 and was among the prominent Kashmiri Pandits to be targeted before the mass migration of the community from the valley a few months later.
Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta lauded the reopening of the Ganjoo murder case and assured the Kashmiri Pandit community that their every unaddressed issue would be addressed appropriately soon.
Reacting to the reopening of the case, Director of Jonaraja Institute of Genocide and Atrocities Studies Dilip Kaul told PTI, “Though a baby step, we welcome it and request the people having knowledge about the murder to come forward to play their part in providing justice to the victim family.”
The SIA, through a communiqué, has appealed to all persons familiar with facts or circumstances of the murder case to come forward and share any account of events which has a direct or indirect bearing on the investigation of the instant case.
Kaul said he sees the development as a “tacit admission of the failure of state investigating authorities as the murder had taken place when the community was living in the valley. He was high on the hit-list and the government was complacent in saving his life.”
He said the reconciliation with open wounds is not possible and so is the denial of justice. “It should have been done much earlier but still we welcome it as open wounds need to be healed and the victim families provided justice.”
He said the government should not restrict it to one case and instead reinvestigate all cases of killings of innocent people to restore lost confidence among the community members.
Titu Ganjoo, a constitutional expert, said the SIA’s resounding call for truth unequivocally vindicates the community’s unwavering advocacy for recognition, justice and accountability for the targeted brutality endured.
He pitched for the enactment of an anti-genocide law to prevent largescale atrocities against a community.
Convenor of the Kashmiri Pandit United Front (KPUF) Satish Kissu also welcomed the reopening of the murder case and insisted that all killings, irrespective of victims’ religion, be reinvestigated if the government wants to unravel the conspiracy and provide justice to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Former General Secretary of the All State Kashmir Pandit Conference (ASKPC) T K Bhat said the reopening of the case was a good step but came very late.
“The timing of reopening of Ganjoo’s case ahead of general elections next year creates a doubt in the minds of the community that the BJP wants to cash in on the development for garnering votes. They are in the government for the last nine years and should have done it before rather than at the fag end of their government,” Bhat said.
He said they have talked about return and rehabilitation of the community but failed to provide any roadmap till date. “We feel that we are being remembered only at the time of the elections and no sincere effort is made to address our pain and problems.”
Social activist Sunil Pandita said it is better late than never and called for setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe all cases of killings and arson so that people’s confidence in the system is restored and such things do not occur again.
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