Many Kashmiri Pandits are killed in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] in the late 1980s and 1990s. The killers, who have admitted the killings, roam free and have not even been charged yet.
Anything wrong with this picture?
Not if you ask the ministry of home affairs (Kashmir division), government of India.
Using the privilege available under the Right to Information Act, Kashmiri Hindu youth filed a petition (click here to see the petition) to get the status of the pending cases against Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate.
Bitta Karate started his terror career as a Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front member. During the early days of terrorism in the Kashmir valley, he killed many innocent Kashmiri Hindus.
After waiting for two weeks, these youth got a reply from the director and central public information officer at the ministry of home affairs (Kashmir division), government of India (click here to see the official response).
The following was the stock response:
'...The information you have asked for is not available in the Kashmir Division of Ministry of Home Affairs...'
Not only are terrorists not charged and prosecuted, but the Kashmir division of the ministry of home affairs actually claims not to have any records about these killers and killings.
Am I convinced? Hell, No! Should you be convinced? Hell, No!
This ministry of home affairs has a separate Kashmir division within its ministry and it does not have any information about these merciless killers? Who is fooling whom?
Bitta Karate admitted the to the killings in a television interview. Please click here to see for yourself.
Common people like me have access to these videos and transcripts but the Kashmir division of the ministry of home affairs does not. What a shame!
Bitta Karate spent many years in Indian jails but was eventually released by a TADA court on bail on October 23, 2006. While granting bail, the presiding officer of the TADA court, N D Wani, observed that the court was aware of the fact that the allegations leveled against Bitta Karate are of a serious nature and could carry punishments of death or life imprisonment. The fact is that the prosecution (read the government of Jammu & Kashmir and India) has shown total disinterest in arguing the case, which is in complete violation of Article 21 of the Constitution.
And now Bitta Karate, who admitted killing scores of Kashmiri Hindus, is not only roaming free but is now playing the role of a politician on the Kashmir political scene. It is not inconceivable that there soon might be a day when he will become a state minister in the government of J&K, maybe even chief minister.
Do you feel it is okay for government agencies to let these terrorists roam free and be more concerned about Chinkara gazelles? Please do not get me wrong. I don't have anything against Chinkara gazelles and I do not advocate the killing of these endangered animals. But if I am ever given a choice between saving a human being and a Chinkara gazelle, you know what my choice will be. So where are the government's priorities?
How come terrorists are not being prosecuted as per the laws of the land? What is preventing the law enforcement agencies from implementing the laws and putting these killers behind bars so that they cannot harm any more innocent civilians? Isn't providing security to its citizens the first and foremost responsibility of any government? Am I missing something here?
While pseudo-secular human rights activists continue to scream about the Gujarat riots and clamour for face time on Indian 'progressive' media outlets, they have their lips sealed and pens dry about the horrendous ethnic cleansing of 400,000+ Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir.
I guess gone are the days when journalists used to stand up against injustice and fight for the rights of ALL human beings, irrespective of the religion they belonged to. These days, it seems they get their stories handed over to them by their politician masters who only care about their kursi and 'votes' that get them that kursi. After all, it is a kissa kursi ka.
All I can say is that if there is life after death, I wish to be reborn as a Chinkara gazelle. At least, I will be assured that I am protected by the Indian Wildlife Act and wildlife activists who will fight for my survival.
Lalit Koul is the editor and publisher of Kashmir Herald, an online news journal available at http://www.kashmirherald.com/. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org