J&K police to reopen cases of Kashmiri Pandit killings after 3 decades

The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K Police seeks public help to unearth a “plot” in the 1989 Neelkanth Ganjoo murder case.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 08 August, 2023 10:46 am IST
Neelkanth Ganjoo was assassinated in Srinagar on 4 November 1989

NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Police are set to reopen the murder cases of several prominent Kashmiri Pandits, including the killing of retired judge Neelkanth Ganjoo, more than three decades later, according to official sources.

On Monday, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of the J&K Police appealed to the public for assistance in unraveling the conspiracy surrounding Ganjoo’s murder.

In their plea, the SIA urged individuals with direct or indirect knowledge of the events or circumstances related to the murder to come forward and assist in the police investigation.

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Ganjoo’s murder in 1989 was part of a series of targeted killings by Pakistan-sponsored Islamic terrorists, which forced Kashmiri Pandits to flee for their lives, leading to the largest-ever exodus in independent India’s history.

The agency has assured complete confidentiality and protection of the identities of those who provide valuable insights into the case. It has also announced suitable rewards for any pertinent and significant information that aids in shedding light on the case.

People with relevant details can contact the authorities at 8899004976 or via email at [email protected].


The SIA released a pubic notice seeking help in its investigation in the Neelkanth Ganjoo murder case

The SIA’s initiative aims to unearth the underlying elements of the broader criminal plot behind Ganjoo’s assassination. He served as a sessions and district court judge and became a target of terrorists for presiding over the trial of separatist Maqbool Bhat, the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

In 1968, Ganjoo sentenced Bhat to death for his involvement in the murder of police inspector Amar Chand in 1966. This verdict was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court in 1982, resulting in Bhat’s execution in 1984.

As Islamic terrorism swept through the Kashmir Valley, many prominent Kashmiri Pandits were killed to instill fear among the community, as mosque loudspeakers urged them to leave the Valley. Ganjoo was gunned down by terrorists on November 4, 1989, in broad daylight near the High Court in Srinagar.

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Subsequent killings of other Kashmiri Pandits resulted in a mass exodus of the community. They lived in refugee camps in Jammu for years before settling in places that offered them livelihood and a modicum of comfort. Though many still own homes and land in Kashmir, the prevailing threat of terrorism has prevented their return to their homeland.

Every attempt to return to the Valley has been met with a fresh wave of targeted killings. Today, only a handful of Kashmiri Pandits remain in the Valley, living in designated colonies. At least four Kashmiri Pandits were killed in 2022 and 2023.

Last year, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking an investigation into the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits during 1989-90.

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