2003 Nadimarg massacre of Kashmiri Pandits: High Court orders resumption of trial

The Nadimarg massacre was the killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists on March 23. 2003.
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Saturday allowed the resumption of trial in the infamous massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg village in the Shopian district of south Kashmir in 2003.

A bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul ordered the resumption of the trial, observing that the rejection of the prosecution plea by the trial court in terms of the order passed on February 9, 2011, for recording statements of witnesses on the commission was on “irrelevant considerations”.

“Given the well-settled legal position laid down by the Supreme Court, I am of the view that the court below has dismissed the application of the prosecution - State for examining the witness on commission on the irrelevant consideration while overlooking the material and relevant aspects of the case,” the court said, pointing out that the application of the prosecution for recording statement of witnesses on commission deserved to be allowed.

Allowing the revision plea that the government had filed against the trial court order dated February 9, 2011, the bench said: “The court below should now take all the necessary measures for ensuring the examination of the witnesses concerned by issuing commission and or recording their statement videoconferencing and should ensure expeditious proceedings to conclude the matter at the earliest.”

The court announced the verdict a month after reserving it after hearing the counsel for the parties.

According to the prosecution, the witnesses had migrated out of Kashmir and were reluctant to depose before the trial court at Shopian given the threat perception.

On August 25 this year, the High Court recalled the order it had passed on December 21, 2011, under which it had upheld the trial court (Principal Sessions Judge Shopian) order of February 9, 2011.

The Police have filed a chargesheet against seven accused initially before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Pulwama, in connection with FIR No 24/2003 for offences under Sections 302, 450, 395, 307, 120-B, 326, and 427 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), 7/27 of the Arms Act, and Section 30 of the Police Act.

It was later transferred to the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Shopian, upon the creation of the court.

WHAT IS NADIMARG MASSACRE

The Nadimarg massacre was the killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists on March 23. 2003.

The attack occurred between 11 pm and midnight. The victims included 11 men, 11 women, and two small boys who were lined up and shot and killed by the terrorists.

The victims ranged from a 2-year-old boy to a 65-year-old man.

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