The case involving the Nadimarg massacre, in which 24 Kashmiri Pandits were brutally slaughtered in the Pulwama area, was reopened by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court on Friday. The event took place in March 2003 when Islamist militants from Lashkar-e-Taiba assassinated Kashmiri Pandits.
This comes after the state government filed a request in December 2011 to have an order dismissing a criminal revision petition that contested a lower court ruling recalled. The lower court’s ruling had barred the prosecution from questioning Nadimarg massacre witnesses and materials.
The criminal review petition against a sessions judge’s judgement was denied by the court in an order dated December 21, 2011, and Justice Sanjay Dhar noted that this decision would remain since the court has the jurisdiction to recall decisions that are illegal under the law. He said that without providing any justification, the High Court had issued an order in the matter at that time.
“It appears that the prosecution filed a request with the trial court while the case was still pending, requesting authorization to commission-examine important prosecution witnesses. The prosecution claims that these witnesses left the Kashmir Valley and were afraid to testify in front of the trial court in Shopian because they felt threatened. Dhar stated this as the basis for the session’s judge’s denial of the plea on February 9, 2011. However, it was also rejected when the conviction was contested in High Court via a Criminal Revision petition.
In the meanwhile, the judge also disproved the terrorist Zia Mustaffa’s claim that the judge cannot review its own order by pointing out the distinction between the power of recall and the right of review of the decision. Mustaffa is thought to be the architect of the 2003 massacre.
The Nadimarg Massacre of 2003- On March 23, 2003, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists massacred 24 Hindu Kashmiri Pandits in the hamlet of Nadimarg in the Pulwama District of Jammu & Kashmir. Armed insurgents who appeared in fake military garb pulled Hindus from their houses, lined them up, and opened fire on them with automatic guns.
The victims, who included 11 men, 11 women, and 2 little children, varied in age from 65 to 2 years old. The police officers stationed there left the area. The murderers desecrated the victims’ bodies, pillaged their homes, and stole the jewellery off the deceased women’s bodies.
An FIR was lodged in Zainapore after the killings, and seven suspects were produced before the Pulwama Court of Principal Sessions Judge after an investigation. The Shopian Court of Principal Sessions Judge later received the case.