By Sarwar Kashani
New Delhi, March 17 (IANS)
An online signature campaign by exiled Kashmiri Hindus against militant-turned-politician Yasin Malik is receiving an overwhelming response from the community the world over. Close to 550 signatures from Kashmiri Pandits have been registered at http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?ymalik8 seeking “just trial” of the cases pending against Malik, chairman of the pro-independent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
A US-based Kashmiri Pandit is behind the campaign that was launched Saturday when Malik was in Delhi to address the “Youth Forum - If I Could Change The World”, organised by the India Today media group.
Inviting Malik to address youth had apparently angered the Kashmiri Pandit activists, prompting them to also hold protests, besides the online campaign.
The JKLF chairman is accused of masterminding the killing of many Kashmiri Pandits in the late 1980s and the early 1990s that led to the exodus of around 300,000 ethnic Hindus from the terror- hit valley.
There are dozens of cases pending against him, which are currently under Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
The cases include the killing of four Indian Air Force officers in 1989 and the murder of Lassa Koul, director, Radio Kashmir, Srinagar, in 1990.
Malik is also accused of masterminding the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then union home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.
The Kashmiri separatist leader, who gave up armed struggle in 1994 and re-launched the freedom movement from a political platform, was arrested in these cases but was set free for want of evidence against him.
However, the Pandit activists allege that the government has been too soft on Malik and no proper trial has been conducted to “give justice to the hundreds of families of the victims”.
“We believe the cases against Malik did not have a fair trial. We wonder how he is roaming free, travelling abroad on an Indian passport,” Rashneek Kher, a Delhi-based activist, told IANS.
“The families that fell victim to Malik’s await justice and in fact nobody listens to their plight,” said Kher, who also registered his signature in the online campaign.
Rahul Thathoo, the California-based student who initiated the signature campaign, said: “There is no crime known to mankind that Yasin Malik has not been involved in. You name it and he has done it all…killings, kidnappings, hawala, gun running.
“He and his JKLF goons are singularly responsible for the largest forced exodus of the modern history - that of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley,” Thathoo said inviting signatures.
Many others have also written their comments alongside their signatures on the website.
A.K. Raina said: “They (militants) meet the criteria laid by the UN as unlawful combatants, and not just ordinary criminals, who are involved in heinous crimes against peaceful citizens resulting in their ethnic cleansing and other worst crimes against humanity.”
“They need to be tried as warlords, criminals as in 9/11 (terror strike in the US), London blasts, Sydney swoop etc.”
S.R. Kaul said: “Yasin Malik and many like him would have been non-entities if the government (of India) had sincere intentions of eliminating the menace of terrorism in the country.”
“Yasin Malik should condemn terrorism and condone for being an agent of terrorism. He should apologise for having killed innocent Kashmiri Pandits,” Brij Krishen Moza said in his comments.