The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court has ordered to reopen the case of the Nadimarg massacre wherein 24 Kashmiri Pandits were brutally murdered in the Pulwama district in March 2003.
In the hearing related to the reopening of the Nadimarg massacre case, HC Judge Justice Sanjay Dhar said, “During the pendency of the trial of the case, the prosecution moved an application before the trial court seeking permission to examine material prosecution witnesses on commission, as according to the prosecution, these witnesses had migrated out of Kashmir valley and they were reluctant to depose before the trial court at Shopian in view of the threat perception.”
Adding further he said, “The aforesaid application came to be dismissed by the Principal Sessions Judge, Shopian, vide his order dated 09.02.2011. The said order was challenged by the prosecution by way of Criminal Revision Petition No.18/2011. On 21.12.2011, the aforesaid revision petition came to be dismissed by this Court (High Court).”
Notably, following this, a new petition in High Court in 2014 was filed by the State to challenge the proceedings from the date of framing of the charge by the trial court and a direction was sought for a fresh trial of the case or in the alternative to transfer the case to any court of competent jurisdiction at Jammu so that statements of all the migrated witnesses were recorded in the said case without any fear. However, even this petition was dismissed by the HC back then in 2014.
Referring to the observation of the Supreme Court in connection with a Special Leave to Appeal by the State against the HC order in 2014, Justice Sanjay Dhar said, ” the petitioner-State has been given liberty to file a recall application before this Court so that order dated 21.12.2011 may be recalled.”
“From the foregoing enunciation of law on the subject, it is clear that the power of recall is different from the power of review of the judgment. Therefore, this Court does have jurisdiction to recall an order which is a nullity in the eyes of law,” Justice Dhar said. Passing the order he said, “the application is allowed and order dated 21.12.2011 passed by this Court is recalled. The Registry is directed to post the revision petition for rehearing on 15.09.2022.”
Atrocities on Kashmiri pandits continued even after the 1990s wherein the community members fled the Kashmir valley following the rise in violence against them. On March 23, 2003, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists came dressed in counterfeit military uniforms to Nadimarg in the Pulwama district and killed 24 Kashmiri Pandits by lining them and shooting at them. The victims included 11 men, 11 women and two small boys of which one was 2 years old.